When Lee and Murray Seeman moved to Great Neck and built their house in 1955, Lee recalled, her mother encouraged her to get involved.
Seeman promptly volunteered for the Adlai Stevenson presidential campaign and since then, she said, she hasn’t stopped trying to give back to the community.
“When there’s a problem, I try to get the two sides together and have a meeting and hash it out,” Seeman, who has served as a town councilwoman since 2005, said in an interview. “This is what I do. I love bringing people together.”
Seeman, 89, is seeking her fourth term as a councilwoman for the 5th District. She is opposed by a Republican, Richard DeMartino, a business development officer for banks and a longtime member of local Chambers of Commerce.
The 5th Council District in the Town of North Hempstead includes North New Hyde Park, Garden City Park, Floral Park and the villages of Great Neck Estates, Great Neck Plaza, University Gardens, Russell Gardens, Lake Success and other unincorporated areas.
Seeman said her position as a councilwoman is more than a full-time job for her. She said she has gone to countless ribbon cuttings, made connections with state officials and worked on a number of passion projects, including the Clinton G. Martin pool in New Hyde Park and beautifying the road medians with trees and bushes.
“People seeking to buy a home can see they have this gorgeous park. What this does to New Hyde Park is wonderful for people searching for a home and for people living there,” Seeman said, noting the importance of beautification projects for the town.
Seeman has also served as the program director of the Great Neck Chamber of Commerce since 1975 and has been a New York State Democratic committeewoman since 1970, she said.
Seeman also worked with the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi’s review board for students applying to federal service academies and the W.F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem.
In regard to economic development, Seeman said the town is looking more into affordable housing and that a certain percentage of homes have to go to people with low income. She also expressed interest in meeting with the mayors and working more closely with the Chambers of Commerce.
“I would be a worker on that,” Seeman said.
Seeman also brought up the Building Department, which many Republican candidates lamented has been inefficient. She said that there is always room for improvement and that the process takes time, but that it has gotten much better.
“We can only do what we can do. We have a budget that we have to look at, but we’re doing the best we can with that Building Department,” Seeman said. “It’s much better than it was before.”
Ultimately, Seeman said there were never any second thoughts about running again and that she hopes to keep being able to meet and help the people of North Hempstead.
“I have to be out there,” Seeman said. “It’s very important to me.”
Lee was married to Murray Seeman, the former Mayor of Great Neck Estates, who died just over a week ago at 103. Together they raised four children and had seven grandchildren.
“I thought he would go on forever. That was me. He had a good run, [was a] good man, and he let me go out there and go out and do whatever I want to do for all the years,” Seeman said.
“Murray said I should run, that’s my life, this is what I do – going out to people, trying to solve problems, enjoying people,” she added.