State Senate District 7: Elaine Phillips vs. Anna Kaplan

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State Sen. Elaine Phillips, left, North Hempstead Town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan (Photos courtesy of the offices of Elaine Phillips and Anna Kaplan)

With Republicans holding a one-seat majority in the state Senate, competitive races for senator across New York have become the focus of media attention and party fundraising. And one of those white-hot races is on the North Shore, where Democrat Anna Kaplan is trying to deny Sen. Elaine Phillips (R-Flower Hill) a second term in Albany.

Phillips, who formerly served as the mayor of Flower Hill, said she had fought to make Long Island safer and more affordable. She touted her support of the 2 percent tax cap, which limits how much municipalities can increase property taxes, and said she and her Republican colleagues helped prevent nearly $3 billion in new taxes.

Kaplan, who currently serves as a council member for the Town of North Hempstead, said she would support a number of “human issues” that the Republicans would not. She said that she would support sensible gun laws, the Reproductive Health Act and the Child Victims Act, which Republicans have not supported.

Phillips has said her position on gun control has been misrepresented, and that she supported bans on bump stocks and signed onto “red flag” legislation to prohibit certain high-risk individuals from owning a gun. She noted that she received an “F” grade from the National Rifle Association and would support banning guns on school grounds.

The big difference is the Child Victims Act, which would extend the civil statute of limitations to 50 years old and the criminal statute of limitations to 28 years old. Phillips supports a different version that would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations but would leave the civil one untouched.

Both said they would support an online sales tax, although Republicans have refused to bring the issue to the Senate floor. Both offered tepid support for marijuana, saying they supported the use of it for medicine but were unsure about legalizing recreational use.

Phillips said that New York would be hurt by a Democratic-controlled state government, noting that state aid to the district dropped by $124 million in 2009 and 2010, the last time Democrats were in control.

But Kaplan said that the Republican-controlled Senate hadn’t been able to get enough done and that it was time for a change.

Reach reporter Luke Torrance by email at ltorrance@theislandnow.com, by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow him on Twitter @LukeATorrance.

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