Voters are going to the polls to elect a new president, and voters in the 30th Assembly District, which includes Maspeth, Middle Village and Woodside, will have a new representative this year as Democratic newcomer Brian Barnwell soundly defeated 18-year incumbent Marge Markey in the primary in September.
This newspaper has touted Barnwell, an attorney and former legislative aide to Councilman Costa Constantanides, as an individual with a bright future in politics, and we see a young man who has come onto the political scene here in Queens with vision and a resolve, but even we did not think it would come so soon.
Barnwell jumped into the political limelight in August when he wrote an op-ed in this newspaper about how the Maspeth communities should fight the threat of a homeless shelter at the Holiday Inn Express.
It made sense, and when he talked about a combined effort using media, protesters, legislators and the community board to show our side of the issue, it turned heads in the district.
At our endorsement meeting, we listened to the Woodside native’s legal explanation about how important the city comptroller’s underlying influence counts in this fight against the mayor’s policy of using hotels to house the city’s homeless. It showed he has the guts to challenge and the knowledge to lead.
Republican candidate Anthony Nunziato has run for this seat a number of times in the past. Nunziato is certainly known as a feisty activist. When asked about a priority he said, “I will see which issues are being debated at the time.”
He did indicate he takes issue that New York is a sanctuary city and “many outsiders” are entering the system. He would look to pass legislation to address that issue. He feels New York City should be helping its own residents.
He has been active on the protest line in Maspeth, but he has burned more than a few bridges in his community over the years. He was removed from the community board, is apparently not very welcome at Maspeth Town Hall, Maspeth Chamber of Commerce or Maspeth Kiwanis Club.
We see Barnwell as having smartly reached out to a number of organizations in Nunziato’s hometown that his opponent is unable to meet with. Barnwell has assured representatives from Town Hall and the Chamber that the funds they are getting from the Assembly will not change if he can help it.