Lew Simon, Democratic District leader, is officially the party’s candidate to race to claim the seat in City Council District 32. He will face incumbent Councilmember Eric Ulrich in the November general election.
Simon declared victory after receiving 65.1 percent of the votes over his opponent, William Ruiz, according to unofficial results.
“We have to make it to November,” Simon said election night, September 10. “We’ll be back out there early in the morning.”
The race is reflective of the 2009 City Council special election in which the Rockaway civic leader and Ulrich originally faced off for this very seat.
“Lew will be a very formidable opponent,” Ulrich said. “I look forward to having a very in depth and robust debate about the future of our community.”
If elected, Simon said first and foremost his priority is to rebuild after Sandy devastated the district, which comprises of the majority of the Rockaway Peninsula as well as South Richmond Hill, Howard Beach, South Ozone Park and Woodhaven.
“Everybody has let us down. We keep hearing FEMA money is coming, build-it-back money is coming,” he said. “Everyone is frustrated and I want to cut through the red tape.”
He also hopes to address the hospital and medical crisis as well as keep the Rockaway Ferry line subsidized and potentially include a pick-up point in Howard Beach.
Simon additionally said transportation is a rampant issue throughout the district, including Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards. To alleviate the “abysmal” traffic, Simon said he wants to create an HOV carpool lane to be used during peak hours.
Ulrich too has a “very ambitious and bold plan” to relieve traffic congestion on Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards in order to “put public transportation back on the fast track,” among his hopes in another term.
District 32 has been led by Ulrich for the past four years, and he said he is looking forward to building on his standing record of accomplishments.
“I feel very optimistic and I’m very proud of everything that I’ve done for my constituents, and I want to continue to work for them in the City Council,” he said.
Regarding his opponent, Simon said he’s “very energetic, very excited” to head to November’s election.
“After this big win, I think it should send a clear message that I’m a serious candidate to challenge the incumbent,” he said. “Some people laughed it off, but I think my numbers speak for themselves.”