Senator Toby Ann Stavisky formally announced her intent to seek re-election in the 16th District, choosing the newly-formed Asian-American majority district over one in which she would have had to face a primary with Senator Tony Avella.
“I am supporting Tony for re-election, and he is supporting me for re-election,” Stavisky said. “Most of my district is here in central Queens, and this is the district where I’m going to be running. I’ve represented this community for many years. I understand their issues. I know the people, and we have worked together well in the past.”
Stavisky held a press conference on April 26 in the heart of Downtown Flushing, outside the Flushing Library, with the backing of major Asian-American players in the community. The newly-redrawn district is 53 percent Asian.
“Even when she didn’t belong to this district, she always cared about the events of the Asians,” said Peter Tu, executive director of the Flushing Chinese Business Association. “This is the time for Asian people to say thank you to her.”
Assemblymember Grace Meng — who is running for Congress in the 6th District — rallied support for Stavisky, as did Comptroller John Liu, Borough President Helen Marshall, Assemblymembers David Weprin and Michael Simanowitz, Councilmembers Peter Koo, Mark Weprin, James Gennaro, Karen Koslowitz and Senator Jose Peralta.
“Toby to me is a voice of reason. Toby is about substance,” Meng said. “She wants to get to the heart of the issue and to the heart of the solution, and that’s what’s really going to solve issues for our community long-term. I’ll be blunt for a second. Once in a blue moon, you hear mutterings about someone saying, ‘Well, has Toby really been here for a certain part of the community?’ And I said yes because Toby has always been here for everyone.”
Stavisky — the first woman from Queens elected to the State Senate — said she’s running for re-election “because all our families, in all our neighborhoods, deserve to have their voices heard.”
“Though we have accomplished much,” she said, “there is still more to do to ensure that our children have access to great schools, our businesses have the resources to flourish, and our seniors are protected.”
Stavisky is expected to face a Democratic primary with John Messer, an attorney from Oakland Gardens. The pair battled it out in a primary two years ago before Stavisky beat him out for the seat.