Army veteran first to announce for seat that could become vacant
David Menegon, president of the Lenox Hill Democratic Club, has announced his candidacy for the 76th District Assembly.
Technically, he is declaring his intention to run for the seat that would become available if Micah Kellner wins his bid for City Council.
According to political science expert and professor Joseph F. Zimmerman, if Kellner vacates his seat in November, Gov. Cuomo will call for a special election to fill the vacancy. The county committee of each party will select a nominee for a general election, meaning no primary will be held.
Menegon and Kellner are political allies – Lenox Hill has endorsed Kellner for City Council – but Menegon stopped short of saying whether he would withdraw his candidacy in next year’s election should Kellner fail to land the City Council seat.
“I’m a hundred per cent convinced that [Kellner] is going to be the city councilman,” said Menegon. “I would not have started this candidacy if I thought there was a chance [Kellner] would not win.”
Menegon, 50, is a long-time sales executive with Xerox. He also is a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves’ Civil Affairs Unit, which is typically tasked with rebuilding infrastructure in areas devastated by conflict or natural disasters.
“I have a very good perspective on long-term strategic planning for a community and what needs to be done on a state and national level, and I want to bring those skills now to represent the people in this community,” said Menegon, who holds the rank of colonel.
Menegon said he’s been a resident of the Upper East Side for 15 years and stressed that he’s staunchly opposed to the Marine Transfer Station at 91st Street proposed as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s waste management plan.
“I think the community has changed over the last 20 years,” said Menegon. “It’s very highly populated, it’s very dense, so the current plan, I don’t support it.”
Menegon said he thinks the current practice of trucking the waste to processing facilities in New Jersey is cheaper. “The transfer station has gone over budget considerably,” said Menegon. “I think we have to look at different options and locations that wouldn’t impact such a high density of people in that location.”
Moving the state to renewable energy sources is a priority for Menegon as well as supporting open space initiatives and improving air quality along the Second Avenue corridor, which has been choked by subway construction. He also said that Upper East Side businesses should receive support in the form of tax credits so they can survive the subway project.
As for the Cornell Tech project slated to begin on Roosevelt Island, Menegon said he thinks it will be “great for the city” but that transportation options to and from the island need to be expanded.
“There are limited options on Roosevelt Island and we have to really look into better planning on how people can get off that island, especially during rush hour,” said Menegon, who is a member of the transportation committee for Community Board 8. “Maybe a bus service into Manhattan, not just to Queens.”
If elected, Menegon said he would work with the MTA to provide more bus service to the island.
Menegon hasn’t done much yet by way of fundraising because he’s working to help Kellner win his bid for City Council, Menegon said. He’s also supporting Jessica Lappin in her quest for Manhattan borough president.
Menegon is the first candidate to declare his bid for the assembly, but is likely to face challengers in next year’s election.
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