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Was Padavan so Different?

TimesLedger Newspapers

By the time you read this, it will be after Election Day. The presidential candidates wrote off Queens before the campaign began. That’s why neither candidate was seen here except perhaps on their way to Hofstra University.

But one race that became interesting was the campaign of state Sen. Tony Avella against his Republican and Conservative challenger, Joe Concannon.

Concannon told TimesLedger Newspapers he has pledged “to model my Senate office after that of [former] Sen. Frank Padavan, who served this community so well for so many years and who has been the exemplar when it comes to excellence in both constituent services and delivering for the community.”

Concannon wanted to convince voters they were better off two years ago.

Avella replied, “Sen. Padavan was not effective in addressing the key things, such as women’s issues. The voters rejected Sen. Padavan. We have to move to the future and not the past.”

We disagree. Padavan served his district in Albany for 38 years. Although a Republican, he was repeatedly re-elected in a district where Democratic voters far outnumber Republicans.

In fact, Avella is similar in many ways to Padavan. Like his predecessor, Avella is a populist who tends to place constituent demands above anything else. He is not afraid to take on the Democratic Party leadership on issues close to his constituents. And like Padavan, he is one of the Senate’s most vocal members.

Regardless of the outcome of the election, we wish him luck, but Avella is kidding himself if he thinks, for better or worse, that he and Padavan are not cut from the same cloth.

Avella has championed shorter terms for elected officials, but he has worked in government for most of his adult life as a city councilman and before that as an aide to Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins and as chief of staff to the late Sen. Leonard Stavisky and to Sen. Toby Stavisky.

What’s wrong about a life of public service if it’s lived well?

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