By Mark Hallum
State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) beat back Democratic opponent S.J. Jung in last week’s primary, but the battle for the 16th Senate District is not over yet.
Carlos Giron is contending for Stavisky’s seat, which she has held for seven consecutive terms, and he will be running as a Republican. The former sports journalist – now PR consultant – is dipping his toe into the political waters to bring reform to areas he sees as needing change in Queens.
The 16th Senate District stretches from Woodside in the west, to Bayside in the east and includes large parts of Flushing.
Giron emigrated with his family from Guatemala in 1978 at the age of 12, and now lives in Woodside with his wife Natalie.
As a civic-minded person, Giron decided to pursue public affairs and run for office, which he said is as much his obligation to the community as voting.
But when it comes to being a Republican in a primarily Democratic city, Giron identifies with the central beliefs of the GOP, such as entrepreneurship and limited federal government. Giving the Democrats a little competition through offering more right-leaning voters an option, he said, will fuel progress and excellence.
“For elected Democrats, I would ask two questions,” Giron said. “Are taxpayer funds being protected from fraud, waste and abuse? And are these programs working? Do we have a credible way of measuring if a state government program is working? If we don’t have that, I would ask that we create it and that we track those metrics very closely.”The specific initiatives Giron plans to bring to the Nov. 8 general election will be electoral reform, such as term limits and providing public financing to candidates for office at the state level; supporting charter and Catholic schools in the district to give parents education options, which he says could also address the overcrowding issue in Queens; advocating for small business owners; encouraging young immigrants to stay in the United States to contribute to the local economy by passing the DREAM Act, which will give undocumented foreign nationals access to government financial assistance; promoting tourism in the borough to generate revenue.
Giron distinguishes himself from other Republicans by being a strong supporter of many government functions, particularly education funding for SUNY and CUNY.
“I am not any anti-government Republican. I highly value and respect all of the government services that are provided by New York state and New York City, and the federal government as well. The government provides essential services that New Yorkers need. From infrastructure to government assistance for the elderly, to funding for students,” Giron said, “I am identical to the Democrats in that regard.”
According to Giron, leadership in the district is in need of being invigorated. The senator is controlled too much by teachers’ and workers’ unions to benefit her other constituents, Giron said.
Giron’s goal is to provide independent leadership to the district, which runs from Flushing up to Glen Oaks in the east over to Forest Hills, Woodside and Elmhurst.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall