By Rebecca Henely
State Assemblywoman Marge Markey (D-Maspeth) pledged to bring more money for services back to her district while her Republican opponent, Tony Nunziato, promised to cap government spending as they moved into the final weeks of the campaign before the Nov. 2 election.
Markey and Nunziato are running for the 30th Assembly District seat, which encompasses Maspeth and Woodside as well as parts of Middle Village, Astoria, Sunnyside and Long Island City. They also spoke on their plans to improve the job market and the district as a whole.
Markey, 68, has lived in the district her entire life. A graduate of Berkley Business School, she has been in politics for 35 years as a Democratic district leader and 12 years as an assemblywoman. She is married to Queens County Supreme Court Judge Charles Markey and has three adult children in their early 40s.
“I have more to do,” Markey said about why she is running for re-election. “I have things I want to do in the community and in the Legislature.”
Nunziato, 53, was born in Woodside and has lived in Maspeth for the last 30 years. A graduate of St. John’s University, Nunziato has been in his family’s florist business, Nunziato’s Florist, first in Manhattan and then in Maspeth. He is married to Dolores Nunziato and has three children in their early 20s.
“I’m going to do it because I want to make the community a better place,” Nunziato said. “I want to have a real voice for the people [of the district] in Albany.”
While in office, Markey has sponsored a bill aimed at increasing the statute of limitations in which someone who was sexually abused as a child can prosecute their case or bring civil suit up to the age of 23 rather than the current age of 18. She has also been trying to fund many different projects in the district, such as libraries, parks, food pantries, after-school programs, senior programs and rehabilitating the commercial district.
“When you give state money to a nonprofit, it legitimizes them and helps them get private funds,” Markey said.
Markey is also the founder of Maspeth Town Hall Community Center.
Markey said she believes the biggest issues facing the community are quality-of-life issues, such as hotel overdevelopment in Dutch Kills and truck traffic in Maspeth. Markey recently announced that the city Department of Transportation would be working to redesignate Flushing and Grand avenues. She also wants to create a viable commercial district.
“I always felt the strength and viability of the community depends on how strong the commercial district is,” she said.
Markey said she wants her constituents to know she cares about them.
“I hope they respect the work that I’ve been doing over the past 12 years,” she said.
While Nunziato has not held elected office before, he said he has been an active presence in the community. He is chairman of the Environmental Committee for Community Board 5, a past president of the ï»¿Maspeth Town Hall Community Center and a past member of the Kiwanis society and has been active in community efforts such as the cleanup of the Phelps Dodge site on Maspeth Creek, saving St. Saviour’s Church from destruction, reconstruction of the Kosciusko Bridge and developing an alternate Maspeth truck route so trucks from the Bronx or Long Island will not be able to go down Flushing and Grand avenues to get to Brooklyn.
“I’m what you call a hands-on elected official,” Nunziato said of what he would be like as an assemblyman. “I’m there.”
Nunziato said he wants to focus on job creation and hopes to offer tax credits to businesses that hire employees and bring back manufacturing jobs to the district. He also wants to cap government spending and taxation and make sure government money is spent responsibly. He said he supports school vouchers and believes they would encourage the use of dwindling private schools instead of requiring the city to build new public schools.
“Just give people a voucher so [their children] can go to the schools they want to go to,” Nunziato said.
Nunziato said his message for voters is that he is them and wants to know he is experiencing their problems.
“I want to make sure they get what they deserve,” Nunziato said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.