By Anna Gustafson
State attorney general candidate Kathleen Rice said in Briarwood last week that if elected she would focus on educating Jamaica and other Queens residents facing foreclosure on resources available to them.
“I know there are communities in Queens that have some of the highest rates of foreclosure in the country,” said Rice, a Democrat. “The No. 1 thing we can do is educate communities on how they can make themselves less susceptible to crimes like predatory lending and mortgage fraud.”
Currently Nassau County’s district attorney, Rice brought her campaign to Queens last Thursday, speaking with reporters at the Flagship Diner in Briarwood and landing endorsements from the Queens County Democratic organization and a number of elected officials outside Borough Hall in Kew Gardens.
Rice is running in the Democratic primary against state Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Elmsford), state Sen. Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan), retired Naval Capt. Sean Coffey and former state Insurance Department Superintendent Eric Dinallo.
She kicked off a series of round-table discussions with reporters in Queens, which she said “holds a very special place” in her heart because her parents grew up and met in Forest Hills.
As the child of Irish immigrants, Rice said she is particularly cognizant of the challenges facing individuals from other countries. She noted immigrants in Queens, and throughout the state, are frequently victims of crimes like predatory lending and mortgage fraud.
Rice said her office in Nassau does not ask any victim of a crime for their immigration status, which she said has resulted in many more people feeling comfortable to report crimes, including predatory lending. The candidate said if elected she would expand translation services for residents, potentially including Mandarin Chinese and Korean.
Rice said she would also work with financial institutions and religious groups to help individuals facing foreclosure or in areas with high rates of foreclosure.
“It’s important to reach out to faith-based organizations and keep people informed of what’s going on,” Rice said.
Partnering with faith-based groups can also help reduce drug and other crime rates in communities, which Rice said she has seen with a program she helped to implement in West Hempstead, L.I.
U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) announced the Queens County Democratic organization’s endorsement of Rice outside Borough Hall the same day as the round table.
“Rice has the experience, the passion and the drive to continue [state Attorney General] Andrew Cuomo’s good work, and I have no doubt that she will be a great attorney general for Queens and for all of New York,” said Crowley, chairman of the county’s Democratic organization. “Today’s endorsement is just the beginning. We will stand by our good neighbor from Nassau every day as a powerful ally, helping to deliver her victory.”
Rice was endorsed by a number of people, including Borough President Helen Marshall, state Sens. George Onorato (D-Astoria) and Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone); and Assembly members Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village), Vivian Cook (D-Jamaica), Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights), Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), Nettie Mayersohn (D-Flushing) and Audrey Pheffer (D-Rockaway Beach). City Council members James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) also threw their support behind Rice.
“Having the support of the Queens Democratic organization and all of these leaders here today gives me the most diverse coalition of supporters of all the candidates running for attorney general,” Rice said. “I’m excited to tell the people of Queens what I stand for and to hear from them what issues matter most to them.”
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.