New Assemblyman Looks to Improve Transportation

New Assemblyman Looks to Improve Transportation

Phil Goldfeder knew from the start that he would have big shoes to fill representing the 23rd Assembly District.

After all, it’s not often that one has to take the reins of a district—representing five communities and more than 170,000 residents—from a local civic legend who held the seat for two decades.

And yet, that is what Goldfeder, 30, says he inherited when he beat out Republican challenger Jane Deacy for the right to represent the district in a special election held in September. The seat was vacated by Audrey Pheffer, who left to become the Queens County Clerk.

“To this day, I still think of Audrey as my assemblywoman,” Goldfeder said in an interview with The Forum days prior to his inauguration this past Sunday. “She left a large legacy behind, and I’ve got big shoes to fill, but I’m going to do my best to make sure that I fight for what is in the interests of the people in the 23rd District.”

But while he does not make his first official trip to Albany until January, Goldfeder insisted that his goal will be to hit the ground running immediately, targeting transportation issues around his coverage area and producing more local jobs as one of his top priorities.

“We can’t expect to create jobs if we can’t provide transportation for people trying to get to work,” Goldfeder said on the transportation issue, adding that more public transit options have to be available for the residents of his district.

“We have to hold the MTA accountable on transportation,” he added.

One of Goldfeder’s goals on this issue is the abolishment of the Cross Bay Bridge toll, which he has previously said is a hindrance to local businesses. In addition, Goldfeder said he will be demanding that the Metropolitan Transit Authority supply more express buses for local routes.

Goldfeder also is looking at initiatives designed towards giving the local economy a much-needed shot in the arm.

A big part of that, he said, would depend on the success of the recently opened Resorts World casino in Ozone Park, which Goldfeder cited as having created approximately 1,700 lo- cal jobs so far.

Aside from those issues, Goldfeder said that he will focus on several other goals, such as providing access to affordable health care for residents of his district. However, he added, he is not championing one specific goal.

“My passion is the community,” he said. “I grew up in the district; these are my roots, and my goal is to make the community strong.”

Goldfeder’s career in public service began as a community liaison for the New York City Council. He also worked in the mayor’s office as the representative to Queens, and for State Senator Charles E. Schumer prior to his election.

Despite the long commute between Albany and his home community of Far Rockaway, Goldfeder remained very confident that he could still be in contact with the needs of his constituents.

On the subject of how he would balance the demands of his office and travel obligations with his other duties of being a husband to his wife, Esther, and father of two children, Eliana, 3, and Asher, 2, Goldfeder said he was lucky to have the support of his family while he pursues his goals.

“It’s tricky to find a balance, but my wife has been very supportive of my decisions and my career, and I feel very blessed to know that she understands that public service and helping people is what makes me happy,” he said.

By Jean-Paul Salamanca




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