Koslowitz retakes old Council seat

Karen Koslowitz leaves the voting booth after casting her ballot at the Forest Hills library Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Anna Gustafson
By Anna Gustafson

Karen Koslowitz is headed back to a place she knows well: City Hall.

Koslowitz beat her five challengers in the Democratic primary for City Councilwoman Melinda Katz’s (D-Forest Hills) seat as of Tuesday night, garnering 1,834 votes, or 25.89 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the city Board of Elections.

The former Councilwoman will go to City Hall in January because there is no registered Republican in the race.

“I’m just so happy, and I’m looking forward to going back to the Council and doing good things for the people of my district,” Koslowitz said. “I was there for them before, and I’ll continue to do the job I’ve done before.”

Koslowitz, currently the president of community boards at Borough Hall, represented District 29 for 11 years until 2001, when she was forced out by term limits. District 29 covers Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens, and parts of Richmond Hill, Maspeth, and Elmhurst.

Lynn Schulman, a member of Community Board 6 and community activist, came in second with 1,593 votes, or 22.49 percent of the vote. Heidi Harrison Chain, the president of the 112th Police Precinct Community Council, received 1,347 votes, or 19 percent. Albert Cohen, the first Bukharian to run for Council, had 946 individuals, or 13.35 percent cast their ballots for him. Former state Assemblyman Michael Cohen garnered 12.49 percent of the vote, or 885 votes, and Mel Gagarin, a former community representative for U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) received 479 vote, or 6.76 percent.

“We ran a good race, and it was close,” Schulman said. “I will continue to work on behalf of the community as I’ve done before.”

Schulman said she was disappointed by the “ election’s low turnout.”

Gagarin said he knew the campaign would be tough.

“But it was always an honor to run against people with civility and a high level of class,” he said. “It was a great experience.”

Koslowitz ran a campaign that focused on health care, education, and senior issues, all of which she said she plans to focus on when she takes office.

Koslowitz said more health care services are needed in a borough that recently lost Parkway in Forest Hills, St. John’s in Elmhurst, and Mary Immaculate in Jamaica.

She has also said school overcrowding needs to be addressed and called for additional classrooms to be created. Koslowitz said quality-of-life issues need to be addressed, such as traffic on Austin Street and Queens Boulevard and empty storefronts.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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