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September 16, 2009: Vol. 1, No. 8
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Mark Weprin easily wins primary for brother’s Council seat

TimesLedger Newspapers

State Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Little Neck) handily beat his two challengers in Tuesday’s Democratic primary race to replace his brother, City Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis), according to unofficial results from the city Board of Elections.

Weprin garnered 50.96 percent of the vote in the primary for Council District 23, which covers Fresh Meadows, Queens Village, Little Neck, Hollis Hills, Douglaston, Bayside, Bellerose, Floral Park, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Park Gardens, and Holliswood.

Bob Friedrich, the longtime co-op president at Glen Oaks Village, received 27.31 percent of the vote, while Swaranjit Singh, a Bellerose resident and real estate agent, placed third with 21.3 percent. While Friedrich landed behind Weprin, the two will still face off in the November election because Friedrich is the only registered Republican in the race.

“It’s very gratifying,” Weprin said. “We worked very hard over a long bunch of months. It appears we got more than 50 percent of the vote, so we won be a clear majority.”

Weprin said he looks forward to joining forces with Singh in the months leading up to the November election.

“Both my opponents worked very hard,” Weprin said. “They ran very good, strong campaigns, and I’m looking forward to working with Mr. Singh to beat the Republican candidate.”

Weprin, who has served as a state assemblyman for the last 15 years, said he wanted to leave his seat in Albany because most of the issues he is especially passionate about — education, senior citizens and small businesses — can be best addressed at the city level.

On education, Weprin is known as a vocal opponent of standardized testing and believes schools focus too much on getting students to pass state exams instead of teaching.

Weprin has two children in public schools and his wife is a PTA president.

Friedrich has run a campaign that has advocated the need for a fresh voice from someone who is not a career politician. He could not be reached Tuesday night for comment on primary results.

Friedrich said he brings some outside-the-box ideas on city issues, including letting residents use electricity poles to power hybrid cars.

Singh, a Community Board 13 member, would have been the first Sikh American to be elected to the Council had he won. The candidate originally from India said the South Asian community helped to galvanize his campaign.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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