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One of the most interesting local races in Queens is occurring in the 15th state Senate District in southwest Queens between incumbent Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) and challenger City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park).
Ulrich is going into this campaign after having won two primaries in the Republican and Independence parties. He now faces Addabbo by running on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines. Addabbo is running as the Democratic and Working Families party candidate.
Ulrich seems to have some important advantages considering he has strong support from the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee and he has been successful in fund-raising during the last year. In the recent past, Ulrich has been referred to as a rising star in the Queens Republican Party, although he has continually been at odds with the official Queens GOP organization. After serving three years on the Council, he is now running for the Senate.
His opponent, Addabbo, has now served two terms in the Senate after winning the seat from Republican Serf Maltese in 2008. Addabbo also has an interesting political background, aside from serving almost two terms in the Council before running for the Senate. He has mentioned experience as one of the main issues of the campaign from the standpoint that he has served in elected office for 10 years, while his opponent has served only three.
As we look more closely at the recently concluded primaries, 32 percent of Republicans who voted in their primary voted against Ulrich and for his opponent, Juan Reyes. The question is how these Republicans will vote in the general election: Will they vote for Ulrich or Addabbo or not at all?
As for the all-important Independence line, two years ago Addabbo ran with the Independence endorsement and got approximately 3,000 votes on that line. Now that Ulrich has the Independence line, how will those 3,000 Independents vote? Will they vote for Ulrich or continue voting for Addabbo, as they did two years ago?
Most political observers see Ulrich as a strong challenger to Addabbo, but regarding the Republican and Independence lines there are potential weaknesses in Ulrich’s support.
In addition, the Addabbo family has long been active in local politics. Addabbo’s late father was a congressman representing much of the area in the contested district. He served for 26 years and many families who have lived in that area, especially senior citizens, remember Addabbo’s father well with his emphasis on constituent services.
Addabbo believes his most important contribution to the Senate was when he first arrived in Albany in 2009 and was faced with a $17 billion budget, one of the largest in state history. He worked to help reduce the budget by $6 million. He serves on the Senate Education and Veterans committees. He believes continually improving education serves to keep people living in the community and not moving out.
Job creation is one of Addabbo’s highest priorities. He has encouraged job fairs. Following his father’s emphasis on constituent services, he has a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week hotline in which the people of his district can call in to his office about any problem they have in which the state Senate office can help.
“The great opportunity of waking up every day and helping people, for that I am thankful,” Addabbo said, about providing services for the people of his district.
It is turning out to be a rough contest between the highly motivated office holders. In the case of Addabbo, as indicated, he has served 10 years in office in the Council and Senate. As shown by the last two races in the 15th District, he has strong support in the district. He will make every effort to continue having that support this year.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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