By Fotis Kaliampakos – Special to Hellenic News of America
Konstantinos (Gus) Lambropoulos has announced his candidacy for New York State Senate in the 59th District. His wife, Maria Markou, is also running for district chief in Astoria.
I’m one of you!
Konstantinos (Gus) Lambropoulos, known for his professional career and philanthropic activities, announced his candidacy in a festive atmosphere at the Greek restaurant “Stamatis” in Astoria. The inaugural event, which also served as a press conference, initially had a Panhellenic or rather Panhellenic-American character, because Konstantinos Lambropoulos first wanted to convey the message of his candidacy to members of the community from which he comes. The relatively young candidate, despite a large family with four children and a successful professional career, spoke after his “highly American” entrance into the packed room. He spoke of his parents’ Greek heritage, his hard work in Astoria, where he grew up, and his own professional and social achievements, emphasizing, to applause from 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 only in order to rally Greek-Americans or that It is aimed at a limited audience. . From the start of his speech, he made it clear that his candidacy had a strong political character and an extremely precise political agenda. He outlined his goals, which are undoubtedly linked not only to his political positions but also to the specific characteristics of the electoral district and of his opponent, who occupies the same seat in the State Senate.
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59th Arrondissement – Castle of the “Democrats” – Ideological Workshop
The 59th congressional district for which Gus Lambropoulos announced his candidacy covers part of three areas of New York: parts of lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. It has some distinctive features. The first and most important is that the region consistently elects the Democratic Party candidate with an overwhelming majority, leaving little hope for its opponents in the regular elections scheduled for 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 ” party. Democrats in the region, the candidate chosen by the party 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, strongly represented by politically engaged students, as well as a high percentage of immigrants from various countries. Thus, this area becomes for some the center of 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 have a negative connotation in everyday language, are used to express negative opinions. United States, are very popular among the circles of the left factions of the party. It is no coincidence that Brooklyn is where Bernie Sanders, a prominent figure in this trend, emerged and gained support at the federal level.
It seems that the current young Democratic senator from the 59th district, Kristin Gonzalez, belongs to this trend.
Gus Lambropoulos: Kristen Gonzalez’s extreme ideas are incompatible with American values
In a direct confrontation with the specific positions of Kristen Gonzalez, Konstantinos Lambropoulos defined his political position. He even cited an extract from one of his speeches in which the young Gonzalez called for the values of “socialism”. Gus Lambropoulos stressed that, according to him, these ideas are not only extreme but also contrary to the values of 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 ideas were predominant. According to Lambropoulos, these radical ideas of “extreme Marxism,” as he calls them, have no connection to the Democratic Party and are not the solution to the exacerbated social problems caused by the pandemic, such as rising rents or traditional problems. health. access to one of the most expensive regions on the planet, the necessary increase in workers’ wages and environmental pollution. These problems can and should be solved by the moderate approach of the “classic” ideology of the Democratic Party.
I am a child of immigrants!
Gus Lambropoulos also considers his opponent’s positions on immigration extreme. He emphasized: “I am a child of immigrants” and, of course, he cannot be against immigration. After all, it is successive generations of immigrants from different countries that have made this country excel and acquire its diversity and unique characteristics. However, uncontrolled and massive illegal immigration, which causes a series of largely insoluble problems, cannot be allowed, qualifying his opponent’s positions on this issue as extreme. At this point, Lambropoulos’ criticisms were accepted even by sections of the audience who did not belong to the Democratic Party, but who expressed support for the candidate, not only because of his Greek heritage, but also because of his measured and moderate opinions 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 the applause of the audience. He said: “I love New York, I love this region, I love this great city and its people. Together we can make things better; let’s fight, let’s fight with your vote. Together we “count”, together we will win and make things better!
“Chief” Maria Markou
Speaking, the candidate’s enthusiastic wife, Maria Markou, a well-known lawyer in the Greek community, praised her husband’s philanthropic activities in detail. She mentioned the help he provided to the Greek community and revealed that Konstantinos Lambropoulos twice battled serious illness and emerged victorious. She said: “We need a person like him because he is a person with a pure heart, always smiling and always ready to help. He doesn’t need to go into politics for money. He works from morning to evening!
Maria Markou reserved a surprise for the end of the evening by announcing that she will not only do everything and work tirelessly to ensure her husband’s election to the Senate, but that she will also be a candidate for the position of district head in the Democratic Party’s 36th District in Astoria. . She promised to “persevere” during the campaign. The simultaneous candidacy of two spouses constitutes an unprecedented event for the Greek community.
The event attracted considerable interest from the Greek media and prominent figures from the Greek community were in attendance. Among them were educator Ms. 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 people present also took the floor to praise the character and ethics of the two candidates, wishing them good luck and offering their unwavering support.
Paul Kotrotsios: “Let more Greek-Americans follow Konstantinos’ example!” »
In his brief speech at the event, Paul Kotrotsios, publisher of Hellenic News of America, praised Konstantinos Lambropoulos for his initiative to engage in public service. He urged his fellow Greek-Americans to support him and expressed hope that others will 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 sums up the message of the event, because regardless of the outcome, which we all hope is positive, it is important to see young Greek-Americans get involved in politics and witness the support and community acceptance of such efforts. regardless of the political affiliations of Greek-Americans, as some speeches show.
Hellenic News of America wishes Maria Markou and Konstantinos Lambropoulos every success!