On The Beach
Commentary By Beverly Baxter
Eric Ulrich Makes It Right!
"A young bull elephant has emerged from the herd to lock tusks with the older guard," states Tom Lynch, President of the Rockaway Republicans, when describing Eric Ulrich, the twenty-two year old political prodigy who gained much recognition two years ago when he mounted a formidable campaign to lead local Republicans as their District Leader in the 23rd A.D.. Although he was 124 votes shy of ousting the current leader, with little money and less name recognition, he still managed to fortify and reinvigorate a significant amount of local Republicans whom had fallen complacent with the current status quo.
Upon meeting Eric Ulrich nearly three years ago, I was immediately impressed by his refreshing and uncanny grasp of the issues. After all, he was merely nineteen, a time when most are still engaged in the process of self-discovery. He reminded me of a young thoroughbred going through its paces; stumbling as he warms up, yet undeterred as he remains steadfast in his purpose: to engage, lead the charge and carry the banner on behalf of all local Republicans in the 23rd A.D.
After much anticipation, Ulrich recently announced and made it official at a Breakfast fundraiser that he is indeed seeking a rematch with the current incumbent male Republican leader in the September Primary and he is confident, as racehorse, that he will win. Unencumbered by scandalous baggage, Ulrich is a fresh face who is dedicated to making right a party that many feel has long been compromised. Upon hearing his announcement, George Greco, Chairman of the Rockaway Republicans, applauded and rendered his "support of the competitive process. Competition is truly American! Constituents have not been given a fair competitive political process. This was the raison d'etre for the creation of the Rockaway Republicans."
And Ulrich has been busy running all along, trying to get his message out and inspiring people, whom have been scattered by a political Diaspora, to become a vital part of the political dialogue. What I find utterly fascinating about him is that his youth in years does not coincide or mirror his intellectual depth and understanding that could only come from experience. He "gets it," and unlike most who enter the often sordid political arena to obtain and hold on to political power, Ulrich brings a bar of soap! His aspirations were initially to serve his faith. He studied for the Priesthood at Cathedral Preparatory Seminary. He grew up influenced by a grandmother who encouraged by her own example of civic service. This thread of service runs through his life. He will graduate in May from St. Francis College. As a Conservative Republican, he breathes new life into long-held traditions and values; and yet inspires a new generation into the process. His long list of civic service include: President of the Judge Angelo Graci Republican Club, Vice President of the Ozone Park Civic Association and he is involved with the Nativity BVM Church of the Knights of Columbus in Ozone Park. He has been a legislative aide in the New York City Council, a published author of a series of columns in this paper, as well as other publications in South Queens.
You've seen him most recently marching in our St. Patrick's Day Parade with longtime girlfriend Yadira Moran; as an invited guest at the Rockaway Park Homeowners and Residents Association Holiday Party; he was asked to give a holiday address at the Rockaway Catholic Jewish Council's Holiday celebration, as well as the Breezy Point Mardi Gras festivities.
Whenever people are marveled by his age or try to deter his aspirations, he reminds them of the early success of political icons like Senator Schumer who, at 23, was a State Assemblyman; or Congressman Anthony Weiner who, at 22, was a Councilman; or Joe Crowley who, at 23, was also an Assemblyman. Although they share differing ideologies, Ulrich is inspired to ally himself with their early passion for public service. He has all the ingredients for a successful political path. He is serious-minded, prodigious, savvy, and has managed to gather a well-financed purse. He is on a locomotive that is gathering momentum, yet firmly hitched to his steadfast values and principles. After all, time is on his side.
***The more than unusual boisterous sounds you will hear emanating from Beach 116 Street this Saturday night will not come from the cast of characters "on the street," but the delightfully funny comedic ensemble appearing live at Baxter's Theatre. Andrew Caban will once again bring his showcase of comedic talent from New York to our shores, and if the last performance is indicative of this weekend's performance, the audience is in for a hilarious time. How does a comedian from Stanford, Connecticut find himself in a place called Rockaway nine years later? Caban includes the story of how he got lost in his routine. He now resides here and actively recruits talent who have appeared at Caroline's, The Comedy Cellar, Standup New York and the New York Comedy Club. Caban was a recent second place winner at The Improv. Locals will laugh as they recognize local situations and predicaments that are incorporated into the act. "The crowds in Rockaway have been generously fantastic. They appreciate good witty comedy and our performances have been sold out to standing room only. The comics love performing in this venue. The theater is nice and the acoustics are superb and John Baxter has been very generous. It's a great place to fine tune our craft," says Caban. "Baxter has fun competing with local officials for their comedic effect and features the ensemble on his Queens Public Access TV shows. He opens the shows with a few great ditties and you'll find that five out of the six strings are almost in tune!" jokes Caban. But no one seems to notice as the laughter permeates the theatre and the audience leaves eager to return again. Andrew Caban's Comedy Showcase will appear tomorrow night, Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and may be obtained at the box office before showtime.