Angelo Ferrara thought he’d step away from the North Hempstead Town Board when he turned 65, but that was seven years ago.
Ferrara, a 72-year-old Republican and the board’s longest-serving member, is now running for a sixth four-year term representing the 3rd Council District, which includes New Hyde Park, Garden City Park, Mineola and Williston Park.
He wants to continue advocating for “common sense” government in the town and helping residents get services, he said.
“We’re here to serve the public,” Ferrara, a 47-year New Hyde Park resident, said in an interview. “The important people aren’t the elected officials. The important people are the residents that live here.”
Ferrara was first elected to the Town Board in 1997 and is now one of two Republicans on the six-member council.
Ferrara previously worked as an executive for Xerox Corp. and now runs a New Hyde Park-based printing business. He is also a former president of the Greater New Hyde Park Civic Association and managed Little League baseball teams for the Merillon Athletic Association.
Ferrara has helped establish initiatives to help senior citizens and veterans, he said, including Project Independence, a nationally recognized program designed to help keep seniors in their homes. It started as a pilot program in New Hyde Park before expanding throughout the town, Ferrara said.
Ferrara also touted his work to change “archaic” town laws, such as height restrictions for fences that made it more expensive for homeowners to build them and zoning rules that impeded businesses from opening in certain areas, he said.
“It’s been a lot of community-driven things, and when people call and ask for help, I’m there,” Ferrara said.
Of Nassau County’s three townships, North Hempstead is the only one to have Town Board members of both major political parties. Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio of Port Washington is the other Republican; Democrats hold the other four council seats and the supervisor’s office.
Ferrara said he and his Democratic colleagues put politics aside to do what’s best for the town.
He praised Supervisor Judi Bosworth’s efforts to strengthen the town’s ethics and anti-nepotism laws following last year’s arrests of Gerard Terry, the former North Hempstead Democratic leader and attorney for the town, and Helen McCann, a former administrative assistant for the town’s Solid Waste Management Authority.
“It’s the trust of the people that we’re violating when we take actions to either line our pockets” or enrich relatives, Ferrara said.
Asked about the state of the Republican Party following the indictments of top elected officials, including County Executive Edward Mangano, Ferrara said both parties have had “individuals that make bad individual choices” among their ranks.
Ferrara won his 2013 Town Board race with more than 62 percent of the vote, beating Democrat Sid Nathan, a former spokesman for Jon Kaiman, the former town supervisor.
John Ryan, the North Hempstead Democratic Committee chairman, said the party has chosen a candidate to oppose Ferrara this year, but did not give a name.
Joseph Cairo, the North Hempstead Republican leader, could not be reached for comment.
Ferrara did not rule out running for a seventh term in 2021 if he’s re-elected this year.
“While I’m still here and healthy and feel good, I want to be able to help,” he said.
The Town Board seats held by Councilwomen Lee Seeman of Great Neck and Viviana Russell of New Cassell are also up for election this year. Neither has publicly said whether they will seek re-election.