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Six-year-old children are rarely political, but New York Assemblyman David Weprin was.
His earliest political memory is riding on a campaign sound truck in 1962 advocating for his father, Saul, who was running for a Democratic district leader position in Queens. Weprin, 55, remembers shouting in opposition to the Empire State’s Republican governor, Nelson Rockefeller.
“Don’t vote for Rockefeller, he’s got rocks in his head,” he recalls yelling. “This is as a 6-year-old, mind you.”
The man who is heavily favored to become the next Member of Congress from New York’s 9th district comes from a storied Queens political family and has remained immersed in politics since childhood.
His father won that 1962 election to be Democratic leader of the 24th Assembly district in Queens and later served in the New York State Assembly for more than two decades — including three years as Speaker — until his death in 1994. Weprin’s brother, Mark, was elected to their father’s Assembly seat, and Weprin won his father’s position as Democratic district leader.
Weprin, who is an attorney and has been a Wall Street investment banker for more than 20 years, served as deputy superintendent of banking under then-Gov. Mario Cuomo (D). He won the party election to fill his father’s position as district leader in 1994 and ran for a seat on the New York City Council in 2001. The key Democratic primary was scheduled for Sept. 11 that year.
“I was actually campaigning in front of Martin Van Buren High School [in Queens] when the planes hit and, of course, our initial reaction, as most people’s was, is that it was an accident,” Weprin said. “I was ... with Congressman Gary Ackerman [D-N.Y.], and we ended up going to the site where we actually watched the towers fall. It was a very emotional day.”
He won the primary and the general election and served on the council for eight years as finance chairman, until he chose to run for the citywide position of comptroller, instead of seeking another term. In the 2009 election, Weprin came in last in the four-way Democratic primary. His brother left his Assembly seat and won Weprin’s former City Council seat. In 2010, Weprin ran in and won a special election for the state Assembly seat that his brother had vacated, and he now represents Queens’ 24th Assembly district — the same one his father was first elected to in the early 1970s.
Last week local party leaders selected Weprin as the Democratic nominee in the Sept. 13 special election to replace former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D).