By Phil Corso
The race for northeast Queens’ state Senate seat heated up with party endorsements for candidates on both sides of the aisle as they gear up for the Nov. 6 election.
Incumbent Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) received the endorsement from the state Independence Party, while challenger and 25-year police Officer Joseph Concannon was backed by the Republican and Conservative parties.
The redrawn 11th District covers a large piece of northeast Queens, including College Point, Whitestone, some of Flushing, Bayside, Fresh Meadows, Hollis Hills and the neighborhoods bordering Nassau County.
Avella, who officially kicked off his re-election bid June 2, said he was glad to feel his work in the Senate was being recognized.
“No matter the party label next to your name, we should all agree that keeping taxes low and creating new jobs should be the focus of all our elected officials,” Avella said. “I thank the Independence Party for their support and looking forward to working together in the days ahead.”
Frank MacKay, the party’s chairman, said he was confident in Avella’s ability to keep taxes low and continue creating jobs in Queens.
“Sen. Avella is a proven reformer who has worked hard to produce real results for Queens’ families,” MacKay said. “Whether it was fighting for good jobs for eastern Queens or consistently standing up for middle-class taxpayers, Tony Avella makes the right choices without regard to partisan politics.”
Concannon was endorsed by both the Republican and Conservative parties and said he hoped to restore the Senate seat back to an older representation enjoyed under former Sen. Frank Padavan, who held the post for 38 years.
“We need a state senator who will work with the majority in both the Senate and Assembly to get things done,” Concannon said. “For the past two years, we have only seen a lot of paper shuffling, demands for studies and very little real benefit for our communities. We need to get the state out of our pockets and out of our way.”
Conservative Party Chairman Tom Long said he supported the retired NYPD captain and former president of the Creedmoor Civic Association in his bid for the Senate because of his story.
“Concannon’s commitment to cutting taxes, fees, spending and excessive regulation and to ensuring that residents have every opportunity to earn a decent living make him the best representative for this district,” Long said. “His life experiences as a law enforcement officer, business owner and family man show both the experience and the values that make a principled, capable representative in Albany.”
Padavan, who lost the post to Avella in 2010 after holding it for 38 years, said he supported Concannon in his bid for Avella’s seat in the Senate.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.