By Rebecca Henely
After spending his first few months as a congressman in the Kew Gardens office of former seat holder Anthony Weiner, U.S. Rep. Bob Turner (R-Middle Village) cut the ribbon on his long-promised new digs Sunday.
“There’s a lot of work to be done here,” Turner said. “There’s been a big gap in our constituent services because of the special election.”
Turner won New York’s 9th District seat in a special election last September after Weiner resigned amid a sexting scandal in June. Turner’s win over state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) was seen as an upset in a district that elected Democratic representatives for 90 years.
The new office is at 80-20A Eliot Ave. in Middle Village and has been operating for about two weeks. Turner, who was joined by about 40 supporters at the ribbon-cutting, said he is temporarily housing his entire staff in this office, although he will be opening another in Brooklyn in February.
“The one that we inherited was a little too expensive, and I would have rather hired more staffers to do outreach,” Turner said.
Turner’s district includes Middle Village, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Ozone Park, Rego Park, Howard Beach, Glendale, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Rockaway Beach and Woodhaven, as well as neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
The district is so sprawling that the two Republican councilmen who came out to support him at the ribbon cutting — Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) — have district lines that overlap with his despite their districts being practically on opposite sides of Queens.
“It’s a very good central location and it’s convenient,” Turner said of the Middle Village office, “And the rent is good.”
Former Republican state Sen. Serphin Maltese said he approved of the new office because he lives 12 blocks away.
“He’s across from the best deli,” Maltese said, referring to Andy’s Delicatessen, at 82-17 Eliot Ave.
Maltese said he and Turner were both veterans of the U.S. Army, and he thinks Turner will support veterans.
Halloran praised Turner, a former television executive, for his business acumen. He also touted the coalition Turner was able to build. Turner drew the support of the typically Democratic-leaning Jews in his district as well as earned the endorsement of former Mayor Ed Koch.
“We wish we could get so many people on board as Bob is able to do,” he said.
One constituent, Walter Connolly, who comes from Breezy Point, where Turner lives, said the location of his new office was not a great concern for him.
“I’m glad to be here at the opening,” Connolly said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.