Queens state Senate candidate says dissolution of IDC inspired run against Avella

Photo by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS

For Republican candidate Simon Minching, the recent dissolution of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a group of Democrats that caucused separately from other Democratic members of the state Senate, is what prompted his run against Tony Avella in northeast Queens’ 11th Senatorial District.

Avella, who currently represents BaysideFlushingWhitestoneDouglaston and College Point in the State Senate, was a member of the IDC since 2014.

“I may be in the minority here, but I actually liked the IDC as a principal, because I saw them as a centrist group of Democrats that worked together with Republicans and caucused with Republicans to actually get things done,” he told QNS in an interview. “Once it became public that they’re probably going to dissolve, and given the atmosphere in Albany, I decided ‘Hey, we need somebody in there to actually give voters a credible choice.'”

Minching attended Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside, received his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University and earned a master’s in public policy from the University of Chicago. The Queens native worked as a researcher for the United Nations Association and a senior budget analyst for Chicago’s public schools system.

Currently, Minching works in business development for Palantir Technologies, a multibillion-dollar private software and services company.

Minching spoke about overdevelopment in the district — an issue locally highlighted most recently with the protest of a proposed four-story complex, which is slated to contain 18 housing units and a daycare center, in the Bay Terrace section of Bayside.

Minching proposes a “root-cause analysis approach” to address the issue’s cause, which he says is a lack of affordable housing throughout the city. Giving developers an incentive to build affordable housing “in the center of the city” (Manhattan, Long Island City and Williamsburg) would improve the issue of overdevelopment here in northeast Queens “downstream”, he posed.

“There would be less of an incentive to put in a 18-unit apartment building on 14th Avenue, where it doesn’t belong,” he said.

This differs from the senator’s approach to this and other issues, he said, which Minching described as “an organizer’s rallying tactic.”

“Development is a bipartisan issue, something that myself and Senator Avella can agree on,” he said. “I think where we differ is specifically what the solutions are.”

With regards to education, Minching said issues of school overcrowding can’t be addressed “without either creating more seats or being exclusive.” He spoke in favor of constructing more seats throughout the district to address the issue, which he cites as one of the “three pillars” of his campaign.

“I really do think that my personal ambition, my personal will to cut through complexity and get things done, is well suited for the role, and that’s why I put my hat in the ring,” he said.

Vickie Palladino is also seeking the Republican nomination for the seat.

John Liu, a former New York City comptroller and councilman, recently announced he would challenge Avella for the Democratic nomination in the Sept. 13 primary election.