By Sarina Trangle
After years of working on education policy, Dmytro Fedkowskyj hopes to school state Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth) in her first competitive primary.
The Middle Village attorney said that while canvassing the western Queens district he met many who are unfamiliar with the 16-year incumbent or believe she has not done much for them in or out of Albany.
“Experience doesn’t always provide effectiveness,” said Fedkowskyj, a Community Board 5 member. “Your experience doesn’t mean you have a sense of entitlement either. You have to do the work.”
Markey’s team said she was too busy to come to TimesLedger Newspapers’ office and discuss her primary platform, but her spokesman Michael Armstrong responded to criticism on behalf of Markey.
Armstrong said Markey’s seat on the Assembly Ways and Means Committee and chairwoman position on the Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development Committee have put her in a pivotal budget negotiating role and allowed her to allocate funding for a bevy of community needs.
The Queens Democratic Party and several unions have thrown their weight behind Markey, whose 30th Assembly District includes Maspeth, Woodside and parts of Astoria, Long Island City, Middle Village and Sunnyside.
Fedkowskyj, who was endorsed by the city Fire Marshals Benevolent Association, National Latino Officers Association and CEC leaders, challenged Markey to her first primary in at least a decade.
Fedkowskyj, who previously served on the District 24 Community Education Council and as Queens’ representative to the city Panel for Educational Policy, said Markey’s lack of leadership has been on display since he and others began pushing for the creation of Maspeth High School five years ago.
He claimed she declined to get involved without explanation.
More recently, he said the incumbent turned down an invitation to sit on stage beside fellow lawmakers at a District 24 CEC meeting on a proposed shelter outside her district. Fedkowskyj believes it will affect Markey’s constituents.
“That was insulting to the people in the room,” Fedkowskyj said. “If you’re a leader, you go down and you represent your people.”
Armstrong said he was unsure what was said between Fedkowskyj and Markey about Maspeth HS since the assemblywoman supported its creation, but just with a more local enrollment plan.
And he said Fedkowskyj did not speak at the District 24 CEC meeting, which Armstrong described as poorly managed.
“He didn’t say a word. He’s the education expert,” Armstrong said.
If elected, Fedkowskyj said he would focus on fostering collaboration by hosting town hall meetings with constituents and various government agencies.
“Without having that consultation and transparency, you’re just not going to get things done,” he said.
Fedkowskyj said he would like to help improve mayoral control of city schools and vote for its continuation when Albany takes it up in 2015. Increasing school funding and easing overcrowding are also education priorities of his.
He said he would tackle unemployment by offering more job training programs, incentives to small businesses and tax credits as a tactic to woo more manufacturers to the district, particularly in Maspeth.
Parts of Maspeth currently fall under the city’s Industrial Business Zone, which offers tax credits to incoming manufacturers.
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.