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2013 elections will bring many new faces to City Council

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The year 2013 will soon be upon us, and with it comes elections for city offices, including mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough president and City Council. One of the main differences between the Council and our elected state legislators is that Council members are elected to four-year terms of office while those in the state Assembly and state Senate serve two-year terms.

There are also other important considerations between the two legislative bodies. Council members are paid more in salary than Assembly members or senators. Most of the members of the state Legislature have a long trip every week to the state capitol in Albany, while Council members have a much shorter trip to City Hall.

The fact that Council members do not have to leave the city most of the time enables them to attend more civic and political functions in their own districts, since they are not constantly in Albany.

At this time, it could be said the most important differences between the two legislative bodies is that the Council is term-limited to two four-year terms, although that might change to three four-year terms. The Assembly and Senate have no term limits. That has an important bearing on prospective candidates choosing elective offices to run for.

Already in the city Democratic Party, candidates are starting to emerge, since a significant number of members of the Council are being term-limited out.

In the race for borough president, attorney Melinda Katz has just announced her candidacy for the Democratic Party. Although she has not been endorsed by her county organization, the county chairman, U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), has praised her past record. Katz has served in the Assembly and the Council. Four years ago, she ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for city comptroller against John Liu.

In the last races for city elective offices four years ago, the Queens Republicans won three seats on the Council.

Since then, however, the Republican Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) changed his registration, and Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) has been having disagreements with the Republican county organization. The third elected councilman from Queens, Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), is running for the House of Representatives.

In the race for mayor, Michael Bloomberg will be finishing his last term in office. The Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) is mentioned as a major candidate for the Democratic Party nomination. The present police commissioner, Ray Kelly, has been mentioned as a possible Republican candidate. There are rumors that former Major Rudy Giuliani may be interested in running again.

With term limits having such a major role in determining who will be Council members, many of the new members will be new to the office.

Attorney Paul Vallone and attorney Jerry Iannece are possible candidates in the 19th Council District next year. That seat is presently held by Halloran.

Both Vallone and Iannece ran in the Democratic primary four years ago in the 19th District. The primary was won by Kevin Kim, who went on to lose the general election to Halloran.

It is interesting to note that no city mayor who has run for higher office has been able to achieve it since the 1850s. In recent times since the 1950s, we have seen a group of city mayors run for the U.S. Senate, the New York governorship and U.S. president. They all failed to achieve their objective, including Robert Wagner, John Lindsay, Edward Koch and Rudy Giuliani, who ran in the Republican presidential primary four years ago.

We could also include Mayor Bloomberg in that group from the standpoint that he considered running for president as an independent in 2008. It seems that at one point he considered running for president this year, but decided against it.

Next year will bring some interesting campaigns during the elections.

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