By Stephen Stirling
Koo, a community activist, philanthropist and owner of the pharmacy chain Starside Drugs, received the unanimous endorsement of the Queens Republican Party last Thursday evening, which views Koo as the first candidate with a competitive chance to unseat Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone).”He offers the change that is needed,” state state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn) said at Flushing Town Hall. “We need Peter.”Stavisky has held the seat since 1999 and was elected after her husband, Leonard Stavisky, who had held the seat since the 1966, died in office.Koo championed his resume of community service, activism and successful business records as reasons he would be a breath of fresh air in the state Legislature.”Having talked with many of your neighbors, it is clear that a lot of people are tired and fed up with politicians caring more about getting themselves elected, tearing down their opponents and serving the special interests rather than fighting for you,” he said. “There's a feeling that we need a change.”Koo has also received the support of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Saratoga Springs) and Queens Sens. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale).Bruno spokeswoman Lisa Black said Koo met with him in December and discussed his options, which included a possible City Council run in 2009, and determined that tackling Stavisky's seat this November would give him a strong chance at victory.Koo said his campaign platform will be centered around promoting economic growth, public safety and bolstering education and health care.He said his successful business practices would benefit his efforts to work toward fiscal responsibility in Albany while promoting economic growth through tax cuts for small businesses and promoting the redevelopment of Willets Point.Koo said he would work toward reinstating the death penalty for cop killers, tightening laws against sex offenders and curbing the spread of illegal guns.The businessman also promised to bolster the Tuition Assistance Program for SUNY, CUNY and independent two- and four-year schools. Locally, he said he hopes to work with the state Department of Transportation to improve streets and traffic patterns as well as promote contextual rezonings to curb out-of-character development.”I know I'm the underdog,” Koo said. “I also know that with hard work and vision, anything is possible. I came to this country with virtually nothing and achieved the American dream.”Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.