By Steve Mosco
The youngest member of the City Council has declared his candidacy for the state Senate.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) Tuesday he would challenge Sen. Joseph Addabbo’s (D-Howard Beach) for his seat in District 15, which stretches from Far Rockaway through Howard Beach and Ozone Park up to Forest Hills, Glendale and Middle Village.
“For the past three years, I have been honored to serve the people of my community at City Hall,” said Ulrich, 27, in a statement. “I am now ready to take the fight to Albany where I will be an independent voice for the taxpayers of Queens County. I will be a state senator who never stops fighting for the middle class.”
His opponent, Addabbo, said he has been prepared for a campaign no matter who is running against him.
“Knowing the new district lines, this was inevitable,” said Addabbo, referring to the new boundaries drawn up this year. “This just starts the campaign clock. It will be a long campaign — a marathon, not a sprint.”
Addabbo previously held Ulrich’s Council seat and was elected to the Senate in 2008, defeating Republican Serphin Maltese. He won re-election in 2010.
While he would not comment on Ulrich directly, the senator did say the election will be won on the issues that concern residents on a day-to-day basis — and he has the experiences working on these concerns.
“It’s going to be about job security and job creation, protecting health care, senior citizens, education. These are things I’ve fought for my entire career in public service,” he said.
Ulrich won his Council seat representing District 32, which includes many neighborhoods in southeast Queens, like Woodhaven, Howard Beach, Ozone Park and South Ozone Park, among others, in a special election in February 2009 and was re-elected in November the same year. The councilman said he had fully intended to run for re-election in the district, but he felt he could have a greater impact in the Senate.
He sits on six Council oversight committees: Civil Service and Labor, Education, Housing and Buildings, Public Safety, Transportation and Waterfronts.
“I will bring the same fresh approach and new ideas to the state Senate that I’ve brought to the City Council. I love my job on the City Council, but the stakes are simply too high,” he said. “Too many of my friends and relatives have left New York because they can’t afford to live here any longer. We need to change that. I’m running because I believe I can make a difference.”
Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.