Stavisky has served the 16th Senate District for over 20 years, but this re-election bid comes with an added wrinkle: the 16th District was redrawn based on data from the 2010 Census, and now the district is majority Asian.
There were rumors there could be a heated incumbent Democratic Primary between State Senator Tony Avella and Stavisky in the neighboring 11th District, but that became irrelevant with Stavisky’s announcement to run in 16th, which is approximately 53 percent Asian.
On Friday, Stavisky made it known – both by her words and the people who came out to support her – that she was more than qualified to represent this new demographic.
“All the Asian people here are backing Toby Stavisky, and in my eyes she is Asian, too,” said Peter Tu, president of the Flushing Chinese Business Association.
“Toby is someone who has been a friend and a colleague,” said Flushing Assemblywoman Grace Meng, who is mounting a campaign of her own for New York’s new 6th Congressional District. “She’s not about the photo op or the picture, she about getting to the heart of the issue.”
Also at Stavisky’s announcement were Flushing Councilman Peter Koo, as well as former Flushing councilman and current City Comptroller John Liu. Liu cited Stavisky’s years of experience in government and familiarity with northeast Queens as top assets.
“She is uniquely qualified in that she understands state government and the needs of this community,” said Liu.
Speaker after speaker reiterated that during her time in office, Stavisky worked for all the people of her district.
“Queens Democrats all over the county are supporting Toby Stavisky,” said Mike Reich, representing the Queens County Democratic Party. “She has led the fight to protect each and every person in your community.”
When it was her turn to finally speak, Stavisky cited passing the DREAM Act, which among other initiatives, would allow undocumented students apply for tuition assistance, as one of her top priorities.
“We have accomplished a lot, but there is still unfinished business at hand,” she said. “I am proud of my record working with everyone in this culturally diverse county.”