Christine Pusateri, a speech pathologist and aspiring Town of North Hempstead councilwoman, said she aims to serve the community at large while expanding services for people with disabilities.
Pusateri, a Williston Park resident, has spent three decades advocating for the town’s most vulnerable residents, including her son. Speaking with elected officials, collecting information and seeing what people’s needs are is one of the reasons she felt inclined to run.
A representative from the Democratic committee reached out to Pusateri and approached her to run. After discussing the decision with her husband, she decided to throw her hat in the ring.
“Having a child with disabilities, you have to be a team,” Pusateri said in an interview with Blank Slate Media. “I went to my husband with this and told him this is something we have to do together. This isn’t just one of my things.”
Pusateri said one goal is increasing the participation in some of the town’s respite programs, which provide services to the special needs population. She lauded some of the programs in the town, but stressed the importance of promoting and potentially expanding programs to disabled people.
“One of the best ways to look at what we can do is to send out a questionnaire and send it out to all of the people so we can discuss what the concerns are and collect data on how to best support this community,” Pusateri said. “The function of all these programs are meant to keep people in our town.”
As a candidate for the town’s 3rd District, which encompasses Garden City Park, Mineola, Williston Park, Garden City and portions of New Hyde Park, Pusateri said residential issues depend on which door you’re knocking on. Aside from advocating for programs for the disabled community, other goals Pusateri wants to achieve if elected include maintaining the town’s AAA bond rating and quality of life, and keeping residents informed and safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Another issue that most residents bring up when speaking to elected officials, or aspiring ones, is the town’s Building Department. Pusateri said creating greater transparency between the department’s employees and the public is one of the most important aspects to improve before making further decisions.
“The bigger picture is how do we fix the department now,” Pusateri said. “If I blame something that happened before I got there, it shows that I have not grown.”
As a speech pathologist, Pusateri said, remote education was one of the most challenging aspects for teachers and students during the coronavirus pandemic. Though she stressed the need for school districts and other educational institutions to permit in-person instruction, she did not take a stance on whether vaccinations should be required. Instead, Pusateri sided with state guidance as to what should be mandated.
Communication between the town and its residents is another area where Pusateri wants to see improvement. Pointing to a newsletter from Councilwoman Marianne Dalimonte, Pusateri said it is important that people in each district know what is happening throughout the town and what programs they could potentially take advantage of.
Pusateri, who is running against Mineola Trustee Dennis Walsh, a Republican, to replace Angelo Ferrara, touted her hard work and ability to be transparent with the community as reasons she should be elected.
“I feel that I am reachable and at this point in time, as an advocate, I understand that I have to listen to a person’s perspectives,” Pusateri said. “I also have to make sure I meet those challenges and meet those needs within the community.”