Republican Angel Cepeda of Plainview said his first campaign for Nassau County Legislature in District 16 and his then-opponent, Judy Jacobs, helped push him into a second run after he lost in 2015.
“It was a great experience two years ago, particularly running against Judy Jacobs because she was such a lady, and she was a great example of how people should conduct themselves as public officials, as representatives of their community,” Cepeda said in an interview with Blank Slate Media.
District 16 covers parts of Roslyn Heights, Old Westbury, Jericho, Syosset, Plainview, Old Bethpage, Woodbury and Hicksville. Cepeda is challenging incumbent Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview), who was elected last November in a special election after Jacobs’ death.
Cepeda said his campaign revolves around three main points: the property tax assessment system, ethics reform through term limits and addressing Long Island’s heroin epidemic.
Cepeda, a two-term Plainview-Old Bethpage school board trustee, said he originally ran for that position to help rein in school spending because “the budgets were spiraling out of control.”
“Not only did we bring in historically low budgets, I went up to Albany and I advocated for the property tax cap and worked with both the Democratic legislature, the Republican Senate and a Democratic governor and helped pass the cap for the state,” Cepeda said. “We needed to control the spending.”
Cepeda, a champion of term limits, said he left the board after two three-year terms, which was his plan when he ran.
“To me, a six-to-eight-year window is sufficient to set your goals of what you’d like to accomplish as a public official and be able to do something about it,” Cepeda said.
Cepeda said Nassau County has been using the wrong model for the property tax assessment system.
“I think that we’re better served by doing it at the town level, having that local expertise,” Cepeda said. “Nassau County has done a terrible job of making that assessment, and I believe the way it’s structured now, putting Nassau County on the hook for the refunds, puts an undue burden on the budget.”
Cepeda has served on the county’s heroin task force for six years and said the epidemic requires a comprehensive approach including training law enforcement to handle overdoses and help people recover.
“We should have a mandatory detention of people that overdose because too many of them are saved and then they want to get back on the merry-go-round,” Cepeda said. “A mandatory 72-hour hold could make an impact because you could treat them and hopefully get them into some sort of recovery programs.”