Former Queens State Senator Hiram Monserrate held a press conference Tuesday to officially kick off his bid to get his job back.
Monserrate outlined his record on crime and education, in anticipation .
Monserrate was ousted from office after he was convicted last year of misdemeanor assault for dragging his girlfriend through the hallway of his Queens apartment building. He was acquitted on more serious charges that he slashed her in the face with broken glass.
The former lawmaker is also being criticized for his campaign slogan, “Yes We Can,” and logo, which is similar to the one used by President Barack Obama’s campaign.
Monserrate says he’s registered under the party name "Yes We Can," and that the party’s officially-recognized logo differs from the logo used by Obama.
"This logo is similar to the slogan that they used, but slightly different, because the logo actually is a 'Q,' which stands for the great borough of Queens,” Monserrate said. “If folks had really analyzed it, they would have seen it."
Monserrate’s opponents in the special election next Tuesday include Assemblyman Jose Peralta, who has the backing of the Queens Democratic establishment and Republican Robert Beltrani.
Peralta said he will bring experience and stability to the job, and pointed out it that Monserrate participated in a State Senate coup last summer that brought state government to a halt.
"The ex-senator has really become the Bernie Madoff of politics. The ex-senator has really promised a lot and has done more harm than good," said Peralta.
Circulated fliers have attacked Peralta’s support of gay rights, but Monserrate, who voted against gay marriage last year, said he has no knowledge of them.
"People are out there doing their thing. You know, I can't speak to that,” said the former senator.
Monserrate has not given up his legal fight to have his expulsion overturned and to block Tuesday’s special election, and a hearing on that matter is scheduled for Friday.
NY1 Programming Note
Former Queens State Senator Hiram Monserrate will take part in a debate this Friday with fellow candidates Democratic Assemblyman Jose Peralta and Republican Robert Beltrani on NY1's "Inside City Hall" at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.