When Baldwin resident Patricia Maher found out that U.S. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito supported the Limit, Save, and Grow Act, she said she immediately jumped back into the political arena in an effort to fight the measure.
Maher, 63, a Democrat, announced late last month that she planned to run against D’Esposito for his 4th Congressional District seat. Her decision came days after D’Esposito voted in favor of the act, which “nullifies regulations for the cancellation of federal student loan debt.”
Maher said she believes this act, which passed by two votes in the House, would be one of the worst pieces of legislation in America right now.
In the summary of the act on Congress.Gov, it states, “This section nullifies certain actions taken by the Department of Education related to federal student loans, including actions that suspend federal student loan payments, discharge debt, and implement a new income-driven repayment plan.”
Maher expressed concern because, she said, “For students, the act would revert student debt cancellation and the income driven repayment plans, which is allowing students to pay based on their income. And that would hurt students immensely.”
She added that the act would not only impact students, but several other groups as well. The legislation also would cut medical care to veterans, as well as cancer research, border security, and more. The Justice Department said that the FBI would lose 11,000 agents under this legislation.
Maher said she felt that D’Esposito was being disingenuous, which spurred her to announce a run for Congress. Since D’Esposito was an NYPD detective, Maher said she was confused about why he would support cuts to enforcement agencies. Maher added that she is a huge supporter of border security, and would fight for more border patrols if she were elected in 2024.
“The loss of resources could have serious consequences for our border,” she said. “It would stop the capacity to even process migrants at the border.”
In addition, Maher said she is running because D’Esposito refuses to support Roe V. Wade or ban on AR-15 assault rifles. Maher said his ideologies do not align with his constituents. She said she wants to be the mouthpiece for 4th District’s constituents, but before she could run against D’Esposito, she would have to win the Democratic primary in 2024.
“I think if we do the same thing as we did before, with the same candidate, we will have the same result,” Maher said. “And that’s the definition of insanity.”
Maher, who works as an advertising director, put herself through law school later in her life, graduating with a juris doctor from the Jacob D. Fuchsberg School of Law, Touro College. She also is a two-time graduate of Hofstra University, with a master’s degree in health law and policy, and another master’s in humanities. If elected, Maher said she wants to tackle the housing crisis on Long Island, the fentanyl crisis, push for gun control laws, codify Roe v. Wade and protect U.S. veterans.
Maher said she is best equipped to take on D’Esposito, having won two primaries in the past. When she lived in East Meadow, Maher was the Democratic nominee for the Nassau County Legislature. She also won the primary to run against Peter King, a former congressman who represented the third and fourth districts.
During her run against King, Maher worked with the homeless who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy on the South Shore of Long Island. She held a rally with residents from King’s district to help them receive financial assistance.
“Helping people when you’re not elected is just as important as helping them when you are elected,” Maher said. “And I will advocate for these individuals, not for the parties, but for the individuals, and I did then. I did that then as I will now.”
As vice president of the Baldwin Democratic Club, Maher said she is now helping neighbors by organizing rallies, getting the community together to advocate for issues such as codifying Roe v. Wade, banning assault weapons, and trying to finance rehabilitation centers for drug users.