Gennaro Takes On Padavan in Queens
October 9th, 2008
The prospect of Democratic control of the State Senate, which hangs in the balance by one seat, has encouraged Councilmember James Gennaro that it is the perfect time to challenge the incumbent Republican senator in his district in Queens, Frank Padavan. And if numbers alone are any prediction, that possibility could put him in office: Of nearly 7,000 newly registered voters in Senate District 11, Democrats outnumber Republicans 6-to-1.
If the Democrats take the Senate, they will control the entire legislature and all of the executive offices. In Gennaro’s eyes, that will lead to a more responsive and ethical state government and a better funded city.
The Republican Party is “not getting the people’s business done because the people’s business is not on their agenda,” he said at a rally last month, according to the Politicker.
And Padavan defends the status quo, “saying we’ve made great strides because we vote in our seats now,” he remarked at a more recent forum, the Jackson Heights Times reports. “I think we have a situation where the Republican majority is more worried about hanging onto power rather than doing the people’s business.”
But Gennaro should be careful about positioning himself as a reformer, cautions Vincent Tabone, a Newsday blogger and vice chair of the Queens GOP (added). “Given the slush fund scandals plaguing the City Council, Gennaro being flagged for community newspaper advertising with public dollars complaints and Gennaro’s past fines for misuse of public employees and his public offices.”
None of this is to infer that Gennaro is mounting a one issue challenge. As the chair of the council’s environmental protection committee, it’s not surprising that he has made an issue of Padavan’s record on the environment as well.
One big issue of contention on this front has been the new law allowing natural gas drilling near watershed areas that supply the city’s water. Padavan plans to introduce a bill to ban drilling in these areas. But Gennaro was raising concerns about the subject a month before this news, and he accused the senator of jumping on the bandwagon. The Queens Gazette has a good article on this debate.
The League of Conservation Voters is split on the two, and has chosen to endorse both candidates.
Gennaro has also challenged Padavan on immigration. At the forum, Padavan was asked why he introduced a bill that would block undocumented immigrants from receiving non-emergency medical treatment at public hospitals. In response, he derided government spending on illegal immigrants, but denied that the bill would turn anybody away from hospitals.
But Queens Assemblymember Rory Lancman, who was also at the forum, recited the text of the bill, which is titled “Exclusion of Illegal Immigrants from Receiving Publicly Funded Health Care.” He then asked, according to the St. John’s Democrats blog, “Does that refresh your memory?”
In the end, maybe the two will be able to be friends again. Gennaro did, after all, sign a proclamation heralding Padavan as “an exemplary individual” that “lists his many achievements on behalf of his constituents,” according to the Queens Chronicle.By Mike Muller on October 9, 2008, 4:14 pm
In category: Albany, Electoral Politics, Environment, Governing, Immigrants | 3 Comments »