Comrie touts experience as he prepares for Albany – QNS.com

Comrie touts experience as he prepares for Albany

By Juan Soto

Leroy Comrie was back working at Borough Hall after his landslide victory in the three-way race to unseat state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis).

The special assistant to Borough President Melinda Katz is heading to Albany Jan. 1, but said he will be at his current post until the day before.

“I will be working until Dec. 31,” he said in an interview two days after Primary Day Sept. 9.

Comrie, a former three-term city councilman, easily beat the indicted senator and political newcomer Munir Avery.

According to unofficial results, Comrie had 69 percent of the vote with 9,314 ballots. Smith came in second with 19 percent and 2,530 votes, and Avery, a Queens Village lawyer, was third with 12 percent and 1,577 votes.

“I was not expecting to win by that margin,” pointed out Comrie, who said Smith called him on election night to congratulate him. “He said he was very gracious and promised a smooth transition.”

“He [Smith] will be helpful,” Comrie, who has widespread support from the Queens Democratic Party, added.

Smith, first elected to office in 2000, faces a federal retrial for allegedly trying to bribe his way onto the Republican line in the 2013 mayoral race.

Avery called the next morning to congratulate Comrie as well.

During the campaign, Smith touted his accomplishments and added that southeast Queens residents could not afford to have a freshman senator representing the 14th District, which stretches from Queens Village and Laurelton to Jamaica.

“I am not going to Albany as a typical freshman,” said Comrie. “I am going to Albany as a seasoned elected official who has demonstrated his ability to put together significant coalitions.”

Comrie will run unopposed in the November general election.

“I am going to be utilizing every opportunity to remind my colleagues in the state Senate that I want to be a person they feel comfortable working with since Day 1,” Comrie said.

The former councilman knows Albany and City Hall have completely different ways of operating. It will not be a handicap for him, he assured.

“There are different mechanisms in Albany,” said the future senator. “Basically, there is a different way of doing things, but I will be able to quickly do whatever necessary to be an effective Albany legislator.”

In his first order of business, Comrie said he will “get into some bills” that will help New Yorkers, especially southeast Queens homeowners, with their foreclosure proceedings.

The district Comrie will represent was hit hard during the foreclosure and mortgage crisis.

”I will be working on multiple issues to ensure people are talking care of,” he added.

The 63-member upper chamber is now controlled by Republicans and the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference in a power-sharing agreement.

The five-member IDC said it will go back to the mainline Democrats after the November election.

”It is crucial that Democrats get control back of the state Senate,” said Comrie.

Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at jsoto‌@cngl‌ocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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