Republican State Senate hopeful Elaine Phillips officially kicked off her campaign on June 30, telling voters that she’s a fighter and that she will win the 7th District seat in November. Jack Martins, who currently represents the district, is running for Congress in the 3rd District.
The 7th Senate District includes a portion of Elmont as well as Franklin Square, and spans most of the North Shore, from Lake Success to Roslyn Harbor.
Phillips made her announcement at the American Legion hall in Williston Park before a cheering crowd, as other elected officials stood behind her, including Assemblyman Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook) and State Sen. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa). “I am asking for your support to represent this community in the State Senate,” she said. “If I am elected, I will stand up for Long Island and the communities of this district.”
Phillips became mayor of Flower Hill, a small village on the North Shore, in 2012, after spending 25 years on Wall Street. She has also served as president of the Munsey Park School Community Association, and was a member of the Manhasset Schools’ Citizens Advisory Committee on Finance. She currently sits on the Development Council for Pennsylvania State University’s College of Liberal Arts.
Running on her record of cutting taxes and fixing her village’s financial woes, Phillips also touts her passion for environmental issues. She initiated an environmental preservation program in Flower Hill that earned the village a national “green” designation, and has helped promote energy conservation and worked on improving drinking water.
“The turnout is great — this was fantastic,” said Patrick Nicolello, a New Hyde Park resident and a Phillips supporter. “I think it speaks a lot to the community around us that the support for Elaine is going to be strong, as it should be. A lot of people sympathize with what she’s saying and what she’s doing. I think, ultimately, it’s a good sign for what’s to come.”
Phillips has been battling corruption since she became Flower Hill’s mayor. In her first year in office, the state comptroller’s office issued an audit of Flower Hill for the two previous years. The audit found that village officials prepared budgets that “significantly underestimated revenues and overestimated expenses in each of the fiscal years from 2006-07 to 2010-11, for a combined total of $8.6 million in budget variances.”
“As mayor, I cut property taxes, and I enacted a tough ethics law and appointed an independent ethics board,” Phillips said. “Everyone knows we need better ethics in Albany.”
She said she would fight for term limits for state legislators, a measure supported by State Senate candidate Chris McGrath, who is running against newly elected 9th District incumbent Todd Kaminsky. McGrath unsuccessfully challenged Kaminsky in April for the vacated seat.
Phillips will face off against former Nassau Interim Finance Authority member Adam Haber in November. Haber, a member of the Roslyn Board of Education, lost to Martins in the Senate race in 2014. He also unsuccessfully challenged Tom Suozzi for the democratic nomination for county executive in 2013.
“You lead by example, and these people get entrenched for a lifetime and they get comfortable and they get greedy,” Haber said of the culture in Albany. “If you see someone doing something wrong, don’t sweep it under the rug — don’t stand for it for a second.”
Haber touted his success on the Roslyn school board — which dug the district out of financial hardship after an embezzlement scandal involving its superintendent, Dr. Frank A. Tassone, and others in 2004 — as proof that he is capable of combating corruption. He has criticized Nassau County’s spending habits and cautioned the administration not to rely on unproven revenue like the proposed gambling facility at Belmont Park.
“I’m not doing this for any other reason than to help the community,” Haber said. “I plan on being outspoken and an advocate for Long Island.”