Former CEC District 29 President Alicia Hyndman has the backing of most of
Southeast Queens’ political establishment in her bid to replace Assemblyman
BY TESS McRAE
The Democratic leaders of Southeast Queens have come forward with their candidate for the 29th Assembly District: Alicia Hyndman.
The decision, made last Friday, puts the former District 29 Community Education Council president in a more than favorable position as the list of rumored candidates continues to grow.
“She has the potential to generate a large support base and she has an extensive background in community service,” District Leader Archie Spigner told the PRESS of Southeast Queens.
Other candidates allegedly considering a campaign include Rev. Corey Terry, founder of Our Brother’s Guardian; Franck Joseph, chief of staff to Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) and several others.
Brian Block, chairman of Community Board 13, whose name was dropped by several sources, confirmed with the PRESS of Southeast Queens he is not running.
The choice of Hyndman as a candidate is not entirely unexpected. Last week, Queens leaders said they were looking to making a unified decision. Sources told The Press Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), Richards, state Sens. Leroy Comrie (D-Hollis) and James Sanders Jr. (D-South Ozone Park), and Rep. Greg Meeks (D-Jamaica) were in communication with one another, looking for a candidate to back together.
“I’m talking to all the electeds in hopes that all of us settle on one person as a unit to find someone who will be a good representative of the area,” Comrie said last week. “We’re waiting to see who rises to the top and who is willing to put the time in.”
Now with Hyndman rising “to the top,” area officials said they are excited to see what she can bring to the position.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Ms. Hyndman as a community educational council leader and parent activist,” Miller said in a written statement. “She has been an asset to our community and truly understands the importance of investing in our children. Ms. Hyndman has a history of productivity and I look forward to working with her as an elected colleague.”
She is also rumored to receive support from the United Federation of Teachers.
Even with the support, Hyndman was unsure of the likelihood of her success until very recently.
“When news came down that the 29th Assembly seat was open, I was approached by some friends who said ‘Why not you?’” Hyndman told The Press in an exclusive sit-down interview. “I hadn’t even thought about it, but I have 15 years experience in the state education department and I thought about my two girls – I have a 16-year-old and a soon-to-be 5-year-old – and I thought about their welfare, which is my top priority. I feel I am young enough and have enough energy to take this on.”
Top priorities for Hyndman’s campaign, which had a soft kickoff at the Laurelton Memorial Day Parade on Monday, include flooding, transportation and, of course, education.
“I had to take the bus here because my car is in the shop,” she said. “I’ve been taking the bus for the past three months and I cannot imagine what people go through on a regular basis, especially in the colder months.”
Though Hydman considers herself to be very much a “freshman” in the political world, she said she shouldn’t be counted out; especially when sullenness and distrust of the State Legislature has increased greatly among constituents.
“I was a senior professional investigator for the state,” she said. “I can go into a school and know exactly what’s wrong and what needs to be done. I will take those skills with me if I’m elected. It’s also important to have a staff who is accountable, which I plan on looking for when I start hiring people. The people put their trust in you and to break that trust is irrevocable.”
Hyndman did not offer much criticism of the current administration, including of Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo.
In the past, Hyndman was very critical of the Bloomberg administration, especially as it pertains to collocations.
“One school should never suffer for another school,” she said.
Hyndman also criticized the lack of funding received by Southeast Queens. However now, while she said she does not agree with everything de Blasio or Cuomo do, Hyndman said things are looking up.
“You need to have a strong personality and I think [Cuomo] has that,” she said. “Sometimes Albany is a slow moving bus on Archer Avenue during rush hour. [With the de Blasio administration] there is a lot more dialogue than in the past. It’s a lot more accessible. You may not get the answer you want, but you get a response.”
With the support of electeds, Hyndman will get crucial attention from constituents, but that isn’t always a good thing. Members of the community said they fear a candidate with substantial backing will be forever in-debt to the politicians who assist in getting candidates elected.
“I would probably think the same thing if I were them,” Hyndman said. “At the end of the day, I have to look at myself in the mirror, I have to look at my kids, my family and my community and know I’m doing the right thing. If I feel a piece of legislation or anything will have a negative effect on any of them, I will not cosign it. It’s great to have support, but I also need to be independent.”
Though the election has yet to be announced by the governor, the special primary will coincide with the upcoming election for Queens district attorney in September, followed by a general election in November. The winning candidate must campaign again for the following year in accordance with the ending political term.