Dem kicks off race against Golden

November 28, 2011 Heather Chin
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Election Day 2012 is a year away, but the race for New Yorkstate senator from the 22nd Senate District is already beginning,with Bay Ridge-born Democrat Andrew Gounardes taking the firststeps in a grassroots campaign to unseat five-term incumbentMarty Golden, a Republican.

Over 150 people attended Gounardes’ kickoff fundraiser at JT’sRestaurant at 97th Street and Third Avenue on Thursday, November10, where the 26-year-old Fort Hamilton High School alum and HolyCross Greek Orthodox Church parishioner explained his decision torun for office as a response to his belief that, People arefrustrated and upset today with the way government is working – ornot working – [and] people are looking for something different -new leaders and new voices – to help make things better.

Gounardes, who was once a student advisory member for theDepartment of Education’s Panel for Educational Policy, is a memberof Community Board 10, and has worked as an aide to CouncilmemberVincent Gentile and New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, hopes to beone of those new leaders.

You can either sit on the sidelines and do nothing or enter thepublic arena and find solutions to these problems, he said to TheHome Reporter. I want to get New York back on track and the firststep is to go to Albany. The State Senate is the office where I canhave the most impact.

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The core of his campaign platform will focus on reviving theeconomy, relieving school overcrowding, and reinvesting in publictransportation – all areas where Gounardes feels that New York Cityand Brooklyn get short shrift in terms of state funding allocationsthat he says is the result of a political bias that exists,favoring upstate.

Gounardes said he hopes to lead the charge of those residentswho don’t believe that the work of existing leadership such asGolden’s is enough anymore.

The greatest challenge for any political candidate, even if along-term incumbent, is connecting with voters, sharing your visionand getting them to buy into that vision, he said, adding that heis grateful for the help and support of his family, friends andchurch in his new endeavor. There’s never a shortcut. So I willknock on as many doors as possible and [hold an] aggressivegrassroots campaign that shares my vision with them for ourfuture.

Tackling problems with the economy, education system andtransportation is also on the current senator’s priority list, saidGolden’s campaign manager Jeffrey Kraus.

Those are issues that the senator has developed over the yearsas a member of the City Council and State Senate, said Kraus.Gounardes’ party has been a tax-and-spend party over the years.Senator Golden supports fiscal restraint. It’s a record he’s proudof [and] plans to go to the voters with.

Kraus described Golden’s recent legislative victories asincluding securing funding for school expansions and technologyupgrades, pushing for the return of weekday and weekend express busservice, and creating a business- and job-supportive environment inNew York State.

The 22nd District, as currently configured, includes Bay Ridge,Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Marine Park, GerritsenBeach, and parts of Boro Park and Sheepshead Bay. Redistricting nowtaking place may alter the configuration of the district.

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