By Anna Gustafson
Bob Friedrich is hoping the third time will be the charm.
The Glen Oaks Village president launched his campaign last week for state Assemblyman David Weprin’s (D-Little Neck) seat representing the 24th Assembly District, which he lost when he ran against the lawmaker in a special election earlier this year.
He also made a failed attempt last year to win the seat now held by City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens).
Friedrich, a Democrat, ran against David Weprin on the Republican line. He will run on the Democratic ticket in the primary this September.
The president of Glen Oaks Village and a longtime civic activist, Friedrich announced his election bid Saturday and said he believes this time around will be different because of a “strong anti-incumbent sentiment.” Additionally, he noted there is no third candidate, which he said took votes away from him when he and Swaranjit Singh were in the race with Mark Weprin for the City Council.
“We need to elect leaders who have worked in the private sector running businesses, employing people and creating jobs, not career politicians like the Weprins, who have spent 36 years on the public payroll,” said Friedrich, an accountant. “It’s time to give them a reality check and send them back to the private sector, where they can look for a job like New Yorkers who are unemployed in a state whose economy is bankrupt with a $9.5 billion deficit.”
Both David and Mark Weprin have criticized Friedrich’s line of attack, saying they have a proven track record of working on issues from education to the budget.
“I’m very proud of my family history of public service, and I’m not running away from that family tradition,” said David Weprin, whose father Saul Weprin became Speaker of the Assembly before he died in 1994.
The assemblyman criticized Friedrich’s bid for office, calling him a “serial candidate.”
“It’s a democracy and anybody can run, but I question whether Bob is just running for the sake of running,” David Weprin said. “I’m not sure whether he’s a Democrat or a Republican, and in my mind it’s hard to have it both ways.”
If elected, Friedrich said he would work to address the state’s budget deficit and limit “out of control spending.”
“This Legislature, they spend like there’s no tomorrow,” Friedrich said. “Their answer to our budget crisis every year is to tax. It’s gotten to the point where taxpayers are tapped out. This is a legacy of failure to the nth degree.”
He also said he would advocate support for charter schools and said he believes state lawmakers should lift the cap on the charter schools that a number of state officials have said would pave the way to hundreds of millions of dollars in federal education funding.
“I like the idea that a family who has children can make a choice where to send their kids,” Friedrich said. “The school district I’d be representing is No. 1 in the city, so parents would probably continue sending their kids here, but at the end of the day parents need to have a choice.”
Friedrich said he would work with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to ensure bus routes like the Q79 would not be cut.
“They could avoid cuts by coming up with new ideas,” he said. “For example, they could use smaller buses on low ridership routes. Those are less costly to operate.”
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.