Dec. 7, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Queens Assembly Member David Weprin has announced that he is running for City Comptroller and vows to steer the city through the economic crisis without hurting everyday New Yorkers.
The northeast Queens lawmaker made the announcement Sunday and said the city’s budget would not be balanced on the backs of seniors, working and middle-class families under his watch.
Weprin said he would build more affordable housing, scrutinize the New York City Housing Authority, fix the MTA’s finances, and protect pensions if elected as the city’s top fiscal watchdog.
“We have not reached the end of the public health crisis created by COVID-19,” Weprin said in a statement. “When we do, the economic damage will be like nothing the City has ever seen before.”
Weprin touted his tenure as Chair of the City Council’s Finance Committee during both the post-9/11 recession and the 2008 recession as the cornerstone of his campaign. He has also served as the Deputy Superintendent of Banks and Secretary of the Banking Board for New York State.
“As the only candidate with the experience we need…, I will deliver meaningful results to protect New Yorkers,” Weprin said.
Weprin said he would fight to build more affordable housing by using the city’s $229 billion investment portfolio to partner with the private sector. He said that this would incentivize the construction of affordable housing that would otherwise be unprofitable to build.
He also pledged to help small businesses grow by eliminating stifling fees, fines and regulations; create a new task force to examine underserved New Yorkers access to capital; and implement climate change mitigation policies.
He affirmed that audits and investigations into NYCHA would continue in order to safeguard the health of residents and to ensure public funds are being spent properly.
Weprin said that he would help get the MTA’s finances in order while also fight for more public transportation. The agency has threatened to slash subway and bus service by 40 percent if it doesn’t receive a bailout from the federal government.
The MTA is a state agency but Weprin said that he would use his bully pulpit to put pressure on its management.
Weprin has represented Assembly District 24 since 2010 which covers Richmond Hill, Briarwood, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica Estates, Oakland Gardens and Glen Oaks.
He is the only candidate from Queens currently running in the race and has already picked up several endorsements from Queens elected officials. These include: Congressman Tom Suozzi; Queens Assembly Members Catherine Nolan, Jeffrion Aubry, Vivian Cook and Michael DenDekker; Assembly Member-Elect Jenifer Rajkumar; Council Members Peter Koo, Karen Koslowitz and Barry Grodenchik; as well as former New York State Attorney General Oliver Koppell.
Weprin has also received the backing of the New York State Court Officers Association.
He will face off against State Senators Brian Benjamin and Kevin Parker as well as Brad Lander, a Brooklyn council member.
Queens State Assemblymember David Weprin made it official that he will conduct another run for NYC Comptroller in 2021. This is no surprise to any observer of his political career. One of the worse kept secrets in NYC politics were his once again run for NYC Comptroller in 2021. Since 2001, David Weprin has run and lost races for NYC Council Speaker (2001 & 2005), Congress (2011) and NYC Comptroller (2009). He clearly may be growing tired of his three hour drive to Albany along with being paid only $115,000 per year plus his lulu from NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for chairing the Committee on Corrections. It has always been in his blood to seek higher public office. The only problem has been that he lost each time. His colleagues and voters have never found him qualified for a promotion to higher office.
Despite his claims of financial expertise, he was never considered a serious candidate by colleagues in the State Legislature to replace former State Comptroller Alan Hevisi in 2007.
NYC Comptroller John Liu and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli expressed no interest in hiring Weprin for financial knowledge as a Deputy Comptroller.
NYC Council members never promoted him to NYC Council Speaker in 2001 & 2005.
His prior experience as Deputy Superintendent of Banks under Governor Mario Cuomo, Secretary of the Banking Board for New York State and long career on Wall Street made no difference in his previous races. The same will be true when he promotes past time as chair of the Securities Industry Association, and as a member of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. Makeup of the 2021 Democratic Party primary voters will be different from 2009. There are far fewer Jewish, Italian, Irish and Catholic voters. Older voters continue to move out of NYC upon retirement or die of old age. Hispanic, African American, Asian and Gay voters now are the new majority replacing the old Jewish/Italian/Irish coalition of decades ago. The party has become far more liberal than even Weprin over time with the growing number of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez socialist style Democrats.
For several years, Weprin has been traveling outside his district to other neighborhoods in Queens and the other boroughs outside his Assembly District. This will include stops at various local and county Democratic Party clubhouses. All of this will be to build up a series of political IOU’s from other elected officials, civic associations, not for profit, unions and name recognition. He hopes that this time it will make a difference when he announces his campaign for NYC Comptroller in 2021. Don’t bet on it. In 2009, of the five Democratic Party County organizations, only Staten Island endorsed him. His own Queens County Democratic Pary organization endorsed then NYC Councilmember John Lui instead of Weprin. Will Queens County Democratic Party Chairperson Congressmember Gregory Meeks and his loyal political followers endorse Weprin this time around and deliver in the upcoming 2021 Democratic Primary for NYC Comptroller? If they couldn’t deliver a clear victory for Queens Boro President Melinda Katz in her race for Queens District Attorney, how will they be able to do the same in the 2021 Democratic Primary for NYC Comptroller?
In his recent State Assembly Democratic Primary race, despite holding public office for 19 years, he only garnered 46% of the vote. His two opponents combined won 54% of the vote. Lucky for him, they split the vote. There is no reason to believe that his luck will change in the Democratic Primary for NYC Comptroller 2021. .
David Weprin Political Historian since 2001