By Madina Toure
Recently appointed Queens Republican Party chairman Bob Turner is working to rally his base in southeast Queens.
At a meeting hosted by Scherie Murray, state committeewoman for the 29th Assembly, at the American Legion Post 483 at 240-08 135th Ave. in Rosedale, more than 30 individuals spanning a variety of age groups and political affiliations discussed key issues affecting them, including education, property taxes, crime and job opportunities.
“There are African-American Republicans in New York City, there just aren’t many of them and we’re trying to offer an alternative to the failed policies that the Democrats have had and we think that the people in southeast Queens have an interest with other Republicans,” Turner said.
He said the party is focused on addressing specific issues and hearing what people have to say.
“My goal is to listen to what they have to say,” he said. “I believe we can expand the base of the party by being issue-oriented, figure out what are the big issues in each neighborhood which are all pretty much the same.”
Murray described the meeting as “healthy” and engaging, noting the discussion shedding light on the party’s history as an abolition movement and a figure in the anti-slavery movement.
“I think he conveyed sincerity, expertise, a know-how and just the importance of connecting,” Murray said. “I think it spoke in volumes that he came to this area where i can’t count how many years it’s been since a chairman of the county came to this area.”
Former Queens Borough President candidate Everly Brown, former senatorial candidate Bernadette Semple and Bart Haggerty, deputy chief clerk of the Queens Board of Elections, were also in attendance.
The state Republican Committee introduced Turner as the new chairman of the Queens GOP at a rally earlier this month after state committee members wrote a letter to state Committee Chairman Ed Cox asking him to recognize Turner as the chairman to unify the party.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour