George Santos, a Republican running in the 3rd Congressional District, said he believes that education is a springboard out of poverty and he wants to empower families by allowing students to leave failing school districts and attend better schools in other districts.
“My parents are both first-generation immigrants in this country,” he said. “Without education, I wouldn’t have the privilege of running for United States Congress.”
One of the initiatives Santos supports is school choice, which can increase the options for students to attend different school districts instead of being confined to the districts their parents or guardians bought a home in.
“It essentially takes kids that are willing to learn out of failing school districts and put them in better school districts, providing them with free transportation, whether it’s a school bus, or in New York City, with a Metro card or whatever equivalent,” he said. “I’m a strong believer of allowing the parents to make the choice of schooling and not school zoning, per se, being the only mechanism.”
Additional moves Santos would make if elected are sponsoring legislation to secure infrastructure dollars in relation to education, accelerate the school voucher program and increase accessibility to specialized schools.
“We need to invest more in trade school; not everyone is cut out for college,” Santos said. “It’s not fair to make college the hill everyone has to die on when you can provide yourself with a very nice quality of life through trade school.”
Santos is running for the seat currently held by Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who is leaving his post to run for governor. The Queens native is seeking to represent the district previously held by Republican Peter King for two decades from 1993 to 2013.
Santos said he believes that the November elections were possibly a sign of things to come.
“That’s just very telling of what the Democrats have been doing for the last couple of years in Albany, D.C., and quite frankly, with this president in his first year,” Santos said.
Santos said his experience in the private sector, where he works as an economist with 13 years of financial experience, is something that constituents want to see when evaluating candidates.
“Experience in politics has exposed one very important thing, which is that politicians are arguably the most self-serving breed of humans alive,” Santos said. “I don’t care if you’re a Republican or Democrat if you’re going into Congress with very little to add, but you’re becoming very wealthy in your time there, you’re part of the problem.”
If elected, Santos said he will be fiscally conservative and focus on issues that will benefit not only his constituents but the American people. Santos cited a need to advocate for an update to the electrical grid and said he wants federal funding in the area to better reflect the taxes that Long Islanders pay.
In addition, the candidate said that his salary for the first two years, which would be $174,000 yearly, would be donated to the Northport VA Medical Center and North Shore Animal League America.
“I think people are tired of the run-of-the-mill politicians running for office,” Santos said. “And they want to see people who have actually made an impact in the world.”
Santos is running for the Republican nomination against Kevin Surdi.
Democrats who are running for their party’s nomination in the 3rd Congressional District include Great Neck’s Robert Zimmerman, Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan, Oyster Bay’s Reema Rasool, former North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, New York state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi and Melanie D’Arrigo of Port Washington.
After a redistricting vote by the state Legislature last Wednesday, the 3rd Congressional District includes parts of Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, the Bronx and Westchester.