By Anna Gustafson
For Cardozo High School senior Patrick Jordan, volunteering for state Assemblyman Mark Weprin’s (D-Little Neck) City Council campaign was an intense crash course in the political life.
He spent nearly every day of the summer working for Weprin’s successful campaign, logging more than 1,000 hours for the legislator and doing everything from staying up all night with other volunteers to put together a mailing to collecting petition signatures so Weprin could appear on the primary ballot.
“It was really interesting,” Jordan said.
People like Jordan, Weprin said, were the tour de force behind his victory in November, which was why the councilman-elect held a dinner this week to thank the more than 300 individuals who volunteered for his campaign.
“We had high school students, we had college students, we had so many people working for us,” Weprin said. “What better time than right after Thanksgiving to say thank you for helping us make it through the campaign?”
More than 100 volunteers attended the dinner at the Santoor Indian Restaurant in Glen Oaks Sunday night, including Weprin’s office coordinator and Bellerose resident George Woolsey.
Working for Weprin was Woolsey’s first foray into politics and he said he was heartened by the lawmaker’s ability to resolve issues raised by constituents.
“In my 74 years I’ve seen politicians come along and say I’ll do this or I’ll do that, but nothing gets done,” Woolsey said. “If I went to Mark with a problem, he’d listen and a problem would get resolved.”
There were a wide variety of people at the dinner, from Community Board 8 members Martha Taylor, Marc Haken and Tammy Osherov to Santoor’s owner, Kirpal Singh.
“I like Mark very much, and there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll rise to the leadership in the City Council,” Haken said.
Weprin’s campaign manager, Dirk McCall, said they chose Santoor’s because it “has so much history for the campaign.” Weprin participated in three campaign events at the restaurant.
Singh said despite his fellow Sikh Swaranjit Singh’s loss to Weprin in the Democratic primary, the Sikh community wants to work with and for Weprin.
“We’ll work closely with Swaranjit,” Weprin said. “I’ve always been very involved in the Sikh community, and I look forward to working with the Sikh community.”
Weprin said upon taking office, he plans to immediately address issues such as education. The assemblyman is known as a vocal opponent of the importance the Bloomberg administration and city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein have assigned to standardized testing in schools.
“I plan to fight back on their emphasis on testing,” said Weprin, who has two children in public schools and whose wife is a PTA president.
Andie Amit, a student at Francis Lewis and a Weprin volunteer, said she appreciated the legislator’s stance on testing.
“The public schools only focus on testing,” Amit said.
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.