North Hempstead Councilwoman Viviana L. Russell (D-New Cassel) has officially announced her bid for North Hempstead town clerk in the November election, and the Nassau County Democratic Party has announced that former Councilman Robert Troiano, whom she replaced in the role, will run for her council seat.
The councilwoman seeks to succeed Town Clerk Wayne Wink, who is running for town supervisor in the wake of sitting Supervisor Judi Bosworth’s announcement that she would not try for a fourth term of office.
Russell has received the endorsements of the North Hempstead and Nassau County Democratic Party organizations.
If elected, Russell would be the first African-American to hold townwide office in North Hempstead. She holds the distinction of being the first African-American woman elected to town office in North Hempstead, having succeeded Troiano, who was the first African-American elected official in town history.
Russell has represented the 1st District, which encompasses Westbury, New Cassel, Carle Place, and Old Westbury, since her initial election in 2009, and has been re-elected twice since then.
“I am proud to be the Democratic designee for Town Clerk,” Russell said in a statement. “I believe my record of service, advocacy, and experience in elected office have prepared me well to serve effectively in this new role, in which I will represent all the communities and residents of North Hempstead. It has been a true honor representing the people of District 1 for the past 12 years and I look forward to continuing our work together in this new role.”
Bosworth endorsed Russell’s candidacy in a statement.
“As a Town Board member, Viviana Russell has demonstrated her strong commitment to the residents of her district and to the entire Town of North Hempstead,” Bosworth said. “She will be an outstanding Town Clerk in whom the people of our community can place their confidence and trust.”
Russell has also received endorsements from Wink and County Legislator Siela Bynoe (D-Westbury).
The councilwoman said that her goals as town clerk will include development of additional online training resources, tutorials and enhanced technological tools, quick and efficient response times for vital document Freedom of Information Law requests, and “practical and innovative ways to help reduce the town’s carbon footprint.”
Troiano previously served as councilman in District 1 from 2004 to 2010 and as a Nassau County legislator from 2010 to 2013 before resigning to serve as North Hempstead’s director of operations and senior policy adviser to Bosworth from 2014 and 2017. Prior to his election to the Town Board, he served three terms on the Westbury Board of Education, where he served seven years as president. He also served as treasurer and senior vice president of Prudential Securities.
In late 2017, he was tapped by County Executive Laura Curran to serve as the county’s acting commissioner for traffic and parking violations, but stepped down in January 2018 once issues concerning failures to disclose federal tax liens on financial statements filed with North Hempstead came to light, including a $749,264 lien on a house he owned facing foreclosure.
Troiano maintained at the time that he left the position for other reasons, and told Newsday that year that he had paid off the income tax liens and that the foreclosure had been canceled.
Following the withdrawal of his nomination for commissioner for traffic and parking violations, Troiano was appointed as director of special projects at the county’s Board of Elections at a salary of $140,000 per year.
“I am a wife, mother, grandmother, sibling, primary caregiver to my elderly mother-in-law, and an individual committed to leaving this world a better place than it was when I entered it,” Russell said. “Commitment to family, friends, faith, and community defines who I am. As I seek this new opportunity to work on behalf of all the residents of our great town, I am taking nothing for granted and I humbly ask for their support of my candidacy for Town Clerk.”
Republican candidates for town clerk and the council seat for District 1 have not yet been announced.