By Tom Momberg
Political activist Joe Concannon is not likely to have any competition in the primary election as he campaigns for Mark Weprin’s City Council seat. As he officially announced Monday outside the NYPD’s 105th Precinct in Queens Village, Concannon has the backing of both the Republican and Conservative Party lines.
Concannon, a retired NYPD captain and U.S. Air Force veteran, said his family, friends and conservative supporters influenced his decision to enter the City Council race, which will follow the normal election cycle for a general election on Nov. 3.
After running against Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) in 2013, Concannon said he again hopes to turn the tide in the City Council and expand his party’s influence in the city. He also challenged state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) in 2012.
Since retiring from the NYPD, Concannon has been a political activist. He has organized rallies in support of police as a response to what he saw as hostile positions toward the department from the public and city administration after the Staten Island chokehold death of Eric Gardner.
“I’ve spent a lifetime in commitment to public safety and security, both in public service and in the private sector,” Concannon said during a news conference. “I stood up, here in the city of New York, when our city mayor was tearing our city to shreds, I stood up in each one of our boroughs and said ‘support our local police.’ That is as important today as when I first started that message, and we will continue there.”
Present to announce their endorsements of Concannon were Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), former Queens Congressman and new County GOP Chairman Bob Turner and Queens Conservative Party Chairman Tom Long.
“We definitely need people with some common sense on the City Council,” Ulrich said. “The Council these days is a crazy place with a lot of crazy ideas… With all the problems in this city with education, with crime, with housing and all of the issues that really need to be addressed, the fact that we are wasting time and precious resources on an issue like [using city tax money to help people make bail], is really a disservice to the people of New York.”
Turner said Concannon would better represent a large faction of Queens that is fed up with career politicians.
“I don’t think the City Council is represented by the people that are in there now. The people in Queens have no interest in being represented by (Council Speaker) Melissa Mark-Viverito or the mayor,” he said. “This is not a progressive agenda here. We are going to have our own agenda that represents Queens, and the person to do it is Joe Concannon.”
Concannon has entered the race for the Council seat previously held by Weprin, who left to take an administrative job under Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He is focusing his attention toward the needs of police and families, as well as addressing domestic violence, education and job creation. He said he expects to release full details of his campaign platform in the coming weeks.
Working on Concannon’s campaign are campaign manager Maureen Daly, who worked on Grant Lally’s GOP congressional campaign against Steve Israel in 2014, and communications director Liam McCabe, who worked for Michael Grimm’s last two Staten Island congressional campaigns, as well as for Ulrich’s 2009 race for City Council.
Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomb