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Political Action: Queens GOP club honors Padavan at annual dinner

On Feb. 27, the Queens Village Republican Club held its annual Lincoln’s Day dinner, but this year it had an additional reason for having it since it was also designated as a testimonial for former state Sen. Frank Padavan. For many who attended this event, Padavan is revered as an icon who has served our community in the Senate during the last 38 years. The reaction of the guests was overwhelming in their expressions of support for his achievements and efforts on their behalf.

Several years ago, I asked Padavan what he considered to be his most significant legislative achievements. He indicated the importance of his 1980 fight to stop 100 percent property tax assessment and his efforts during the mid-1980s, when he had a major role in passing the Asset Forfeiture Law, which seized the assets of convicted drug dealers.

In the recent past, some memorable successes include eliminating the state sales tax for clothing and getting rid of the fuel oil sales tax in addition to authorizing the state’s county governments to eliminate fuel oil taxes. One recent bill enacted that the senator had worked for is the Home Foreclosure Act, which provided for a cooling-off period before a foreclosure goes into effect. It also gives legal assistance to homeowners threatened with foreclosure.

Padavan took pride in getting things done quickly and efficiently regarding constituent needs.

It was fitting that the Queens Village Republican Club, which has been in existence in various forms since 1875, should sponsor this event. Padavan has been a longtime member of that club. He has over the years attended its major events and has been a guest speaker there on numerous occasions. He is a member of the club’s board of directors.

Club President Philip Sica and Chairman James Trent are proud of Padavan’s close affiliation with their organization. The club also had a dinner journal in which various public officials and community leaders praised Padavan. Both Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) and state Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village) gave speeches on Padavan’s behalf.

Both Padavan and his daughter Allison enjoyed the proceedings and expressed their gratitude to the guests. In referring to the dinner journal, Queens Republican Chairman Phil Ragusa wrote, “We also join you in saluting the remarkable career of our very own State Senator Frank Padavan, whose leadership for the people of Queens will continue to resonate for years to come. We are grateful to Senator Padavan for his lifetime of service and devotion to principle.”

There was another article in the dinner journal written by Judy Stupp, presently a commissioner on the city Board of Elections. Some years ago, when she first started her political career, Stupp was a member of Padavan’s staff in Albany. She wrote, “In addition to an unmatched roster of legislative achievements, it is very important these days to state that Padavan’s 38 years of stellar service in the Senate were conducted in the highest standards of ethics and honest, good government.”

In short, it can be said that Padavan’s outstanding service in northeast Queens was beneficial to all of Queens as well as to our city and state.

In the 28th Assembly District in Forest Hills and Rego Park, the County Republican Executive Committee recently and unanimously elected Lisa Caltabiano as the interim female district leader, taking the place of the late Marguerite Adams. Caltabiano is the daughter of Donna Caltabiano, who ran for the Assembly last year in the 28th District in Woodhaven and Glendale. Caltabiano has indicated she intends to be an active district leader and represent the interests of the people in her district.

Margaret Ognibene, however, has shown an interest in running for the district leader position in the 28th District. Her husband, Tom Ognibene, served on the City Council 10 years ago. There will be a Republican primary election in September if both run for the district leadership. The 28th District is an important Assembly district within the Queens Republican Party due to the large number of registered Republicans within that district.

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