Sunday, June 20, 2010

Nunes to Challenge Huntley for Senate by Ivan Pereira -

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Nearly a year after he came close to knocking out City Councilman Thomas White (D-South Ozone Park) from his seat in the 2009 Democratic primary, Lynn Nunes announced he will be throwing his hat into the political ring again this year.

The 25-year-old small business owner from Richmond Hill has started to gather campaign signatures to be placed on the ballot for the Sept. 14 Democratic primary against state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica). Nunes said he decided to run against the senator, who was elected to office in 2007, because he wanted to bring change to Albany.

“I’m running against a system that is broken and isn’t responding to the needs of the people,” he said.

Huntley represents the 10th Senate District, which includes Jamaica, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and parts of Forest Hills.

The candidate said for too long the state Legislature has not been taking care of New Yorkers’ needs — especially during the recession, when a stable government is essential. He noted how leaders failed to save Mary Immaculate, Elmhurst and Parkway hospitals from shutting their doors last year and they still do not have permanent remedies for the foreclosure crisis that continues to affect southeast Queens.

“You have black eyes in the community. These boarded-up houses that attract crime and loiterers,” Nunes said. 

Nunes, who owns his own private real estate company in Richmond Hill, said he would solve these problems through communication. By talking to both constituents and service providers, such as banks and health care providers, Nunes said he would be able to fill the housing and medical void in the neighborhood.

“It’s about communicating with the voters, we listen to them and we develop our strategy to help benefit them,” he said.

Huntley did not comment on her challenger’s announcement he was entering the race, but touted her record in helping constituents over the last three years.

“They know I’m not Albany. I’m a senator that represents the 10th Senatorial District and I do my job,” she said of the voters.

Nunes said his campaign was not about undermining Huntley’s work as a senator. Rather it was about showing constituents how good, new leadership can improve their quality of life.

“I think we need to have real results,” he said.

Last year Nunes came within six votes of beating White, the incumbent, despite having less funding and no endorsement from the Democratic party. The candidate said he would be sticking to his strategy from last year by hitting the streets and getting his message out to the voters one door at a time.

“There is a lot of politics, but the reality is the power is in the voter,” he said.