NEW YORK – Vickie Paladino, born and raised in Whitestone, Queens, decided to take the plunge into politics by running for New York State Senate as the Republican candidate in District 11 in northeast Queens which includes the neighborhoods of Whitestone, Bayside, College Point, Little Neck, Douglaston, Floral Park, Beechhurst, Malba, and Auburndale. The district is home to many Greek-Americans, and as Paladino noted, two Greek churches, St. Nicholas in Flushing (technically Auburndale) and Holy Cross in Whitestone. The Greek community may be the key to winning this election for Paladino who spoke with The National Herald about her campaign.
When asked about why she decided to run, she told TNH, “I have always been political and I was not a quiet person. I was born and raised in District 11, I’ve always been outspoken. Last year I came out against the mayor, I happened to see him in Whitestone, you might have seen it, it was on the news, it was something I would have done anyway, never expecting this to happen, so watching what de Blasio has done to the city and our district was the icing on the cake. The video on YouTube, I did not know I was being videotaped, went viral, and through that I received multiple phone calls from [New York State Assemblymember] Nicole Malliotakis and Bo Dietl and I started to work on the mayor’s race. I did TV interviews; it was all over the place. I really got my feet wet because it was always kitchen table politics, very active in my community. If I saw something I didn’t like I said it, that’s why my opponents know exactly who I am as Vickie Paladino the citizen, so it should be an interesting race. But that was the motivating factor, everything going south, the quality of life, my town, our town, our district, is literally being trashed by our mayor and his plans for it. It’s only going to continue to get worse and worse.”
Paladino continued, “I stand strictly on my character and what I stand for, the people. I understand the people because I’m one of them. I’ve been married 44 years, raised 2 sons, owned and operated my own landscaping business with my husband for 32 years, so I understand what it is to be taxed and regulated almost out of business. I worked with my sister JoAnn for an additional ten years as her Chief Operating Officer for her manufacturing company. I worked a total of 42 years and I’ve dealt with people always, different levels economically as well as socially, I understand the people, and being civically minded, knowing the voice and the aggravation and anger of the people that are out there. People are fed up and they need people to stand up for them, we cannot exist in this state under a one-party rule. If we [Republicans] lose control of the state senate, everything will be blue-stamped through.”
“Since I announced my campaign for state senate, people have been telling me that I am crazy to run for office in the current political climate. But I am committed to running for one simple reason. The people in New York deserve better,” Paladino said.
“Queens used to be a place where people could comfortably live their entire lives, working, raising a family, and retiring to see the next generation follow. But the cost of living here has become unaffordable, running a business has become increasingly difficult, and the quality of life that we have come to enjoy in northeast Queens has been declining and too many people think it’s just not worth staying here any longer.
“Our radically leftwing mayor and city council believe in putting handcuffs on our hard-working police instead of on criminals. They worry about conditions for criminals in Riker’s Island and the long commute to borough courts and plan to close Riker’s and open jails in residential neighborhoods in every borough.
“They also want homeless shelters in every community across the city. They are currently spending over $1 billion on sheltering homeless men in motels all over Queens, increasing local crime and destroying the quality of life in these struggling middle-class neighborhoods,” Paladino said.
Her Democratic opponent John Liu, in spite of the investigation into his fundraising that derailed his 2013 mayoral campaign and resulted in two of his staffers going to jail for creating “straw donors” to hide contributions that exceeded the legal limit, won the primary against fellow Democrat and incumbent Tony Avella who is still running as the Independence Party candidate. Paladino won the Republican primary with a solid victory over Simon Minching, who is also on the ballot, as the Conservative Party candidate.
Election Day is November 6.