Dennis Walsh, the Mineola trustee running for North Hempstead Town Board, said he wants to preserve the two-party system if elected in November.
The board, which includes six council members and one supervisor, has a Democratic majority of six to one.
“You don’t have checks and balances on runaway spending, runaway salaries or anything else,” Walsh said in an interview with Blank Slate Media. “You’re not getting at these problems unless you have a two-party system.”
Walsh said part of his vision is to take the experience he has in local government and apply it to North Hempstead’s District 3. He said he wants to pay more attention to areas without a mayor or home rule that have trouble getting the help they need.
Specifically, he said he wants the hamlet of Garden City Park to have a bigger seat at the table.
“For the people that I can greatly affect, I believe the biggest problem is similar to ones that face my village of Mineola, but someone has to want to do it,” Walsh, a retired New York City police officer, said.
He said that incorporated villages need much less from the town compared with hamlets. Town parks, licensing and feral cat services are what he considers a large part of a village’s involvement with towns.
Walsh is running against Democrat Christine Pusateri in the 3rd District, which encompass parts of Garden City Park, Mineola, Williston Park, Garden City and parts of New Hyde Park. The seat is held by Angelo Ferrara, a Republican who is not seeking re-election.
Walsh said he wants voters to know that he favors opting out of retail sale of marijuana in Mineola, where he has served on the board since 2013. He said he believes it is important for voters to know every candidate’s position on the matter so they can walk into the polling booth Nov. 2 and have the most information possible.
In Mineola, he said, he doesn’t believe the revenue of 4 percent of total sales in the village, split between Mineola and the town, is enough to outweigh the negatives.
“I’m in favor of opting out. I believe the Town of North Hempstead is going to push this beyond Election Day … if they’re going to opt out they should do so before November so people understand their positions,” Walsh said.
With businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said he believed business hubs need to be revitalized with an understanding of a business owner’s perspective.
Walsh pointed to Mineola’s easing of Building Department regulations to let restaurants expand their capacity to outdoor dining. He also mentioned the chance to use Community Development Block Grants, a federal program designed to increase economic viability in villages with a population under 50,000.
He said business owners who looked to improve their businesses only paid 5 percent of the total cost, a decrease from the pre-COVID percentage of 25, with the grant paying the rest.
“That’s something that the Office of the 3rd District council person should be looking into and should try to implement there just as we did in Mineola,” Walsh said.
In regard to construction in the district, specifically because of the Long Island Rail Road’s third track project, Walsh said he is aware of the obstacles created, but he believes his village negotiated fairly and was able to offset the negatives.
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel with this project,” Walsh said. “These changes have been necessary for years and years now. Fortunately, we were able to negotiate instead of fighting and were able to get Harrison Avenue parking garage out of it.”
Walsh said he wants voters to know he will dive into the 3rd District with the same enthusiasm he had for Mineola’s board over eight years ago.
“I have a lot more experience working in government,” Walsh said. “I have been on the board and I have a perfect attendance record. I’ve never missed a meeting, work session or a public hearing and am the only member with a perfect attendance record. I am a very hard worker.”