Raynor challenges Hooper for 18th A.D. seat


Deputy Assembly Speaker Earlene Hooper, after 30 years, is seeking another term representing District 18. Her Democratic primary opponent this year, however, has won the support of the Nassau County Democratic Committee.

Taylor Raynor, a political newcomer from Hempstead, describes herself as an industrial organizational psychologist, who has “put her career on hold” to challenge Hooper because of underemployment and failing school districts in Roosevelt and Hempstead.

“We are putting you on notice,” Raynor said in a published statement to Hooper in July. “You have failed the students of the Hempstead School district. We cannot, should not and will not stand by any longer and allow your failures to impact our children’s future. We are not here to just survive, we are here to thrive.”

Hooper has faced criticism for years over her use of taxpayer money for expenses, time spent in Albany rather than her district and inaccessibility to constituents. This summer, following the release of a video in which Hooper used racially charged language and referred to the county Democratic Party as a “plantation,” Nassau Democrats chose to support Raynor’s campaign.

“Based on her racist tirade and lack of apology, I have no choice but to back her opponent,” Chairman Jay Jacobs told Newsday. “The county organization has discussed it and we will be backing Taylor Raynor … and give her the financial backing she needs.”

On her campaign’s Facebook page, Hooper said that she “makes it a priority to protect local jobs, keep hospitals public and affordable, improve infrastructure and water quality and give students the opportunities they deserve.”

The New York State primary will be held on Sept. 13.