Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan (D-Woodbury) said Monday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 3rd District, offering himself as a pragmatic choice who can keep the seat in the party’s hands.
If elected, Lafazan, 27, would become the youngest member of the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives.
The incumbent, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who was elected in 2016, is leaving his seat to run for governor.
New York’s 3rd Congressional District includes parts of the North Shore of Queens, Nassau and Suffolk County.
Lafazan said he will focus on issues like health care costs, fixing infrastructure and curtailing gun violence, among other things, according to a Twitter post.
“I’m running for Congress because in these unprecedented times we need leaders in Washington that are battle-tested and ready to sit down and get to work to solve our toughest challenges,” he said in an announcement video.
At 23 years of age, Lafazan became Nassau County’s youngest-ever legislator upon his election to the Nassau County Legislature in November 2017.
In previous elections, Lafazan ran as an independent who caucused with the Democrats. He has since re-enrolled as a Democrat for his congressional run.
Lafazan called himself a pragmatic Democrat who can keep the 3rd District Democratic. In November, Lafazan won re-election in a district that was won by Donald Trump in 2020.
“These are not poll-tested platitudes but priorities that come from the thousands of conversations I’ve had with residents across this district over the past decade,” Lafazan said about his platform. “But none of them can be reality if we don’t keep this seat in Democratic hands. And I’m the pragmatic Democrat who can do that.”
He said his accomplishments while serving his district include passing laws regarding mental health and substance abuse, expanding protections for the disabled and building homes for homeless veterans.
Before his political responsibilities, Lafazan was elected to the Syosset school board at 18 years old. He was elected with 82% of the vote one month before he graduated from Syosset High School and was re-elected in 2015.
Also running for the Democratic nomination in the district is health care advocate Melanie D’Arrigo of Port Washington. In 2020, D’Arrigo lost a Democratic congressional primary bid to Suozzi. According to multiple reports, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, Jon Kaiman, Suffolk County deputy executive, and Democratic National Committee member Robert Zimmerman are considering a run as well.
George Santos, an economist, is running for the Republian nomination.