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Greek CommunityEventsGus Lambropoulos Announces NY State Senate Candidacy; Maria Markou for Astoria District...

Gus Lambropoulos Announces NY State Senate Candidacy; Maria Markou for Astoria District Leader

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By Fotis Kaliampakos – Special to the Hellenic News of America

Konstantinos (Gus) Lambropoulos announced his candidacy for the New York State Senate in the 59th district. His wife, Maria Markou, is also a candidate for District Leader in Astoria.

I am one of you!

Konstantinos (Gus) Lambropoulos, well-known for his professional career and philanthropic activities, made his candidacy announcement in a celebratory atmosphere at the Greek restaurant “Stamatis” in Astoria. The inaugural event, which also served as a press conference, initially had a pan-Hellenic or rather pan-Hellenic-American character, as Konstantinos Lambropoulos wanted to first convey the message of his candidacy to the members of the community from which he hails. The relatively young candidate, despite having a large family with four children and a successful professional career, spoke after his “highly American” entrance into the packed hall. He discussed his parents’ Greek heritage, his hard work in Astoria, where he grew up, and his own professional and social achievements, emphasizing, amidst the applause of the Greek-American audience, “I am one of you!”

A Highly Political Agenda

However, the fact that Gus Lambropoulos chose to give a strong Greek flavor to the inaugural event of his candidacy for obvious reasons should not give the impression that it is solely for the purpose of rallying Greek-Americans or that it is directed at a limited audience. From the very beginning of his speech, he made it clear that his candidacy has a strong political character and an extremely specific political agenda. He outlined his goals, which are undoubtedly related not only to his political positions but also to the specific characteristics of the electoral district and his opponent, who holds the same seat in the state Senate.

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59th District – Castle of the “Democrats” – Ideological Workshop

The 59th electoral district for which Gus Lambropoulos has announced his candidacy covers parts of three areas in New York: parts of southern Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. It has some distinctive characteristics. The first and foremost of these is that the area consistently elects the candidate of the Democratic Party with an overwhelming majority, leaving little room for hope for their opponents in the regular elections scheduled for the next November. This creates the “paradox” that the truly significant elections are not the general elections in November when all members of the Senate are elected but the Democratic primaries, scheduled for June 25, 2024. These primaries give the so-called “stamp” of the Democrats to the region, with the party’s chosen candidate simply waiting, barring a major unforeseen event, to be elected to the Senate.

Another particularly important characteristic of this specific electoral district, especially in the Brooklyn area, is the young audience, heavily represented by politically engaged students, as well as a high percentage of immigrants from various countries. Thus, this area becomes the center of, for some, extreme political processes within the Democratic Party and is perhaps one of the few areas in the United States where the words “socialism” and “socialist,” which generally carry a negative connotation in the United States, are quite popular among the circles of the party’s left-leaning factions. It is no coincidence that Brooklyn is the place where Bernie Sanders, a prominent figure in this trend, emerged and gained support at the federal level.

It appears that the young current Democratic Senator from the 59th district, Kristin Gonzalez, belongs to this trend.

Gus Lambropoulos: Extreme Ideas of Kristen Gonzalez Are Incompatible with American Values

In a direct confrontation with the specific positions of Kristen Gonzalez, Konstantinos Lambropoulos defined his political stance. He even quoted an excerpt from one of her speeches in which the young Gonzalez made a call for the values of “socialism.” Gus Lambropoulos emphasized that, in his opinion, these ideas are not only extreme but also contrary to the values of both American society and those of the Democratic Party to which he belongs. He pointed out that the immigrants who came to this country did so because they left countries where these very ideas dominated. According to Lambropoulos, these radical ideas of “extreme Marxism,” as he characterized them, have no connection with the Democratic Party and are not the solution to the exacerbated social problems caused by the pandemic, such as rising rents or the traditional issues of healthcare access in one of the most expensive areas on Earth, the necessary increase in workers’ wages, and environmental pollution. These problems can and should be addressed through the moderate approach of the “classic” ideology of the Democratic Party.

I am the child of immigrants!

Gus Lambropoulos also considers the positions of his opponent on immigration to be extreme. He emphasized, “I am the child of immigrants,” and, of course, he cannot be against immigration. After all, it is the successive generations of immigrants from various countries that have made this country excel and acquire its diversity and unique characteristics. However, uncontrolled illegal immigration in enormous numbers that causes a series of largely unsolvable problems cannot be allowed, characterizing his opponent’s positions on this issue as extreme. At this point, Lambropoulos’ criticism found acceptance even among sections of the audience that do not belong to the Democratic Party but expressed their support for the candidate, not only due to his Greek heritage but also because of his measured and moderate views on major issues.

I Love New York – Together We Will Win

In an atmosphere of emotion, sentiment, optimism, and enthusiasm, Konstantinos Lambropoulos concluded his speech to applause from the audience. He said, “I love New York, I love this region, I love this great city and its people. Together, we can improve things; let’s fight, let’s fight with your vote. Together, we ‘count,’ together we will win and make things better!”

“Leader” Maria Markou

Taking the floor, the enthusiastic wife of the candidate, Maria Markou, a well-known lawyer in the Greek community, praised her husband’s philanthropic activities in detail. She mentioned the assistance he has provided to the Greek community and revealed that Konstantinos Lambropoulos battled a serious illness twice and emerged victorious. She stated, “We need a person like him because he is a pure-hearted individual, always with a smile and always ready to help. He doesn’t need to enter politics for money. He works from morning till night!”

Maria Markou saved a surprise for the end of the evening, announcing that she will not only do everything and work tirelessly to ensure her husband’s election to the Senate but will also be a candidate for district leader in the 36th district of the Democratic Party in Astoria. She promised to “plow through” during the campaign. The simultaneous candidacy of two spouses is an unprecedented event for the Greek community.

The event garnered significant interest from Greek media outlets, and prominent Greek community figures were in attendance. Among them were educator Mrs. Stella Kokoli, Director of the Office of Public Diplomacy Mary Vaxevanidou, Nikolaos Thomopoulos, Director of the Office of Commercial and Economic Affairs of Greece in New York, and Fytos Stratigis, Director of the Pan-Cypriot Choir. Many of those present also took the floor to commend the character and ethics of the two candidates, wishing them good luck and offering their unwavering support.

Paul Kotrotsios: “May More Greek-Americans Follow Konstantinos’ Example!”

In his brief remarks at the event, Paul Kotrotsios, the publisher of Hellenic News of America, congratulated Konstantinos Lambropoulos for his initiative to engage in public service. He urged fellow Greek-Americans to support him and expressed hope that others would follow Konstantinos’ example. He envisioned the Greek diaspora strengthening its presence in American politics with a new generation of political leaders like Konstantinos Lambropoulos and Maria Markou. Perhaps this encapsulates the message of the event, as regardless of the outcome, which we all hope will be positive, it is important to see young Greek-Americans getting involved in politics and to witness the support and acceptance of such efforts by the community, regardless of the political affiliations of Greek-Americans, as evident from some of the speeches.

Hellenic News of America wishes Maria Markou and Konstantinos Lambropoulos every success!

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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