Padavan Wins: Business as Usual
By Lisa Fogarty
Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) didn’t have much time to celebrate his victory as the confirmed winner of the dragged-out 11th District senatorial race against Jim Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows). The re-elected Senator is back to work dealing with the troubled economy.
“The most compelling mission we have is to deal with the budget and all that is involved in terms of cuts across the board in many areas, particularly education and health care, reductions in benefits, increases in tuition and changes in the EPIC program involving Seniors,” Padavan said. “Congress has finally agreed today on a package that will provide billions of dollars to the states and that includes New York. We don’t know exactly how much will be allotted to New York City.”
Padavan declined to provide comment on the swarm of vitriolic e-mail exchanges that ripped through the information superhighway just days after his re-election – in which neither Gennaro nor Padavan held back.
On Feb. 5, Gennaro released his concession statement, thanking voters and calling upon Padavan to apologize to every voter he attempted to disenfranchise during the recount process. Padavan’s spokesman responded the same day, criticizing Gennaro and his political strategists at the Parkside Group for engaging in a “shameful smear campaign intended to mislead residents of the 11th Senate District.”
“The antics of Councilman Gennaro and his Parkside Group friends are a complete disservice to the community and lead to the disenfranchisement of the tens of thousands of Northeast Queens residents,” Padavan said in the statement. “As a result of their outrageous tactics, Gennaro and the Parkside Group are responsible for wasting thousands of taxpayers’ dollars.”
The next day, Gennaro’s spokesman retaliated with a second statement.
“Jim Gennaro ran an issue-based campaign and received more than 49 percent of the vote in this election. Jim has never been afraid to speak out about critical issues, whether it’s protecting New York City’s water supply or exposing Frank Padavan’s 23 votes against women’s health and safety,” Gennaro spokesman Mike Barfield wrote.
Since then, the e-mail exchanges have come to a halt. Gennaro is continuing his duties as Councilman, most recently appearing at a rally Wednesday morning to urge Gov. David Paterson to save two Queens hospitals, Mary Immaculate and St. John’s, from closure.