During her four terms in the State Assembly, representing the 22nd District, Democrat Michaelle Solages, of Elmont, has been a tireless advocate for working families. She has not only been a constant presence in her district, but is also aware of big-picture issues, and has pushed for policies that, in the long term, would benefit disadvantaged communities and boost local economies.
Solages’s efforts to establish a universal pre-kindergarten program on Long Island are particularly laudable. If successful, this would be a game-changer for lower-income, working parents. Because it would give them greater freedom to work and more money to spend, the program could have a big impact on local businesses. It’s a project we encourage Solages to see through to completion.
She has shown her support for new mothers by pushing for Medicaid expansion in the state to provide greater access to donated breast milk, and crafting a bill to have dedicated breast-feeding accommodations in public buildings. These efforts demonstrate how important voices such as Solages’s are in addressing issues that a traditionally male-dominated Legislature might overlook.
On issues closer to home, Solages fought to have local voices at the table in talks on the Belmont Arena project.
Her Republican challenger, Nicholas Zacchea, of Floral Park, has decades of expertise as an economic adviser to Congress and to governments around the world. He knows budgets, and the ways in which waste and corruption manifest themselves. He would be a useful asset in Albany, particularly for high-tax areas such as Nassau County that suffer from an inefficient patchwork of governments and school districts.
At times, however, Zacchea hews too closely to the reflexive Republican orthodoxy of law and order and smaller government. His proposal to offer local businesses pandemic aid in the form of low-interest, long-term loans, which would only deepen their debt, gave us pause. He also paradoxically expressed opposition to New York’s bail reform law while acknowledging the inequities that led to it.
The Herald endorses Solages, and encourages voters to re-elect her next Tuesday.