Tucked away on the west side of the small town of Broad Channel in the middle of Jamiaca Bay is a narrow, dead end, street that goes by the name of West 12th Road. Those of us who live there know that the nice part about living in a small town is that when you are not quite sure what is going on, someone else always does!
[Peter J. Mahon West 12th Road, Broad Channel]
In an exclusive interview with The Wave, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder says he will not seek a fourth term as Assemblyman for the 23rd District, bringing a close to a remarkable five-year tenure as one of the state legislature’s brightest and most promising young stars.
“Serving the families of Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Broad Channel and Rockaway these last five years has been the greatest and most rewarding job of my entire life,” Goldfeder told The Wave. “My work as an elected official has always been guided by the desire to ensure a better future for my three young children and for all our families.”
Goldfeder, who says he intends to finish out his third term in the Assembly, attributed his decision to the desire to spend more time with his growing family and less at the state capital inAlbany.
That family sentiment came though clearly in a special op-ed Goldfeder submitted to The Wave on May 5, entitled “Gabriel’sRockaway.”
“My wife Esther and I recently welcomed our son, Gabriel - our third child - into the world. I want to thank everyone who reached out to us to offer their blessings, congratulations and well-wishes on this joyous occasion,” Goldfeder wrote. “The birth of our son makes me think about the Rockaway he will come to know - the place where he will grow, learn and, hopefully, have his own family someday. My wife and I are able to raise him and his big brother and sister in the same neighborhood where I grew up because of the opportunities that Rockaway provided for us.”
Goldfeder did not immediately share his plans for the future, but reaffirmed his commitment to serving out the remainder of his term with the same energy and ambition that secured his place as a rising star inNew York politics.
“There are still six months of service that I owe the community. I intend to continue my work on behalf of our families and fight for the issues that matter most,” said Goldfeder.
His career in public service began as a community liaison for the New York City Council in 2004. A year later, he was named Queens Director for the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit under Michael Bloomberg.
In 2009, Senator Charles E. Schumer hired him as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.
In May 2011, Audrey Pheffer announced that she would be stepping down after more than two decades as Assemblywoman. Goldfeder decided to run in a special election against Republican candidate Jane Deacy, a former NYPD officer from Breezy Point, and was elected with 53 percent of the votes cast.
Since assuming office in a 2011 special election, Goldfeder has been a driving force behind countless issues both large and small in southern Queens and Rockaway, earning him praise among his constituents.
“In all my years living in Breezy and part of the Rockaway community, I’ve never come across a better representative and advocate for constituents’ needs,” said Breezy Point resident Dorenda Bainbridge.
From fulfilling a campaign promise to institute a residency rebate program for the Cross Bay Bridge to his advocacy for the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line — more popularly known as the QueensRail – Goldfeder has consistently been issue-oriented.
“If only all the politicians could be as pragmatic as you how much better this country would be,” Barbara McNamara, vice president of the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic. “I wish you could give lectures on how to be a good public official.”
But many have told The Wave they believe it was Goldfeder taking a lead role in the community’s – his community — recovery from Superstorm Sandy in 2012 that defined his work as an elected official.
Forced out of his home like many of his constituents Goldfeder remained in the community, living out of the 101st Precinct as he helped coordinate recovery efforts in the storm’s immediate aftermath.
When constituents called or visited relief sites to report storm debris on their block, they say Goldfeder would be out on the street within the hour with shovel in hand.
If a street cracked and torn in the floodwater needed repaving, Goldfeder brought out the DOT commissioner to see the problem for themselves.
If the tide of rising flood insurance premiums threatened to price families out of the community, Goldfeder was at the U.S. Capitol drawing on his connections as a former aide to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer to urge action by federal officials and pitch his plan for a New York Flood Insurance Association as an alternative to the federal programs that failed so many after Sandy.
“[Goldfeder’s] support and continued efforts toward the betterment of our long ignored and storm battered community has not gone unnoticed and is greatly appreciated by many, including myself and my family,” said Maureen Ritter.
With his hands-on approach and boundless energy, Goldfeder brought a new level of accountability and approachability to the office. A reliable presence at community meetings, and even more responsive on social media, Goldfeder prided himself on answering every question and working to address every issue. For Goldfeder, this was always a matter of giving back to the community that meant so much to him.
“I’ve always said that I was born and raised in Rockaway, and my wife Esther and I are now raising our three young children here. This community has given so much to me and my family and I hope that in my public service, I was able to give something back,” concluded Goldfeder.