Jon Torodash wants to bring “Civic Virtue” back to Queens.
The Kew Gardens resident has begun exploring a run as an independent against incumbent Councilmember Karen Koslowitz, a Democrat, for City Council District 29.
Born and raised in Forest Hills, Torodash, 31, returned to Queens about five years ago and said he would run a campaign based on government transparency. This platform, and his decision to possibly run, was inspired by his experience as a local advocate in the last few months.
Torodash, a software engineer, fought to keep the statue “Triumph of Civic Virtue” on Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens.
The effort failed, however, as the statue was hoisted from its pedestal last December. But Torodash said the exposure showed him the inner workings of government and things he wanted to change.
There are three issues that stand out on Torodash’s platform: transportation, safety and education.
Bus transit is one of the biggest problems for District 29, he said, with long waits leaving riders out in the cold. Torodash says he will explore new options, especially around Queens Center mall, including making bus schedules more consistent.
“There are a lot of common sense proposals that need to be looked at here,” he said.
If elected, Torodash said he wants to focus on safety boroughwide.
Torodash runs a test-prep business for teachers and taught Latin and English for three years. He said the Department of Education is unorganized and that the current education system does not empower parents and teachers.
Opting to run as an independent, he hopes his run will inspire other people to seek public office to affect change. While he said he has no quarrels with either the Democratic or Republican party, Torodash said a lack of history with either party might discourage the ordinary citizen from seeking office.
“I think that many people would get discouraged because they don’t have a party history,” he said.