By Madina Toure
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, along with other female political leaders, Tuesday announced her endorsement of former Flushing Assemblyman Barry Grodenchik for the City Council seat vacated by Mark Weprin at a brief event in Bayside Hills.
Speaking under the Clock Tower on Bell Boulevard and 50th Avenue, Katz, who worked with Grodenchik under former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, said his appeal is that he has a track record of getting things done, noting that he was one of the lead negotiators in making sure that the New York State Pavilion was not razed.
“He is committed, he is strong and he is a great advocate for the people of Queens,” Katz said. “More importantly, it’s great to be an advocate. It’s great to love this borough, as Barry does. It’s another thing to actually know how to get things done and you can only do that I believe with great experience in different positions that you have had.”
Grodenchik, who represented Queens in the state Assembly and has served under three Queens borough presidents, including four years as deputy borough president, hopes to replace Weprin, who gave up his seat to work for the governor as a legislative liaison between the Assembly and the City Council. He is now in charge of community boards under Katz.
City Councilwomen Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) also announced their endorsements for Grodenchik.
Koslowitz said that while she has not worked directly with Grodenchik, they have known each other for “many, many years.”
“Barry is someone who knows what to do and how to get it done,” she said.
Crowley said Grodenchik has done a good job addressing women issues, calling him a “good friend.”
“As a woman, I know that Barry will be a strong fighter for women’s issues,” she said. “He’s done extensive work for women who’ve been victims of domestic violence, making sure that their voices have been heard.”
His wife of 25 years, Debra Grodenchik, said his experience and knowledge of the borough makes him qualified for the job. “He’s just a great guy,” she said. “Anybody who speaks to him or knows him just loves Barry.”
Democratic District Leaders Susan Seinfeld and Martha Taylor, both of whom are endorsing Grodenchik, were also at the conference.
Grodenchik received endorsements from state Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood), the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York and Democratic District Leader Stephanie Goldstone.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour