Avella Challenger Minching, Values Issues Over Rhetoric

Simon Minching is running against State Senator Tony Avella (D) with official endorsements from the Queens GOP and Conservative Party.
Simon Minching. Photo by Brandon Jordan.

Simon Minching, a 30-year-old Queens native, mulled a run for the State Senate last October amid what he considered a “contentious” political climate.

“From my perspective, we need folks that want to break and cut through that tension [and] are problem solvers,” he said. “The critical two things that I’m looking to tackle in the environment to become a problem solver is complacency and lack of civility.”

Sen. Tony Avella

Minching is one of two Republicans running in the district against State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose, Floral Park, Jamaica, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Kissena Park, Briarwood). The other person is Vickie Paladino, a Queens resident known for confronting Mayor Bill de Blasio last year.

The Douglaston resident is a former researcher for the United Nations Association, worked in the Chicago Public Schools system, and now works for the technology company known as Palantir Technologies.

He highlighted his position as a centrist candidate focusing on a positive message that attracts a variety of voters in the district. While the Queens County Republican County is yet to support an official candidate until later this month, Minching is planning on meetings with other organizations to talk about local issues in the 11th Senate District.

His campaign’s platform includes three main pillars─affordability for residents, providing adequate resources for schools, and ethics reform. In fact, Minching noted he would join the respective committees in the State Senate to deal with these issues if elected.

The short-term plan if elected is addressing growth and affordability in the district. His campaign refers to a 2016 Furman Center for Urban Policy report documenting a decline in the district’s homeownership rate and median income for households.

Meanwhile, Minching, a Benjamin S. Cardozo High School alum, views education as a long-term issue to build toward the future.

“We’re investing human capital for the future in order for people to get better jobs, graduate college and [become] career ready,” said Minching.

As he noted, implementing ethics reform in Albany would enable both affordability and education solutions because “if you don’t have public support” lawmakers could not pass their agenda.

City Council Member Paul Vallone

He emphasized that, if elected, he would work with City Council member Paul Vallone (D-Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Whitestone) should any concerns be raised by residents in both districts. He felt it would be best for constituents if both a City Councilmember and a State Senator worked together to address local issues.

“I would seek to have a collaborative relationship with Vallone, which I don’t think Senator Avella has,” he said.

If elected, Minching explained he would be open to working with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle based on his own views for change.

“I believe no party has a monopoly on good ideas. If you look at my platform, I’ve taken some ideas from the right and from the left,” he said. “I’m promoting the best policies I think will help people.”

Minching pledged to dedicate himself to the district as he held no aspirations for higher office. Moreover, he favors term limits for elected officials and pledged to fulfill three terms in the State Senate .

“Whatever happens in the primary, I support the Republican candidate. I would hope my competitor says the same thing. If I am so lucky to being Republican candidate post-primary heading into the general, I’m looking forward to having a very positive issue-orientated debate with Senator Avella.”