Denise Ford, who has served as a Nassau County legislator for 20 years, has decided against running for reelection this fall, she said last week.
The 72-year-old Ford was elected to the legislature in 2003 shortly after her husband, Harry, a 27-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department, was killed in a fire in Queens on Father’s Day in 2001. She’s an enrolled Democrat but caucuses with the Republicans.
Ford’s decision comes after much thought and during a major redistricting process in the county. She was one of the legislature’s best-known members. Democrats and Republicans can be expected to wage a vigorous fight for her seat.
“I had been considering doing this for a while and I felt that this was the best time for me to go,” Ford said. “I will miss representing my district because I really do love the people that I represent. But I think it’s time for somebody new to take over and be the guardian of legislative district four.”
Ford’s district includes Long Beach, Lido Beach, East Atlantic Beach, Point Lookout, Island Park and parts of East Rockaway, Woodmere, Oceanside, Lawrence and Cedarhurst. She said her main reason for not seeking reelection is to spend more time with her family.
“I’m getting older, with grandchildren, and there’s just some family situations that I want to focus on,” she said. “I have served 20 years and I think that is an adequate time for somebody to be in an elected position. And so I just felt it in my gut that this was it. This was the year to go.”
Ford also currently serves as the chair of the Public Safety Committee and the vice chair of the Government Services & Operations Committee. She is also a member of the Planning, Development and the Environment Committee, the Economic and Community Development and Labor Committee and the Minority Affairs Committee.
During her term in office, she has been honored for numerous achievements within her community. She was named Woman of the Year by the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce in recognition of her leadership and by the Michael Valente Lodge. She was also honored as a “Woman of Valor” by the Sisterhood of Temple Emanu-El.
Ford has been a resident of the Long Beach community for over 35 years. She stepped down as the president of the West End Neighbors Civic Association in 2003 when she was elected to the Legislature. She is currently a member of a variety of organizations such as the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Ladies Auxiliary of the VFW and Kiwanis.