William “Billy” Carr is an electrician in Queens with IBEW Local 3, a CYO volleyball coach and a trustee on the Williston Park village board.
This November, he wants to add New York state assemblyman to that list.
“My first reaction was why me?” Carr said in a sit-down interview with Blank Slate Media, about being approached to run as a Democrat for the District 19 seat against four-term incumbent Republican Ed Ra. “People have been very supportive, and the campaigns have been run really clean.”
Around 128,000 Nassau residents live in the district, and he said it is not as red politically as it appears.
“Everybody is surprised,” Carr said. “Thirty-eight percent of voters are registered Republicans, 31 percent Democrat and 25 percent are blank.” The issue is not pure registration, but turnout, Carr said.
“Republicans turn out close to 90 percent of their votes, and Democrats turn out around 50 or 60 percent,” Carr said.
The polarizing election of President Donald Trump will be a driving force for both parties in the midterm elections, Carr said.
“I think there are going to be record numbers in midterm elections this year,” Carr said. “But it hasn’t even really come up while campaigning. No one has asked me who I voted for last election.”
“I’m not here selling my party, I’m selling myself,” Carr said.
Carr said that headed into the election, the big issues he is hearing about are property taxes and the opioid epidemic.
“It’s one of the most expensive places to live in the county,” Carr said. “I’d like to bring some of that money back to Long Island, and to the schools across the board.”
“One of the things I thought about was keeping the schools open,” Carr said about preventing children from falling victim to the opioid epidemic. Long Island has suffered significantly from the abuse of prescription and street painkiller drugs. In July, the Nassau County Police Department made 37 arrests in a four-day period in a crackdown on opioid drug use.
“The schools have all of the resources to keep them busy and supervised,” Carr said. “It’s not outlandish. I grew up with a recreation center in Freeport and at any time of year I had a place to go.”
On medical marijuana in New York State and the potential legalization of the substance for recreational use, Carr said he would vote to legalize it with proper safety procedures in place.
“To turn away that revenue, I can’t understand it,” Carr said. “Why be the last state to do it?”
Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment has citizens concerned about the status of the ruling in Roe v. Wade and women’s rights. In New York, the Reproductive Health Act has been approved by the Assembly, but has failed to move through the Senate. Carr said he would vote to support the measure.
“I support women’s right for choice,” he said. “It’s their body. I don’t think we have any right to tell them what to do with it.”
On corruption in New York government, which has seen the former majority leader of the senate, Dean Skelos, and the former speaker of the assembly, Sheldon Silver, convicted, Carr said he would impose terms limits.
“I don’t think anyone should serve forever,” Carr said. “You either get out of the game or run for a different office.”
Carr also expressed support for the Child Victims Act, the ‘Red Flag’ bill, which would create extreme risk protection orders that could take guns away from “extreme risk individuals,” and a bill that would ban the sale of bump stocks for weapons.
“I’m against any semi-automatic weapons,” Carr said. “You don’t need them to hunt.”
“I’m not looking to take away anyone’s rifles or shotguns. Hunters aren’t the problem,” Carr said.
“I’ve served my community for the last seven years as a village trustee,” Carr said. “I’ve served my community for the past 20 years in all sorts of capacities, and I just want to bring regular people to Albany.”