Lancman defeats challenge from Rahman to retain Council seat

Lancman defeats challenge from Rahman to retain Council seat
By Gina Martinez

City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) has been re-elected with a resounding margin of victory.

Lancman ran against Mohammad Rahman, a former supervisor in the city Department of Social Services, in the Democratic primary to represent Council District 24. With 100 percent of the vote counted, Lancman had cornered 62.2 percent, while Rahman had 37.8 percent, according to unofficial results reported by NY1.

District 24 covers Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood and Jamaica.

Lancman said he is “humbled” by the victory and sees it as a sign that his constituents were happy with the work done in his first term.

“To be honest it’s very satisfying to have people I represent like the job you’re doing and want you to do it again,” he said. “The first time you’re elected it’s all based on a promise first, but when you’re re-elected, it’s a validation that you’ve delivered on promises you made, so its even more satisfying. I’m very humbled.”

Rahman hoped to make history as the first South Asian Muslim official in the City Council. Throughout the campaign, he mainly criticized the councilman over the lack of discretionary funding from the City Council for youth programs at District 24’s many mosques.

But Lancman maintained he did provide funding and that Rahman’s criticisms were due in part because he “doesn’t understand the way that city funding is channeled.”

Rahman said his campaign was part of a growing trend of South Asian-American candidates running for city office, a reflection of the community’s increasing population and influence. The city’s Bengali population has doubled to 100,000 since the 2010 census, Rahman said, and it is time for new voices to be heard.

But Lancman said his experience gave him an upper hand over Rahman. He said being the incumbent candidate, his experience in the state Assembly and his background in law better prepared him to work on constituents’ behalf in the City Council.

Lancman said now that he has been re-elected, he plans on addressing the biggest issue in his district, which are mainly quality-of-life problems. He said he will continue to improve schools, libraries and parks.

“By and large you get elected and re- elected based on the work you do in the district,” he said. “I’m proud of the work I do in City Hall and people in my district care about that. You get elected by taking care of every neighborhood, every community and every block in the district.”

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmartinez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.