By Steve Mosco
Inching closer to a primary election in his district, state Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) intends to run on his record rather than rhetoric.
The assemblyman from the 38th Assembly District responded to verbal barbs from his challenger, newcomer Etienne David Adorno, by citing his experience in the Assembly and years of accumulated contacts and clout.
“Three years’ experience doing the job of an assemblyman counts for a lot,” said Miller, adding he has volunteered within the community in various capacities for 25 years. “Coming into this job, unless you come in as a sitting Council member or you had another elected office, there is a lot to learn.”
The 38th Assembly District includes parts of Woodhaven, Glendale, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill and Ozone Park.
Miller explained that knowing who to contact when a constituent needs help is one of the most important duties of an elected official. He remembered an incident just after he came into office in 2009 that he feels perfectly illustrates the need to know who to talk to.
Not long after becoming assemblyman, Haiti was hit with a devastating earthquake and many Queens residents lost family members. One woman from Woodhaven who lost her mother in the tragedy contacted Miller with a heart-wrenching request.
“We received a call from a lady who lived a couple of blocks from my office in the co-ops. Her mother had died in the earthquake and she needed help getting the body out of Haiti,” he said. “Because of my 25 years’ experience in Queens, I was able to make the connections to get the mother’s remains out. We were extremely happy to be able to accomplish that for this woman, who was our neighbor in the community. With no experience, how would one expect to accomplish something like that?”
Miller’s opponent, the 27-year-old Adorno, criticized the current assemblyman for failing to be visible in the community. Adorno charged that few people in the Woodhaven area know Miller as their assemblyman and said that out of the more than 2,000 homes he visited, only 14 people could identify Miller.
“How is that possible when I’m out at the Woodhaven Block Association meeting last week with 80 people and every one of them knows who I am?” Miller fired back, adding that many residents stood up at the meeting and said they were offended by Adorno’s comments against Miller. “Let’s talk about facts, not fiction, and move forward discussing the issues. I’ll defend my record anytime.”
The assemblyman listed a new senior center and a coming after-school program at PS 306 in Woodhaven as two of his proudest accomplishments — two achievements he said are not easy to push through the Assembly under the current economic conditions.
“My opponent can’t come after me on my record, so he is going to make things up,” said Miller. “I know it’s a campaign, but don’t make stuff up. Talk about your record, your volunteer work and what you’ve done for the community.”
The primary for the 38th Assembly District is set for Sept. 13.
Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.