Oct. 21, 2010 By Christian Murray
Last week when Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D) and John K. Wilson (R) faced off at the United 40s Civic Association’s debate in Woodside, many attendees anticipated a heated discussion as the two candidates vie for the District 37 Assembly seat.
Instead it was a very civil affair, where Wilson provided the audience with an account of his background and why he is a Republican. “Stop the [government] spending and reduce taxes,” was his mantra, and “allow individuals to hire people once again.”
Meanwhile, Nolan discussed her deep roots in the community and her legislative accomplishments. She talked about how she had fought for the prevailing wage as the chairwoman of the labor committee; and how she was able to push for the concrete to be fixed on the No. 7 train, while chairwoman of the mass transit committee.
These two candidates seek the assembly seat that covers most of Sunnyside. While Congressman Joe Crowley, who represents a portion of Sunnyside, spoke at the event, his rival Kenneth Reynolds (R) was unable to attend.
Wilson, who hails from Memphis, Tenn., told the audience that he is an actor who has been on Broadway three times and has even been in a soap opera. “I’ve played small parts in big films and big parts in small firms,” he said. And, like most actors, he tends bar while auditioning for parts.
“I’m not a politician,” Wilson said. “I’m just passionate about the neighborhood and that is why I’ve decided to run.” Wilson has lived in Sunnyside for the past 7 years with his wife.
“I was a lifetime Democrat, but I noticed things I didn’t like,” Wilson said. “The party is aligning itself with the Working Families Party and is moving far too much to the left.”
“Limited government is what promotes liberty, self reliance, personal responsibility and entrepreneurship,” he said. “It allows businesses to grow–when they are taxed less.”
Nolan, meanwhile, has lived in Western Queens for most of her life, and is married with a seventh grader. She said she wants to continue to serve in the assembly and thanked her constituents for supporting her over the years.
Nolan was proud of her time helping workers as a member of the labor committee and being instrumental in prodding the government to repair the concrete on the No. 7 line.
However, she discussed how she has formed a formidable partnership with councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Assemblyman Mike Gianaris (favorite for a NYS Senate seat) and the local congressmen.
She said the partnership bore fruit earlier this month when the group was able to close a proposed adult club [Sin City] in Long Island City. Furthermore, when Gianaris wanted to pass a bill requiring schools to notify parents if bed bugs are discovered on the premises — she was able to help get the bill passed as chair of the education committee.
“It’s about collaboration and listening,” Nolan said. “That creates real life solutions for people.”