PHOTO: Assemblyman Goldfeder cited his desire to spend more time with his family as the main reason he has decided not to seek a fourth term representing the 23rd District. Courtesy of the Goldfeders
By Michael V. Cusenza
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Howard Beach) caught constituents and contemporaries by surprise last week when he announced that he would not be seeking a fourth term in the Assembly.
The Rockaway native, who was elected in 2011, delivered the news in The Wave, citing his desire to spend more time with his young family: daughter Eliana, sons Asher and Gabriel, and wife Esther.
“This has been, by far, the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” Goldfeder told The Forum on Wednesday. “I’ve been thinking about this for a number of months. Once [Gabriel] was born, the time was just right.”
Goldfeder indicated that he will continue to represent the residents and businesses of Assembly District 23 until the current term ends on Dec. 31. While the next stop on his journey is in the private sector, Goldfeder promised that this decision does not mean he is walking away from politics and public service for good.
“I will stay involved with every issue I’ve worked on,” Goldfeder pledged. “You never know what the future holds.”
Looking back on his five years in office, Goldfeder said Superstorm Sandy had a tremendous impact on…everything.
“The time after Sandy really dictated our actions over the last few years,” he noted. “It really consumed our time. It was truly important work.”
That work included fighting for flood insurance reform, working with City agencies to speed up the rebuilding process, and protecting Sandy-ravaged communities from the problems associated with “zombie properties.”
“I believe the communities [of the 23rd District] are stronger today than they were five years ago,” Goldfeder added. “And I’m optimistic that my successor will keep up the good work.”
Reactions from colleagues and constituents poured into The Forum.
“Phil Goldfeder is a true public servant. He has set the bar high for anyone who follows,” said Joann Ariola, president of the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic. “As a civic president, it is a pleasure to work with Phil Goldfeder. He is accessible, engaged in community events and community issues. Phil isn’t afraid to tackle the hard issues, and does not play party politics. As a mother and grandmother, I appreciated Phil’s interest in our schools and our students. He was quick to acknowledge their achievements and challenge them to read more. The Civic wishes him the best of luck with his new endeavors.”
State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) said, “I have had the privilege of working closely with Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder for several years as our legislative districts overlap. I have seen firsthand how he is not only working towards creating a better future for New Yorkers, but also making communities like Howard Beach, Rockaway and other neighborhoods in his district a great place to live. I have enjoyed serving with Phil and working with an individual who truly had a hard work ethic. With a family of my own, I know the sacrifices Phil and his family have made while he was a public servant. I wish Phil well as he tackles his next endeavor. ”
And City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) noted that Goldfeder “has always been an avid fighter for the people of the Rockaways and his presence will be hard to replace. I’d like to wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”