Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ulrich Officially Declares His Candidacy by Lee Landor - Queens Chronicle

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He is barely 24 years old, but already Eric Ulrich has accomplished more than many of his peers — a fact he touted on Tuesday when he officially declared his candidacy in the 32nd Council District special election.

Photo: Eric Ulrich was the third man to officially declare his run in the upcoming 32nd Council District special election. Lee Landor - Queens Chronicle

The Ozone Park resident has worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the New York City Council and the Queens Board of Elections — “experience that counts,” Ulrich said.

His was the third official declaration of candidacy for the council seat, currently held by Joseph Addabbo Jr., who defeated state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale) on Nov. 4, winning the 15th Senatorial District seat.

Howard Beach Democratic District Leader Frank Gulluscio, 60, declared his run for the seat in April, but kept a low profile during Addabbo’s Senate campaign.

Retired NYPD lieutenant and lifelong Rockaway resident Glenn DiResto, 38, announced on Nov. 19 that his name will be on the ballot come February, when the special election will be held.

Another Rockaway man, Democratic District Leader Lew Simon, has not yet officially declared his run, but has said he intends to in the coming weeks.

Although some have speculated that Ulrich’s age will contribute negatively to his run, the soon-to-be-married Republican district leader is not worried. “If there ever was a time when innovation and fresh ideas are needed in the City Council, that time is now.”

Ulrich’s announcement came as no surprise to those who have watched him quietly campaigning over the last few months. As president of the Our Neighbors Civic Association of Ozone Park, Ulrich has been active and involved in the community and its local politics.

He demonstrated his outspokenness during Tuesday’s announcement, saying: “We can’t allow taxpaying citizens to bear the brunt of this economic crisis. We must reduce this city’s bloated bureaucracy before we lay people off, before we close senior citizen centers and before suspending the property-tax rebates.”

Ulrich, a graduate of the Nativity BVM Elementary School, a Catholic school in Ozone Park, went on to say: “Elections are about more than just a candidate. They’re about fighting for a cause larger than ourselves.”

For the groom-to-be, “this is not just a campaign for City Council, it’s a campaign for the future.” Ironically, however, one must rely on past experience to better handle what’s to come.

That could be why some of those who joined Ulrich at the announcement ceremony were political old-timers. They included Queens County Republican Chairman Philip Ragusa and former City Councilmen Thomas Ognibene, Al Stabile and Andrew Sidamon Eristoff.

Ulrich said he “heard the call to service” at a young age, first contemplating becoming a Roman Catholic priest, then attending the Cathedral Preparatory Seminary High School and, in 2005, running for the Republican district leader post. He lost that race by 124 votes, but won when he ran again in 2007.

Ulrich continues to act on behalf of the community as a civic leader and as a member of a number of organizations, including the Knights of Columbus, the Kiwanis Club of Howard Beach and the New York Republican State Committee.

As a “caring and compassionate leader who refuses to let politics get in the way of serving the community,” Ulrich said he remains optimistic about the future, despite facing th cominge hard times. His reason: “I believe our best days are still to come.”