At the annual holiday party hosted by Vallone & Vallone law firm, Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. announced that he would be running for Queens borough president, ending months of rampant speculation and rumor (with more than little bit of it our own fault) that he would enter the race.
As we’ve written here before, it’s going to be a crowded race, with Vallone, State Senator Tony Avella, State Senator Jose Peralta, Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, Councilman Leroy Comrie, and probably a couple of other people were forgetting – oh yeah! Melinda Katz - all vying for the post.
Vallone admitted that it was going to be tough running against so many well-established Queens political figures.
“I have a lot of friends in this race, but I think I understand the backbone of Queens, and that is small business,” he said. “I’m the only one who has experience running a small business,” referring to his family’s law firm.
Vallone said that his decision to run for borough president was based in part on the fact that he often finds himself being a lone voice advocating for Queens. As examples, Vallone mentioned his lonely opposition to renaming the Queensborough Bridge after Ed Koch and his fight to keep the Triumph of Civic Virtue statue on Queens Boulevard, as well as calling for more cops on the street.
Being borough president is kind of like being Tim Tebow on the Jets: nobody really knows what the heck your job is supposed to be. Are you a quarterback or a running back? Are you an elected official or a powerless figurehead?
So Vallone says that he would get creative with the office, and also take his cue from what current borough presidents do well and combine them.
For instance, he said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is an ace when it comes to public policy, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz is a constant presence at City Hall advocating for his borough, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is the biggest cheerleader Brooklyn has ever had, and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall works well behind the scenes with her colleagues in government.
“The position is really what you make it,” he said.