Next Tuesday, Democratic incumbent Dave Denenberg will face Republican challenger Dr. Fred Jones at the polls.
The 19th Legislative District includes Bellmore, North Bellmore, Merrick and parts of Freeport, North Merrick and Wantagh.
Polls are open Tuesday, Nov. 8 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Hometown: Merrick
- Years in Office: 12 years
Denenberg is a ranking member of the Planning, Development and the Environment and Public Works Committees and member of the Finance, Government Services and Operations and Public Safety Committees. He is the only legislator to maintain a district office, doing so at his own expense. He also hosts bimonthly public meetings.
Dr. Fred Jones
- Hometown: Merrick
- Occupation: Chiropractor
Jones is a Merrick little league coach, a Freeport volunteer firefighter, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Merrick, Lions Club of Merrick, Merrick Chamber of Commerce and is the founder of the Three Old Cranks Car Club.
Patch asked candidates the following questions. Their answers appear below in alphabetical order:
Patch: What do you feel are the biggest community concerns going into this election?
Denenberg: When I first started, the three biggest issues were taxes, taxes, taxes, now it is taxes and jobs. We need professional offices, we need corporate headquarters, we need the environmental sciences, bioscience, sports medicine and the semi-conductor industry here and the only way to do that is to allow some of our uninviting commercial strips that have been zoned for single-use since the 1950s. We have to change that zoning to promote commercial and residential development in those areas.
Jones: We need to reduce tax rates that small businesses and homeowners are paying. We need to keep Wantagh, Bellmore, Freeport and Merrick financing secure. I know I can help these towns lower their taxes. If all of us work together to stop the spending, we can cut our tax bills. Our current legislature spends $50,000 to $60,000 per year on mailing and paper costs that should be reduced significantly if we would email or text the information to the residents. With today’s technology, there is no excuse not to use it.
In addition, our residents need jobs. We must create and retain a strong work force in our district. Together, the Nassau County Legislature and the Town of Hempstead can create a strong workforce.
Patch: How do you plan to help develop those issues into action?
Denenberg: By having targeted residential and commercial development, it increases the tax base so the taxes won’t be so high. If we don’t increase our tax base, we are doing nothing for jobs; we are doing nothing for economic opportunity and we are doing nothing for taxes because ultimately the taxes will need to go up if our tax base is stagnant or, in some cases, declining.
Jones: We need to reduce tax strategy so that the resident can afford housing and stay in Nassau County. As Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead work together in a positive direction, we can accomplish a lot for the residents. An example I propose is STAR-type of tax exemption for small businesses. If we create a reduction for small businesses, we can create more jobs, have a stronger workforce and pay our taxes in an efficient manner.
Patch: If elected, what main issue will you focus most of your time and effort to help get on the right path?
Denenberg: I am going to fight against the sale of all that is good about Nassau County, such as selling our public safety by closing precincts and selling our sewage treatments plants, which I think is absolutely a horrible idea. These are assets that the County has that are open to public scrutiny and they come with a good rate to the taxpayers. Selling it to a private company, the rates will go up and company will be run for private profit instead of for the taxpayers. People’s rates for sewage will go through the roof.
I’ll fight against closing all of our special units, because those special units put police on the street. It could be a real issue. They are getting ready of the heroin task force, the DWI unit and the traffic enforcement unit. Everywhere you go, people want traffic enforcement and there are no more unmarked cars. I will fight against closing those units and closing those precincts.
On another level of government, I have always been fighting to have the town utilize the South Nassau Water Authority that was established by the state years ago to take over Aqua water because of how much we are paying for water.
Jones: We need to balance the budget with no layoffs, protecting our jobs. As an elected official, I will implement my cost saving means to reduce the country expenditures. If all county departments start saving 15 percent, we can solve this budget crisis without any layoffs.
I proposed a STAR-type of exemption for small businesses. We have been losing small businesses in each and every community due to increased taxes and increased costs. If we create an incentive for small businesses to hire residents and create jobs for them we all win. Our residents will be employed and downtown will be thriving. Nassau County will be getting more money for taxes.
Patch: Talk a little bit about what you would hope to accomplish in your term, if elected.
Denenberg: There are a lot of issues that I have been working on and will continue to work on. I am going to continue to promote private investment and private development in the Hub for jobs to expand our tax base, keep the Islanders and also to help develop a science or technology center and a convention center here.
Jones: Some of the things I would hope to accomplish are to keep our residents safe with the proper police protection; balance our budget; have every department accountable for the spending and tighten up deficiencies.