The Race for District 19 Heats Up
By Joe Marvilli
|Paul Vallone (center), with father, former Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. (left) and brother, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (right), during Paul Vallone’s campaign kickoff on Jan. 8.
Photo by Ira Cohen
The list of challengers to City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) has increased with Paul Vallone’s campaign kickoff this week.
Vallone started his campaign at Verdi’s Restaurant in Whitestone on Jan. 8, surrounded by family, friends and supporters. This is the second time he has run for City Council, following his 2009 attempt.
Although many people came out to offer their backing, there were two members of government who stood out, a councilman and a former Speaker of the City Council. Those two officials were Paul’s brother, Peter Vallone Jr., and his father, Peter Vallone Sr.
Running as a Democrat, Vallone’s slogan was listed as “A Family Tradition of Integrity and Positive Leadership.” Following that motto, the candidate mentioned family as one of the core issues he plans to focus on, specifically in terms of child safety and education. Shaken by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, he feels that there needs to be a long and hard look at security in New York City’s schools to make sure such an incident does not happen here.
“I think it opened up our eyes to realize that we’ve been very lucky here in the City,” Vallone said. “There’s a lot to be done and it can be done together. If we can put a partnership of protection, that’s really what I want to do for our children.”
Among the ideas he suggested later on to the crowd was giving principles a panic button in case of emergencies and adding paid details to schools.
Moving from his personal life to his professional one, Vallone stated his strong backing of small businesses and the need to improve the resources available to them.
“Small business accounts for most of the jobs in the City of New York,” he said. “I think as a small business owner, we’re not even aware of some of the projects already in place to help small business.”
Two other strong focus points for his campaign are quality-of-life issues and preparing for future natural disasters after Superstorm Sandy.
“I think that may have been a lot of ‘boy who cried wolf’ from previous storms, but now I think we learned that we can’t cry wolf anymore,” Vallone said on the latter. “We need to expand the tidal zones so that those areas can be evacuated quicker, because some of Zone B took most of the hit and they were never evacuated.”
Vallone is not the only candidate to throw his name into the race.
State committeeman Matthew Silverstein will also run this year as Democrat, setting up a primary. The main issue on his campaign will be fighting to cure Alzheimer’s Disease, a platform that he holds close as his grandmother was diagnosed with a form of the illness.
John Duane is heavily rumored to be running for City Council as well as a Democrat. The former state assemblyman registered a campaign committee for the seat in April 2012. Cuomo aide Austin Shafran is also said to be considering a run.
Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.