2005-08-25 / Columnists

On The Beach

With Beverly Baxter St. Virgilius Teacher Mounts Race In 23rd AD

With Beverly Baxter
St. Virgilius Teacher Mounts Race In 23rd AD

Rosemary DuffyRosemary Duffy What would inspire a Broad Channel Parochial schoolteacher to take on the status quo in this much-contested race for the Republican District Leadership? Ask Rosemary Duffy and you’ll find her answer to be succinctly clear.  In fact, the answer is in the question itself and has to do with one word: Leadership. “As a lifelong Republican resident of Queens, I can remember when the Republican Party had influence. There was a time when we had true leaders and a Republican presence. The Democrats have had a monopoly over our party for too long,” she says. O.K., we know that; but how does a grammar school teacher make that leap into effecting change? 

When St. Virgilius and other schools within the Brooklyn/ Queens Diocese faced closure, Rosemary Duffy faced the possibility that, after 10 years, she would lose her job and her students would lose access to quality Parochial school education. This incensed her. “When two of our Parochial schools in the district faced closure, our current Republican District Leaders did nothing! Where were they? They weren’t there for the children and the parents of our district. This bothered me a lot,” said Duffy.

Although, thankfully, St Virgilius did not close, Mrs. Duffy vowed that she would continue to advocate for private schools and give voice to parents who wish to have a choice in how their children are educated.

“Choice is really the key word. I am ‘Pro-Choice’ with regard to Education. Money, or the lack of it, should never eliminate a child from access to quality choice education. Our public schools have in many ways failed our children. Parents are frustrated and feel often at odds with the kind of education provided by the public schools. The art of teaching has been replaced by a generic “route-way” of teaching. Students are being advanced, but they are not learning. Parents are opting more and more to send their children to safe alternative sources of education where their children can flourish. They should have access to choice-education regardless of religion, race, or economic means. The Republican Party, and I as your Republican District Leader, would advocate for empowering parents with the help they need,” stated Duffy.

Educational Tax Credits, which enable parents to send their children to Private, Parochial or Yeshiva Schools actually save the city money. Duffy cites the Court of Appeals Fiscal Equity Case that states that each child in the NYC Public School system is entitled to $18,000 worth of Education. “Currently, the city spends about $13,000 per student. If parents can deduct that $5,000 dollar difference from their taxes at the end of the year, they could use that money toward private educational expenses.”

As a widowed mother of four grown children: Mary, Kathleen, Kevin, and Timothy; and a Parochial School Teacher for 25 years, Duffy laments that she understands the challenges parents face with regard to access to quality Education.

In addition to promoting a Republican ideology that advocates for choice-Education, Duffy vows as Republican District Leader to promote and bring back a Republican presence to the 23 A.D.”I share with other constituents the prevailing complaint that our Republican Leaders have been invisible. The problem has been systemic. There have been various leaders, at one time or another, who have been on the payroll of Democrats. The consequence has been a steady decline of a Republican identity in South Queens. It is unfathomable that we are never given a Republican choice against a Democrat candidate. Our local Democrat officials have been given a free pass by the Republicans for too long. Competition is healthy. It is the job of a Republican District Leader to promote Republican candidates for office. Our current leaders have repeatedly failed us. By their non-existence and non-responsiveness they have taken away our right to a fair and equitable political process,” she said.

It was in response to this apathy on the part of our current leaders that The Rockaway Republicans was born. A grassroots effort which began in the garage of a Neponsit resident, The Rockaway Republicans now boasts a membership of several hundred who are committed to bringing a Republican voice to our district. The organization has embraced the candidacy of Rosemary Duffy and Eric Ulrich in the September 13th Republican Primary for the District Leadership positions.

“Rosemary Duffy and Eric Ulrich bring an unbridled passion and refreshing enthusiasm to the Republican District Leadership ticket,” stated George Greco, Chairman of the Rockaway Republicans.

You are warmly invited to attend a speaking engagement with Rosemary Duffy and Eric Ulrich hosted by The Young Israel of Bayswater and Wavecrest located at 2716 Healy Avenue on August 30 at 8 p.m.

***See you...there!

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