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U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) addressed reporters during a Tuesday afternoon conference call after maintaining radio silence in the wake of his abrupt retirement announcement last Thursday evening.
Ackerman, who has been a New York lawmaker for more than 30 years, sought to clear up swirling rumors about why he made the decision to leave office at the end of his term on Jan. 2, 2013, and why he did so the evening before he was to receive an endorsement from the Queens County Democrats.
Ackerman said he had been toying with the idea of retiring in the days and weeks leading up to his announcement, but he wanted to make sure he bowed out with grace.
Several factors lined up to convince him that he could leave office on the top of his game. First, the congressional lines drawn under the once-a-decade reapportionment process were favorable to his re-election and second he would run opposed. State Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) went to Ackerman’s house and told the veteran lawmaker that he would not run against a fellow Democrat in a primary, which turned out to be just hours before Ackerman made his bombshell announcement.
“It made it easier for me personally,” Ackerman said. “I was under no pressure. I could make it under the ideal circumstances — I didn’t lose an election, I didn’t go in a body bag and nobody was chasing me out. There are ugly ways to get out after 30 years.”
Ackerman said he dropped several hints to Lancman that his mind could change during last week’s conversation.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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