Santino: We will work with federal, state and county authorities, taking appropriate steps to harden our infrastructure to protect against another hurricane, storm surge and tidal flooding. The town has already started replacing bulkheads and repairing our Marine Nature Study Area in Oceanside (a natural barrier against tidal flooding). Our building department continues to help neighbors raise their homes and apply for federal FEMA/ICC (increased Cost of Compliance) funds. Keeping neighbors informed is one of the most serious responsibilities of government. My office and the town did this well. We will continue to encourage other levels of government and utilities to do the same throughout crises.
Gillespie: As a victim of Hurricane Sandy, I know the town has made numerous mistakes in addressing those still suffering from the effects of Sandy. After Sandy struck, many people were driven out of their homes, and the town has acknowledged that and changed the zoning laws, temporarily, to allow people to raise their homes if they choose. However, in terms of vital supplies after the storm, the town was absent. Other organizations like the Red Cross were there but not the town. Also, at multiple Sandy rallies, town officials were notably absent as well. Specifically, Santino was notably missing at the rally in East Rockaway. As a victim of Sandy, I feel that the town is out of touch with the needs of fellow victims as well.
Why are you running?
Santino: Supervisor Murray and I have cut taxes for three straight years to protect residents from higher property taxes. But more needs to be done. Homeowners need to pay even less in taxes and get great government services. We are restoring our infrastructure impacted by Sandy and operating all town programs. Our top-notch finances made it possible to waive over $1 million in fees to help Sandy victims. Our aggressive road repair program repaves and rebuilds many town roads. We continue to upgrade parkland. Hempstead Town’s AAA Bond Rating from Wall Street is the highest available and we maintain money for a rainy day.
Gillespie: I am running because there are residents in the town that are not being properly represented. Young people have no advocate and are rarely able to return home after college and live in the town. These young people are forced to leave the town in search of opportunity. The town has disenfranchised many minorities after the redistricting process was handled terribly. Many victims of Hurricane Sandy have, forgive the terminology, been left out in the rain. The town has failed to acknowledge the extent that Sandy has affected the area, and they have been all but absent in the past few months in addressing issues regarding Sandy. I am running because the three groups I described above need someone to represent and advocate for them. I plan to do so