Before being an assemblyman, Anthony D’Urso was a commissioner in New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and then a North Hempstead council member for 14 years. Plus, he completed over 40 international volunteer service trips.
Now, as he campaigns door to door in addition to working in his Assembly office every day, D’Urso, a Democrat, says he’s focusing on that record, and the record he’s developed in his latest position, to convince constituents to re-elect him.
“I’m a public servant and also a real human being,” he said in a sit-down interview with Blank Slate Media.
Should he beat his Republican opponent, Byron Divins, in the District 16 race, he said he will introduce a package of bills tackling political corruption.
He wants to reduce the impact of fundraising in campaigns in part by making them publicly funded.
“I want to create a level playing field for the incumbent and for the challenger,” D’Urso said. “For some reason very few people like the Legislature. Very few people give any credit. They all say they are crooks, but they keep voting in incumbents over 90 percent of the time. So you can’t have it both ways.”
His package would also address the LLC loophole, which classifies easy-to-form LLCs as individuals, allowing them to donate up to $60,600 to political candidates rather than the $5,000 corporations are limited to.
Though he does not want to fully disclose the package of bills he’s preparing, D’Urso said, “If all implemented, those bills would root out corruption.”
In the realm of education, D’Urso thinks that inequity in school funding needs to be addressed. Students in districts with less funding are often the most needy, he said.
“Many require free lunch,” he said. “Many of them have to have special ed, and if you send a student to a special education school which the school district itself cannot provide it’s very expensive.”
D’Urso thinks that the Foundation Aid Formula, which determines how the state disburses aid, needs to be tweaked to address inequity.
In an interview with Blank Slate Media, his opponent, Divins, said that he doesn’t think money determines a school’s ability to succeed.
D’Urso also thinks that testing processes should be managed by school districts rather than the state while the state maintains broader oversight.
When it comes to transportation, he thinks that better oversight within the MTA is the solution to reducing spending.
“Because the MTA’s a state authority appoint another inspector general just for the MTA,” he suggested
He’s proud of two particular ratings that he’s gotten during his first term: zero percent from the NRA and 100 percent on his environmental scorecard from Albany-based EPL – Environmental Advocates.
He’s involved in groundwater projects around the county, a water survey that will address western Nassau County and the need to address toxic plumes, he said.
He voted in favor of the Child Victims Act, which would expand the civil statute of limitations to 50 years old and creates a one-year window for filing civil lawsuits. He also voted for the the Reproductive Health Act, which Democrats say intends to codify federal abortion protections in the state.
And while Divins says a position in the Assembly should remain a part-time job, D’urso sees it as a full commitment. He’s in his office every day in the time between six or seven stops around the community.
“If you want to do the job well it’s a full-time job,” he said.