By Gina Martinez
As the September Democratic primary nears, Lorraine Gittens-Bridges is vying to replace state Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens) as is Linda Guillebeaux.
Gittens-Bridges is looking at this election as an opportunity to continue the process already underway. She believes that her years as a community advocate has given her access and connections that can help her get things accomplished. She also said the community pushed her to run, an opportunity she could not pass up.
“This is what I love,” she said. “Being in the position to even run is not easy, but I’m able to do so and that’s a blessing in life. All I care about is making sure that the next generation has better opportunities than the last. I had people that asked me to run, they want me to advocate for them, they know I’ve been there.”
Gittens-Bridges’ main focus is education, her area of expertise. She has worked with the National Parent Teacher Association for years and believes improving the conditions of schools is a top priority.
“You see differences in other neighborhoods. They look like palaces. It really is the tale of two cities,” she said. “My son had an opportunity to go to Bayside High School and when you go to Bayside, it’s a whole different world. You don’t have to be scared, they have better resources, they’re taking college classes. It’s clear to see their voice is being heard. We need that.”
She went on to say that when a community’s education system is good, it affects the immediate economy.
“We have to do better for this generation, we need someone to fight for us. The resources are there, we just need to make it work, make it happen. If people look at my track record and compare it to Hyndman, they will see.”
Gittens-Bridges said she will be able to create more jobs and improve the quality of life in southeast Queens.
“I would be able to offer better family, community engagement,” she said. “More than Hyndman, she doesn’t have a good track record with engaging our families. She has not served on parents association like I’ve done. I’m a much better candidate. I feel like my qualifications are better. I can build those bridges faster.”
While she acknowledges that her and Hyndman’s platforms are almost identical, she believes that she can execute better.
“I’ve worked with Hyndman and I feel like I could do a better job,” she said. “I worked with her in education and I’m more qualified. We’re running on pretty much the same platform, but I just feel like I can get the job done more efficiently.”
Bridges said her background in education, in the National PTA and her lobbying for education reform mean she has connections and experience. Touting those relationships she has made though her work, the Rosedale resident said she already has her foot in the door and voting for her won’t be a risk at all.
“I have the experience, everything is there. It’s not like you have to reinvest,” she said. “I bring all of that to the table. I’m someone who can hit the ground running quickly. People know me, they know I’ve been out there. I have an extensive background in terms of advocacy. I feel I have a good vision and good relationships and compassion to make the community a better place. I have heard many complaints. People are not happy.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart