While Veronica Lurvey has a seat on the North Hempstead Town Board, she is in the midst of her first election campaign.
Lurvey, a Democrat, was appointed to the board in January to fill the vacant seat that state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) previously held.
“The campaign is going really well, and I’m enjoying the part of it that I didn’t think I would, which is the canvassing,” Lurvey said in a sitdown interview with Blank Slate Media. “I’ve been getting good feedback, and also constructive ways to improve the town.”
Lurvey, a Great Neck resident, represents the town’s 4th District, which covers Kings Point, Great Neck, Great Neck Gardens, Kensington, Thomaston, Manhasset, North Hills, Roslyn Estates and Roslyn. She is running against David Yaudoon Chiang, a Republican, of Manhasset.
Before being appointed to the town council, Lurvey worked at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP from 1994 to 2012, working her way from legal assistant to counsel.
Aside from her work negotiating multimillion-dollar transactions between companies, Lurvey was also engaged in civic affairs in Great Neck.
She was the co-founder and co-president of North Shore Action, which advocates on pressing community issues such as gun violence, the opioid crisis, mental health issues, and the protection and conservation of the environment.
From speaking to residents, Lurvey said that taxes, downtown revitalization and the environment are some of the prominent issues in the district.
“People are concerned about the quality of water,” she said. “What goes into the water, what’s being done to protect the water, how the aquifer is doing are all questions I receive regularly.”
Lurvey described her involvement with the community to improve the environment, from cleanups at Whitney Park to the opening of new trails at Hempstead Harbor Woods.
As far as taxes are concerned, Lurvey said she explains to residents the tax breakdown and where that money is allocated.
“If I had the pie chart that’s at the beginning of the budget packet, I would bring that with me,” she said. “I try to explain to people what slim percentages that actually go to the town. I’ll launch into discussing how, under Supervisor [Judi] Bosworth, fiscally frugal we are, how we stay under the tax cap and mention the Aaa bond rating the town currently has.”
Lurvey spent much of the interview discussing downtown revitalization and the role that the town can play.
“When I was working as a member in North Shore Action, we saw that there was this patchwork quilt of villages,” she said. “Now that I’m on the government side, I know that there are limits in the legal authority. But I think when Supervisor Bosworth started having meetings with mayors on the cultural master plan, it breathed some life into organizations like the Great Neck Village Officials Association.”
Lurvey said that cultivating leadership and bringing local villages “around the table” and being the facilitator of ideas is something she looks forward to being a part of if elected.
She also mentioned that she would be in favor of discussing potential changes when it comes to rezoning for mixed-use and commercial properties, especially for millennials.
“I believe we need to provide for residential for Nassau County in general,” she said. “Where do you put it? What impact will it have on the already clustered traffic patterns? These are the necessary questions to ask when discussing this before a decision.”
In response to a question on what can be done to combat online shopping trends, Lurvey said: “It seems foolish to think we can stop this trend of the online consumer. I think the village, with supervision from the town, should be looking to make this a destination for the residents, and include some establishments that provide certain incentives for residents.”
While the plan for a mixed-use development on the Macy’s property in Manhasset has not been submitted yet, Lurvey is one of many who have raised questions about it.
“I think we all need more information before deciding on if this building makes sense for the town or not,” she explained. “Things such as a tax base impact study, an infrastructure impact, thorough traffic studies, are all aspects I, and others, I’m sure would want to see first.”
In trying to retain millennials on Long Island, Lurvey said that housing and making downtowns vibrant are the key focuses.
Lurvey said that she agreed with keeping a medical marijuana dispensary in Lake Success and also agreed with the ban on the sale of recreational marijuana.
“Being at community events and hearing the public’s response to the potential sale of marijuana, you realize you are here to serve a community and their strong beliefs,” she said. “Personally, it seemed risky to me, and I didn’t think we wanted to be the town on Long Island that was the guinea pig.”
Lurvey reflected on her tenure over the past eight months serving the town and said that the experience she has makes her the ideal candidate.
“My track record can speak for itself, but personally, I love what I’m doing,” she said. “I feel like I’m hitting my stride, working with many diverse community groups, hearing what town residents have to say, and I have a strong desire to improve everyone’s quality of life in the town.”