By Sarina Trangle
A Libertarian taking on state Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Sunnyside) is hoping the third time is the charm when it comes to state legislative races — or inspiring others to follow his lead.
John Kevin Wilson, who secured nearly 16 percent of the votes in 2010 and 12 percent in 2012 bids against Nolan, said he was running again because he abhors so-called professional politicians and views Nolan as their poster child.
“The incumbent really began to think of the seat as her own,” Wilson said of Nolan. “One choice is no choice at all… I would like to inspire all kinds of New Yorkers and residents of Queens to run for office, so we have greater choice; and so we have, as our founders intended, amateurs who take time out of their lives and careers to represent their neighbors as a privilege for a couple of terms or years and then go back to living their lives.”
Nolan did not respond to requests for an interview about her campaign or her response to criticism by her opponent.
The incumbent, who is running on the Democratic and Working Families lines, was elected to Albany in 1984 and has since represented the 37th Assembly district, which includes Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Long Island City and parts of Astoria, Woodside and Maspeth.
She has served as chairwoman of the Education Committee since 2006 and sits on the Ways and Means, Rule, Veterans’ Affairs and Corporations, Authorities and Commissions committees.
Wilson, a bartender and actor who lives in Sunnyside, said he is a member of the Grand Old Party Republican Club and Queens Libertarian Party and counts his prior elections among his community involvement — along with easing the feral cat population by catching, sterilizing and releasing the animals.
If elected, Wilson said he would lower taxes, curtail spending by more stringently blocking discretionary funding sources and lifting the cap on how many charter schools may operate.
“My opponent, who basically is at the UFT’s bidding, likes to pretend like charters don’t exist,” he said. “There are 50,000 children on a waiting list in the city to get into a charter in the city.”
He also accused Nolan of allocating discretionary money to various organizations in her district, and then benefiting from it when they or their leaders donate to her campaign committee. He, however, could not give any examples and a precursory look at her latest BOE filings did not reveal any such transactions.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo stopped approving new discretionary funding requests years ago, but has okayed the use of previously allocated money.
Nolan has about $11,150 on hand in campaign funds, while Wilson has $6,345, according to state Board of Election filings.
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.