Oct. 13, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
The Queens/Astoria Post last week sat down for a video interview with Kelly Klingman who is looking to score a major political upset in November by ousting progressive Council Member Tiffany Cabán from her District 22 seat.
Klingman is an Astoria resident who works in real estate and is a single mother to 10-year-old twins. She says she is running for office because she is concerned about a number of issues impacting residents in her neighborhood, including rising crime, dirty streets and the spiraling costs of living.
Running as a Republican, Klingman says she is hoping she can sway enough voters in her own party, as well as moderate and left-leaning Democrats, to help catapult her into office.
The 22nd Council district covers Astoria as well as sections of East Elmhurst, Woodside and Jackson Heights. The election is scheduled for Nov. 7, with early voting beginning on Oct. 28.
In this interview, Klingman outlines her policy positions on crime, housing affordability, sanitation, the cost of living and the migrant crisis.
She says more police officers are needed to help curb crime while morale around the NYPD needs to be improved.
“We all need to come together and solve some of these problems and tone down the rhetoric and that’s my main goal,” Klingman said. “To go into City Hall and work across the aisle and come up with solutions to fix the problems that we have.”
Klingman says she empathizes with the plight of the migrants who have come here and says many of them traveled here under false pretenses. She said she has spoken to migrants staying at a church on 12th Street.
“With the migrant crisis, it’s a tragedy all around,” Klingman said. “They’re very nice people and they are put in the worst situation ever because they thought they could come here and get jobs. “They’re going around now collecting bottles in order to make some money because they can’t get jobs.”
The mayor has repeatedly said the cost to house and feed the migrants will cost the taxpayer $12 billion and Klingman has questioned if this money is being spent wisely, with some hotels being known to charge the city full rates.
“Are we negotiating any of these deals? I think that financially we need to look at everything that’s been done, what’s being negotiated.”
On housing, Klingman believes small landlords need tax incentives to help fix up rent-stabilized apartments that are not on the market. She noted water and sewer rates have also gone up.
Klingman says that Local Law 97 – a controversial climate change bill that will inflict fines and high costs to thousands of co-op and condo owners — needs to be scrapped entirely.
“I would want to roll it back completely,” Klingman said. “I understand that we need to lower our carbon footprint, but we have to always mitigate what that cost is, especially the cost to the middle class. And when we have an apartment affordability crisis, making rent-stabilized apartments, co-ops, all of that more expensive… it’s going to be more expensive to offer a rent that’s reasonable.”
Klingman says she has requested several times for Cabán to debate her but says the lawmaker has not responded to her.
The Queens/Astoria Post has requested Cabán to sit down for a similar-styled interview.