By Patrick Donachie
Bryan Block, a candidate in the race to fill the state Assembly seat left vacant by the death of Barbara Clark, said that his campaign was built upon the strength of the relationships he established over his work as a community advocate.
“I’m a relationship builder. Even as a freshman assemblyperson, relationships are going to be key,” he said. “I believe my ability to work with everyone, whether it’s Democrat, Republican, whoever, to get things done for my district, is the key to my candidacy, because when you have relationships, you get results.”
Block, who grew up in southeast Queens, is a board member of the Cambria Heights Civic Association and was previously the president of his block association. He is currently the chairman of Community Board 13, which includes parts of many neighborhoods in southeast Queens, including Cambria Heights, Glen Oaks, Queens Village, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens.
Clark died in February. She represented Assembly District 33, which includes parts of Cambria Heights, St. Albans, Queens Village, Hollis and Bellerose, for many years.
In a telephone interview, Block pledged to advocate for the district to receive its “fair share” of education allocation from New York state, hoping for more after-school programs and tutoring for students in the community. He also said the district needed more access to urgent medical care, noting that the closure of Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica had been a blow to the community.
“I’ve been advocating for more hospitals and looking into more health care options, something like unionized urgent care facilities,” he said. “You can at least get stabilized and checked out until you get to your primary care doctors.”
Block said he was a strong supporter of establishing senior housing and suggested that the best use of the vacant space that will be available at Creedmoor Psychiatric Hospital could be for senior housing.
“A lot of folks contributed to society, but as you reach your golden years, sometimes your house gets too big for you,” he said. “You want to stay within your district because your friends are here, your church is here. You don’t want to leave and you don’t want to move in with your children. You want your independence.”
The Democratic primary will be held, Sept. 13.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona