By Cara Becker
Off-year elections occur in odd-numbered years in which there is no presidential or midterm election. The general election took place on November 7th, 2017, the first Tuesday of the month. and positions up for election were County Executive, Comptroller, and Legislator.
The Nassau County Executive is the overseer of the county, ensuring that the county runs smoothly economically and socially. The candidates for the 2017 County Executive were Democrat Laura Curran, Republican Jack Martins, and Green Party Candidate Cassandra Lems. Curran, Legislator of the 5th district (most of Baldwin, all of South Hempstead, a major portion of Freeport, and parts of Rockville Centre, Merrick, and Oceanside), won the election by 48.53% of the vote.
Curran ran on the premise of bringing a fresh start to Nassau County through smart growth transportation , a method of designing more accessible land use patterns to conserve the environment and create more livable communities, relieving taxpayers, and finally putting an end to the corruption running rampant in the county government. Before running for this office, she worked as an adjunct professor of Journalism at SUNY Purchase and was a Trustee on the Baldwin Board of Education. She has three daughters in the Baldwin School District. According to her Facebook page, Curran, upon winning the election, said, “Nassau voted to end the culture of corruption and to give our County the fresh start it desperately deserves. I am truly humbled and honored for the great responsibility the people of Nassau County have trusted me with.”
Martins, one of the losing candidates, focused his campaign on restoring people’s faith in government, the heroin epidemic plaguing Nassau County, and fiscal troubles. Lems, the other losing candidate, argued that both Democrats and Republicans partake in political patronage: the practice of hiring based on who you know rather than who is most qualified for the position, condemning the more popular parties to gain support.
Great Neck is located in the 10th legislative district of the total of 19 legislative districts on Long Island. The 10th district is composed of Great Neck, Manhasset Hills, the Village of North Hills, parts of Albertson, Garden City Park, Herricks, Manhasset, North New Hyde Park and Searingtown. The candidates for County Legislator were Democrat Ellen Birnbaum, who currently serves the district, and Republican David Adhami, who, like Martins, sought to restore voter integrity and combat the drug epidemic. Birnbaum, who won the election by a vote of 7,467 to 3,975, is in her second term and has worked to educate the public about bullying, hurricane preparedness, and airplane noise abatement.
A comptroller is responsible for supervising the quality of accounting and financial reporting of an organization. The candidates for Nassau County Comptroller were Republican Steven Labriola, Democrat Jack Schnirman, and Green Party Candidate Laurence S “Seth” Hirsch. Schnirman, a native Long Islander and current Long Beach City Manager, won the election by a vote of 138,716 to 134,56. He ran on the platform of reforming the contracting system to ensure that contractors are following the rules and modernizing financial technology to improve efficiency. Labriola, a former State Assemblyman and Oyster Bay Town Clerk, planned to enhance accountability and strengthen transparency, double the number of annual audits, and gain taxpayers’ trust. Hirsh proposed equal funding for all public schools and complete elimination of “pay-to-play” corruption, in which pay is demanded in order to partake in politics.
Our district and county governments play a predominant role in our taxes, as seen in candidates’ platforms, which determines where money is spent. If we have awareness and vote accordingly, our county will be a better place. With the election results, we now must hope that the elected officials’ plans come to fruition.