By Sarina Trangle
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) is the lone Queens’ legislator in his chamber facing a GOP challenge.
He tends to be a frequent target of those across the aisle because he represents the most Republican state Senate seat in Queens.
This time around, Michael Conigliaro, a Rego Park resident who works as a real estate law firm’s office manager, is seeking to unseat Addabbo on the both the Republican and Conservative tickets.
Conigliaro said he would prioritize decreasing property taxes, eliminating the corporate tax and slicing the 8.6 percent sales tax in half, which he believes would spur small businesses. In an attempt to ameliorate the Glendale homeless shelter plan, Conigliaro said he would try to revive the Brooklyn Diocese’s overnight shelter and meal program run at area churches in collaboration with the city and a non-profit. Conigliaro said he vounteered with this inititaive at Sacred Heart in Glendale.
“With respect to Hurricane Sandy, the homeless shelter being proposed in Glendale, issues with regards to crime and quality of life — if people are not happy with the way things are handled, they need to vote for change,” Conigliaro said.
Addabbo said he would fight a proposed homeless shelter in Glendale, push for continued Rockaway ferry service and attempt to make Resorts World more lucrative. Legislatively, he said he would focus on a more strategic implementation of the Common Core curriculum, increasing parental involvement while renewing mayoral control of city schools and passing a comprehensive public campaign finance system for state elections.
“I don’t talk about my opponent. I talk about what I’ve done and the services I provide — the job fairs, recycling events, mammogram and prostate screenings,” he said. “If they believe I am a fighter for them, it would be my honor to go back.”
State Board of Election enrollment statistics show Democrats account for about 54 percent of registered voters and Republicans about 20 percent in the district, which includes much of the Rockaways, Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, and parts of Maspeth, Glendale, Middle Village, Rego Park, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens.
Addabbo has about $77,855 in his war chest, according to BOE filings, and the backing of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and Citizens Union.
Conigliaro has about $44,400 on hand, thanks in part to a $20,000 donation from the state Senate Republican Campaign Committee, $10,000 from Senate co-majority leader Dean Skelos’ (R-Long Island) campaign committee and another $10,000 from City Councilman Eric Ulrich’s (R-Ozone Park) campaign coffers, BOE filings show.
Addabbo opposes a soccer stadium near Aqueduct and would like to see horse racing continue there, but would be open to a full-scale casino at Resorts World. Conigliaro said he did not have enough information to evaluate such situations.
Conigliaro agrees with plans to turn the abandoned Rockaway Beach LIRR spur into a park, while Addabbo does not embrace that or a competing bid to reopen the tracks to trains. The senator supports the status quo.
Addabbo supports the Dream Act, which would allow undocumented high school graduates to apply for financial aid for college as long as the measure comes with the roughly $25 million expected to cover all students’ costs.
Conigliaro opposes it, saying it would lure more illegal immigrants to the state.
Addabbo would not describe his stance on the final portion of the Women’s Equality Act, which would codify Roe. vs. Wade legalizing abortion in state law, while Conigliaro said late-term abortions should only be authorized if a woman’s life is at risk, not “her health,” as the measure proposes.
The incumbent opposes hydrofracking, which Conigliaro contends would be a safe, boon for the state.
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at email@example.com.