Lancman Says Experience And Record Count
Increasingly, it looks like the 9th Congressional District will be spared the chopping block of this year’s redistricting and Democrats have turned their attention to winning back the seat in the House of Representatives that once belonged to Anthony Weiner.
Throwing his hat into the ring, as reported in The Wave last month, state Assemblyman Rory Lancman will challenge Republican Congressman Bob Turner for that seat in November.
In a recent interview with The Wave, Lancman talked about why he believes he would be the best choice to represent Rockaway residents.
“I know that the environment of the Rockaways is what makes the Rockaways unique – the beautiful beaches, the cleanliness of Jamaica Bay and really the whole Gateway Recreational area,” said Lancman, who added he has made use of Rockaway beaches his whole life. “I know how important it is for people to preserve the character and quality of life in their neighborhoods.”
He added, “I’m going to be there as an active advocate for Rockaway’s interest, whether its beach erosion or restoring the bulkhead for the bay or making sure that Jamaica Bay’s water is as clean as possible,” said the Assemblyman.
Lancman supported the reinstatement of the Cross Bay Bridge resident rebate program and was at the January press conference held by Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder announcing the proposal by the governor to do just that. Lancman also supports eliminating the CBB tolls so that, “People from the rest of Queens can enjoy the Rockaways without having to pay a toll to the beach.”
Lancman, currently represents District 25 in the state Assembly. If elected to the House he will represent areas in Brooklyn and Queens. In addition to the west end of Rockaway, the areas in Queens he would be representing include Kew Gardens, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven. These are neighborhoods represented by Community Board 9, which is supporting creating a greenway where the old Rockaway Beach Long Island Rail Road line ran. Rockaway residents, alternately, want to reopen the line, which many say would decrease the travel time into Manhattan. The issue has picked up steam now that the governor has proposed building a convention center near the new casino at Aqueduct.
While it appears he may need to familiarize himself better with the issue, Lancman told this newspaper that a sense of balance has to be struck.
“The balance is between trying to get the Rockaways the transportation that the people there need so their quality of life can improve without negatively impacting the quality of life of people in other communities,” said Lancman.
He added, “In the end it never makes sense to make quality of life improvements in one neighborhood at the expense of another neighborhood. Our jobs as government officials are to make things work for both neighborhoods.”
Lancman touted his 16 years on his community board and 20 years of community advocacy before being elected to the Assembly. In his first six months in the Assembly, he said, “I passed five laws concerning homeland security, anti-terrorism, consumer protection and government transparency.” The Assemblyman says that even though Turner “has been in office six months he just got around to introducing his first piece of legislation.”
Passing legislation is an important part of a congressman’s job Lancman said.
“I think having that experience of passing 19 laws in the five years that I’ve been in the legislature and working on issues of national significance, particularly as it relates to homeland security and anti-terrorism, is something that the people in Brooklyn and Queens expect of their members of Congress.”
Turner has sponsored three bills and co-sponsored 53 bills. Only one of the co-sponsored bills has become law.
Democrats, including state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, believe that the party has a good chance of regaining the seat this fall that Turner won in a special election last year. State Assemblyman David Weprin, who ran against Turner in the special election, has not ruled out a second try at the congressional seat.