ASTORIA — Peter Vallone will run for Queens Borough President in 2013, the city councilman announced Tuesday.
Vallone, who will be term-limited from his City Council seat at the end of next year, officially launched his candidacy at his family's holiday party in Astoria Tuesday night.
"I've been fighting for Queens my entire life. I've been leading the fight," said Vallone, who was introduced to the crowd by his father, former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr.
The younger Vallone, who was first elected to his Astoria City Council seat in 2002, pointed to his time in office tackling local issues like graffiti and fighting cuts to the police department's budget as head of the City Council's Public Safety Committee.
He painted himself as a leader, referencing his role as one of the few critics who fought the re-naming of the Queensborough Bridge after former Mayor Ed Koch.
"I understand what Queens is about," Vallone told the crowd of friends, family and political colleagues who'd gathered at Astoria's Don Coqui restaurant Tuesday night. "I'm a product of Queens, I'm going to spend the rest of my life in Queens, and I'd like to work with all of you to continue to make Queens better and better."
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall's term will end next year. Vallone said he'd been considering a run for "a long time now," and acknowledged the fact that he's entering an already crowded race for the seat.
"Is there anybody who’s not running for borough president yet?" he quipped to the crowd. "I know there’s a lot of people running already, a lot of good people."
Among his competition is former Council and Assemblywoman Melinda Katz, State Sen. Jose Peralta, former Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, and State Sen. Tony Avella. City Councilman Leroy Comrie is also considered a likely contender for the spot.
On Tuesday, former Mayor Ed Koch offered an endorsement for Katz, whom he referred to in a statement as "the one candidate in the race that raises the level of conversation about balancing
economic development with the community in Queens."
Vallone, however, called himself the "only candidate with any business experience," referring to his family's long-operating Queens law firm, and said he would fight for the interests of the neighborhood's small business owners.
"I know what it's like when big government tramples on small businesses," Vallone said. "No other candidate running knows what that’s like."
City records show Vallone has over $1 million in his campaign coffers already.