Challenger Michael Conigliaro has no doubt been a strong advocate for the communities of Maspeth and Glendale as they fight the de Blasio administration's homeless policies, devoting countless hours to the fight in the streets.
But ultimately the real battles are still waged in the state legislature and City Hall, where Addabbo has a wealth of experience.
Both candidates agreed on a surprising number of things considering their opposing political affiliations.
They’re both in a wait-and-see approach with the future of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line – a state study on the feasibility is underway – and don’t believe the Department of Transportation’s proposal for Select Bus Service on Woodhaven Boulevard is the safest, most efficient way to ease congestion on the busy north-south thoroughfare.
And both have similar plans for dealing with the city's skyrocketing homeless population, spreading them throughout communities instead of “warehousing” them in concentrated locations.
Addabbo called for a return to the city’s old cluster housing policy, disagreeing, as the de Blasio administration claims, that it takes away from affordable housing.
“Why not go right from homeless to affordable housing?” he asked when we sat down with him last week.
Conigliaro wants New York City to re-involve itself in the state’s existent Section 8 program, which would give the state the means to provide housing.
As for public education and policing, Conigliaro advocates a return to the stop-and-frisk policies of the Bloomberg administration that alienated minority communities, which runs counter to the positives strides in crimefighting that Rockaway and other neighborhoods have seen through an emphasis on community policing.
You can’t look at all the good that’s happening in a large portion of your future constituency and call for a return to the problematic past.
On education, Conigliaro's blanket call to end Common Core standards is the opposite of progress. We should be challenging our students, not coddling them.
Addabbo’s answer showed a better understanding of the issues of education, in that he would look to further reform the Common Core standards instead of scrapping the whole system. He pointed to how much better kids fared on last year’s state test after changes were made to the process, such as doing away with timed tests.
Addabbo also puts other elected officials to shame with his accessibility. Many elected officials are guarded, walking into a civic meeting or a community forum with a staffer or two at their side. Addabbo walks into a room without the safety net of an aide and listens to what his constituents have to say.
One of Addabbo’s best initiatives has been his frequent mobile office hours throughout the district. He covers a lot of ground to ensure his constituents don’t have to travel all the way to Howard Beach to have their concerns heard.
Navigating the often complex relationships in city and state politics is a difficult task and the incumbent displays a deft ability to handle those challenges. Residents of the 15th State Senate District should want someone with the experience and ability to get things done, and that’s Addabbo.