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The Republican candidate for the Flushing state Assembly seat detailed his plan to clean up corruption in Albany this week, while the Democratic hopeful touted a neighborhood lawmaker as an honorary member of his campaign.
Queens GOP-backed Phil Gim discussed one of several upcoming policy announcements, while Queens Democratic Party-backed Ron Kim introduced City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) as his honorary general election campaign chairman.
“The only way to build a better New York is to have new changes in Albany,” Gim said at his campaign headquarters, at 31-22 Union St.
Gim listed several state lawmakers indicted or tied to scandal in recent months before outlining proposals to stem graft.
First, the GOPer would like to bar state officials from having side jobs, such as working in law or public relation firms that could potentially lobby on behalf of companies.
He also wants to ban recently-departed state lawmakers from lobbying their former house of government for four years after they leave. Currently, lawmakers are banned for two years. He would also like to see a requirement that family members or former staff members of elected officials who work for nonprofits or businesses receiving state funding report to the state attorney general for oversight, and would finally like to create an independent body called the Office of Legislative Responsibility.
The office would publish any connections between lawmakers and what Gim termed “special interests,” including whether votes or actions would benefit certain groups or businesses and whether those groups or businesses gave campaign contributions. The office would list those findings at the end of every state bill.
“Things have gotten so shady that lobbyists have stopped pretending to influence legislators,” Gim said in a statement. “They’ve just gone right ahead to cut out the middle-man and grab the power for themselves.”
Gim’s opponent is a former lobbyist himself.
Kim is currently on a leave of absence from The Parkside Group, the lobbying firm most closely associated with the Queens Democratic Party. As part of the group, Kim was listed as a lobbyist for several Queens organizations like Fresh Direct and even for unions, including 32BJ SEIU, which later endorsed him, according to a city database.
But Parkside said it lists multiple lobbyists on a project in case they have to fill in for one another, indicating that Kim did not work on everything his name was attached to.
Kim’s stint at the firm was only five months, his campaign said, compared to a decade working in government.
“Ron Kim has devoted his entire career to helping small businesses grow, protecting vulnerable New Yorkers, and improving higher education,” spokesman Matt Bitz said. “Beginning in the city government and continuing in the offices of two New York governors, Ron has dedicated himself to bettering the lives of his neighbors in Queens.”
On Tuesday, Kim welcomed Koo as the honorary campaign chairman at Kim’s campaign offices, at 142-01 38th Ave.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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