By Bill Parry
State Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Maspeth) is facing at least one Democratic challenger from Woodside for the seat she has held since 1999. Markey kicked off her ninth re-election bid last month, saying she is proud of her time in the Assembly representing residents of Maspeth, Woodside and parts of Middle Village, Woodside, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Astoria.
“Working in Albany, I am proud that taxes for middle-income families continue to be at their lowest level in 60 years, that we have significantly raised the minimum wage, and have delivered increased state funding and benefits for seniors, social and family services and schools,” Markey said.
She serves as a member of the influential Ways and Means Committee and is chair of the Assembly Standing Committee on Tourism, Parks, and Sports Development. Markey introduced the Child Victims Act of New York in 2005, a bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse crimes to ensure that victims of these crimes get justice for the wrongs done against them. She has been fighting for its passage ever since.
Brian Barnwell, an attorney who worked as an events director for City Councilman Costa Constantinides ( D-Astoria) until he announced his run, will challenge Markey in the Democratic primary, set for Sept. 13.
“We’ve been knocking on doors in District 30 for a year now and everyone tells us it is time for a change,” Barnwell said. “People feel she’s a nice person but when she doesn’t show up for civic meetings, or votes in Albany, that becomes a real issue.”
Woodside community leader David Rosasco has also mounted a campaign against Markey, but he fell 13 signatures short after a Barnwell surrogate challenged the validity of his petitions. He will appeal the city Board of Elections’ ruling to Queens Supreme Court.
“It’s costly in so many ways financially and emotionally not just for me but for lots of Woodsiders who now know more about what actually happens with this Byzantine system that even allows for such games,” Rosasco said. “Truth be told, there’s going to be a lot of ordinary people who will feel as if they were disenfranchised.”
Rosasco was knocked off the primary ballot for the same reason when he ran for City Council in 2009. Barnwell was unrepentant.
“He didn’t get enough signatures and follow the rules,” he said.
Barnwell claims he raised $48,809 compared to Markey’s $41,220, clearly outpacing her in donations from individuals with $46,909 to Markey’s $6,470 as of July 20.
Rosasco has so far raised less than a $1,000 on his Gofundme webpage.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr