As this spring’s legislative session in Albany came to a close and elections approach, Nassau County Republicans on Tuesday assailed Democratic leadership in New York.
At a news conference at county Republican headquarters in Westbury, Republican Assembly members, legislators and candidates accused Democrats of taking a “hard left turn” since winning control of the state Senate last year.
“The No. 1 rule of good government is to put the interest of the people ahead of politics or any ideological agenda. In the recently concluded session in Albany, the Democrats have done the exact opposite,” Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello of New Hyde Park said.
The major targets for the Republicans’ criticism were cashless bail for many misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, congestion pricing in New York City and driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.
“One of the worst laws to come out of the 2019 session deals with state driver’s licenses,” the Nassau County Republican Committee said. “The New York State Democrats slapped law-abiding New Yorkers in the face, granting driver’s licenses to those in the country illegally, leaving many to ask, ‘where is the incentive to obey our laws?’”
The Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act, which allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, passed in the state Senate 33-29, one vote over the majority required for passage.
“Long Islanders have contacted our offices, demanded action on Facebook and generally reacted with disbelief and outrage to the extreme legislation passed by the newly minted Democrat State Senate,” Assemblyman Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square) said.
In response, state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) said in a statement: “Following the close of a historic legislative session in Albany that brought back record funding to Long Island Schools and included the passage of a permanent property tax cap, Nassau County Republican officials have resorted to a playbook of fear-mongering and dog whistle politics in a desperate grasp at relevance. Long Islanders deserve officials who deliver on a pro-suburban agenda, as this Senate Majority has, not cowards who fail to put forth any positive solutions for our region.”
In addition to Nicolello and Ra, speakers included Assemblyman Michael LiPetri (R-Massapequa), Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino and Hempstead Receiver of Taxes Donald X. Clavin, who is a candidate for town supervisor.
LiPetri, arguing that the Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy was over, said, “We will stand and fight for the Long Island middle class.”
Saladino, criticizing the “socialist” agenda of New York Democrats, contended that seats in SUNY schools that could have gone to children of Long Island residents will instead be taken by undocumented immigrants.
What is making families on Long Island split up or leave the island? Clavin asked. Taxes, he said. He warned that Democrats will raise taxes with fancy names.
Clavin went after Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen, whom he is challenging in November, saying, “Her first idea of good government was to seek a tax increase.”
In response, Gillen’s press secretary, Michael Fricchione, said, “It seems like the tax collector can’t get his numbers right. Taxes rose by $100 million under his running mate’s tenure while Supervisor Gillen is the only elected member of the Town Board to never raise taxes.”
In November, all 19 seats in the county Legislature are up for election.
In the Town of Hempstead, in addition to the supervisor election, three council seats, the town clerk position and the receiver of taxes position are up for election.
In the Town of North Hempstead, the supervisor position is up for election along with three council seats and the receiver of taxes office.
In Glen Cove, an election will be held for mayor along with a council seat.
Saladino is being opposed by Democrat James Altadonna Jr.