Republican Assemblyman Edward Ra and Williston Park Trustee William Carr, his Democratic opponent in the upcoming race for District 19, responded to questions that ranged from their stances on the statewide legalization of marijuana and gun control to infrastructure for bicycles and pedestrians.
At last Thursday’s Lakeville Estates Civic Association meeting, candidates alternated answering questions submitted by the members of the association in a “town hall debate” style.
Members were concerned about the effects of marijuana on drivers.
As a person who drives for a living, said Bill Cutrone, president of the association, “the worst person I want on the road next to me is a drunk or somebody who is now going to be legally allowed to be smoking.”
Ra said he is opposed to the legalization of marijuana.
“Until it is legalized by the federal government, it is still an illegal substance,” he said.
Carr said he is unsure of how to regulate and tax the sale and recreational use of marijuana, “I would need a lot more answers to make a decision.”
When asked about his position on gun control, Carr said he is for a ban on assault rifles.
Hunters are not the problem and one does not hunt with an assault rifle, said Carr, “there is no need other than our military and our police force to have assault rifles.”
Carr brought up the “Red Flag” bill that was passed by the state Assembly in June. This would have allowed teachers to notify the courts of a student that may be mentally unfit to be in the same household as a gun.
Ra said he voted in favor of both versions of the “Red Flag” bill in the Assembly along with a bill that banned bump stocks in the state.
On the topic of pedestrian and bicycle safety, Ra said that it is not just a safety issue but an economic issue.
“In our downtowns, if people feel it is safe to go from place to place, they are going to be more likely to park their car and go to a couple of different local stores,” he said.
“I think it requires putting in the infrastructure, but part of it is changing driver behavior,” said Ra, citing former initiatives such as flashing speed indicators, proper timing of traffic lights, and red light cameras which have proven to create more cognizant drivers.
Carr discussed the issues of the standard 35 mph village speed limit which “doesn’t seem that bad going down Hillside Avenue, but is very fast when driving down the block.”
“We have got to lower the speed limit,” said Carr.
Both candidates are unopposed in their respective parties and will be on the ballot for the Nov. 6 general election.
Another invited guest, Nassau County Executive Curran, also touched upon infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists.
As mandated by county Legislature “whenever we do a renovation of a county road, we have to take into account all users,” she said, this includes not just drivers, but bus riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
A number of such “complete streets” projects have already begun in Baldwin and East Atlantic Beach. Renovations in Hicksville are expected to begin soon.