Ed Ra announces bid for re-election, renews call for more transparency in Albany

State Assemblyman Ed Ra expressed displeasure with Thursday's bill amending redistricting. (Photo Courtesy of Ed Ra)

When state Assemblyman Ed Ra ran for his first term in 2010, he wanted to be a voice for his generation, the Republican incumbent said in an interview.

Ra, 28 at the time, said the election during President Barack Obama’s first mid-term was a “strange political climate.” When Ra’s predecessor said he wasn’t running again, Ra seized the opportunity and “decided to give it a shot,” he said.

The Franklin Square native who now resides in Garden City South won the race – and three consecutive races to follow.

He’s currently seeking his fifth term to represent Assembly District 19, and faces Williston Park Trustee William Carr, a Democrat.

This is Carr’s first time running for state office.

One common thread between Ra’s terms is trying to bring more transparency to Albany, especially in terms of how the budget is constructed, he said.

“That infamous ‘three men in a room’ culture is something that we have to start to put behind us,” Ra said.

Ra said too often major policies are pushed through the budget under the governor’s orders, causing them not to get a full vote, he said.

“Same with budgetary items themselves,” Ra said. “We’ve adopted way too many budgets in middle of the the night when people haven’t had the opportunity to understand what the final product is.”

Ra said there needs to be a shift of the balance of power to the Legislature, to make the lawmakers “more of an equal partner in budgeting.”

Ra was appointed assistant minority leader pro tempore in December, giving him the third-highest leadership position in the state Assembly GOP.

He also sits on the the Codes, Education, Higher Education, Health, Transportation and Ways and Means committees.

Ra said he is proud of his work on education. In his second term, he was appointed ranking member of the Education Committee – during the “height of when Common Core was being implemented,” and facing backlash, Ra said.

Ra said during that time he traveled the state putting together forums and reports on the education system.

Ra said a lot of progress has been made, but there’s still work to do.

“I think we have a long way to go … the opt out movement is still a very strong force on Long Island and I think in large it’s representative of a lack of really faith in the system and that relationship has to be restored and it’s got to be done from the top,” Ra said. “They have to restore the parents’ faith in the system. Until they do that parents are going to be opting out.”

The district Ra serves stretches into all three Nassau County townships. It includes Franklin Square, Garden City South, Garden City Park, New Hyde Park, Westbury, Carle Place, Mineola, Williston Park, Old Westbury, Brookville, Old Brookville, Upper Brookville and Glen Head.

Ra has raised $52,075 for his re-election bid as of the July filing period, according to state records.

No filings are listed for his opponent.

Ra said there’s a lot “up in the air in this election.”

“I would hope that people believe that it’s important to have a representative that has the experience of fighting for what he believes is best for this community, and doing so regardless of whether it’s a Democrat priority or Republican priority,” Ra said. “But just doing what’s best for the community. That’s my guiding principal as an elected official.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Klar by email at [email protected], by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 204, or follow her on Twitter @rebeccaklar_.

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