By Mark Hallum
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) has roped in endorsements for re-election from the United Federation of Teachers and state Assemblyman Michael Miller (D-Woodhaven) in the run-up to the general election against civic activist and attorney Mike Scala.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew cited Ulrich’s work getting residents back on track following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy by appointing an oversight committee which criticized the Build It Back program for its ineffectiveness. But he did not elaborate on specific progress Ulrich has made for education in his south Queens district.
“During the recovery efforts of Superstorm Sandy, Eric Ulrich reached across party lines to advocate for impacted residents in Queens,” Mulgrew said. “Eric has a track record of getting things done for our students, our families and our communities. He has earned our support.”
Miller also proclaimed his support for the Republican, who he said is a bipartisan fighter for constituents and the issues in his district.
“For Eric it’s not about politics, it’s about people,” Miller said. “For eight years working together for our shared district, I can say there is no better fighter for this community than Eric Ulrich. I am proud to stand with the UFT and strongly endorse the councilman for his re-election.”
Ulrich won the seat during a special election in February 2009, as state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) made the transition from City Council, before winning again in November of that year. Since then, he has broken away from the GOP on several issues, such as favoring rent stabilization and a minimum wage increase.
Ulrich has long expressed his ambition to run for mayor, but backed out of his 2017 challenge to Mayor Bill de Blasio in March. He said he could no longer pursue the challenge because de Blasio was not being indicted as a result of several investigations for campaign fund-raising violations.
“I’m very proud to receive the endorsement of the United Federation of Teachers, which represents the hardworking men and women who teach our children,” Ulrich said. “I’m also thrilled to have the endorsement of my good friend, Assemblyman Mike Miller, who crossed party lines to support me. There is no Democrat or Republican way to fight for our schoolchildren and make sure they have access to the latest technology, the materials they need, and healthy lunches. I will continue to fight for our schoolchildren and all my constituents regardless of party affiliation in the New York City Council.”
Scala was, in turn, endorsed by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village). Crowley cited Scala’s track record fighting for better public transportation and labor rights as the reason for the backing.
“Mike is a bright, young leader in our borough with an equally bright future ahead of him,” Crowley said. “He has fought to improve public transit for families with limited transportation options, and is a strong champion of organized labor for a community that is home to so many city employees and first responders. Mike Scala is the clear choice for southern Queens and Rockaway, and I look forward to working with him in the Council.”
Scala said Crowley is an ally in his plans to fight for better public education and in opposition to the constitutional convention, which he believes could be a detriment for pensions, collective bargaining and education rights.
“Our supporters, including Council member Crowley, stand united with us to ensure our public schools are strengthened and the constitutional convention, which threatens to undo our protections, is defeated,” said Scala.
The decision as to whether or not there will be a convention will go to a vote in the Nov. 7 general election.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall