Written by Ronald Scaglia Friday, 16 October 2009 00:00
On Nov. 3, residents of Nassau County’s 17th Legislative District will elect a new representative to the Nassau County Legislature. Rose Marie Walker and Arshad Majid are vying for the position, which is being vacated by Ed Mangano, who is running for County Executive. The district includes Island Trees, Bethpage, Hicksville, Levittown, North Massapequa, Plainedge, South Farmingdale and Syosset. The candidate’s stories are listed below in alphabetical order.
Arshad Majid is running for election as Nassau County legislator for the 17th District. Majid has been a resident of this district for 25 years and is currently raising a family in Farmingdale. He is running on the Democrat and Working Families Party Lines.
“I am not a career politician,” said Majid when discussing his run for political office. “I started in the district attorney’s office fighting crime. Since then, I have been serving the community, protecting the community and have been an advocate for the community.”
Majid holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology and has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency on the Long Island Sound Project. He earned an MBA in Economics and Finance from St. John’s University and also obtained a law degree from St. John’s.
Majid proudly feels that his previous endeavors show his commitment to stand up for people and he vows to do so for the community if elected. He speaks of his standing up to big banks that were foreclosing on senior citizens and his bringing big banks into federal court to protect citizens from financial fraud as two examples of how he has fought for the community. He strongly believes that his economic, legal and environmental background give him a solid understanding of the issues that Nassau residents face as well as solutions to fix the problems.
Said Majid, “I understand the issues facing Nassau - companies are moving away, there are fewer jobs and young people have to leave. Elected officials need to understand economic issues. When businesses leave it shifts the burden to homeowners. We’re blindly following officials who are incompetent. Raising taxes and throwing money around is what incompetent elected officials do.”
Majid specifically takes issue with the fiscal policies of the Town of Oyster Bay Town Council. His opponent, Rose Marie Walker, has been on the board for the past six years.
Said Majid, “My opponent has been on the Town Board for six years. During that time, taxes have risen 45 percent. The town has lost jobs and small businesses which shifts the tax burden even more onto taxpayers.”
While Republicans claim that Democrats have been responsible for higher taxes, Majid dismisses this stating that the Democratic controlled Nassau County government had to do what was necessary to save Nassau’s finances. According to Majid, Democrats inherited a county on the brink of bankruptcy. He stated that while trying to save the county, the Democrats had to comply with state regulators which required raising taxes. However, while Majid says that taxes had to be raised then to take control and pull Nassau back, he is firmly opposed to raising taxes any more as he feels this is driving people off of Long Island.
“I want to keep families together,” said Majid of the exodus from Long Island due to many not being able to afford to live here. “My own brother and sister moved away. I don’t want more families to be split up and I don’t want Nassau to end up in the same financial situation as Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse.”
Majid says that he would like to see an economic stimulus on a local level to retain jobs and create more jobs. He also says that as a former Republican, he is willing to work with both parties to do what is best for the community.
“I’m not a rubber stamp for any party,” said Majid. “If Republicans pursue a bill that makes sense and is good for the community, I will support it. Party politics is ruining.”
Rose Marie Walker has served as an Oyster Bay Town Councilwoman since 2003. She is a lifelong resident of Hicksville. She is running on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines.
When speaking about why she decided to not seek re-election to the Oyster Bay Town Council and instead run for the position of Nassau County Legislator, Walker said, “I have served the residents of the 17th District for the past six years as their Oyster Bay Councilwoman. I know the residents and they know me. All of the residents that I speak with talk about the high taxes. We have to take Nassau in a different direction.”
Walker says that when residents speak with her, their biggest concern is the high taxes of Nassau County. She vows to fight to repeal the energy tax, which she describes as a regressive tax that was supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. She describes the energy tax as being equal to a 4.5 percent increase in property taxes.
“Winter is coming and residents have to heat their homes,” said Walker. “This is taxing something that is a necessity, not a luxury.”
Walker also strongly feels that two other issues that need to be addressed in Nassau government are the assessment system and patronage jobs. She stated that both of these issues are costing Nassau taxpayers millions of dollars every year.
Said Walker, “We have to freeze and fix our broken assessment system. People are not being assessed on the true value of their homes. They are grieving their assessments and this is costing millions of dollars, which the county then uses bonds to pay for. They are bonding our future to pay for this. Even the previous assessor grieved his own taxes and won.”
Walker also feels that patronage jobs are putting a huge strain on Nassau’s finances. She states that there are a large number of patronage positions that are held by people who live outside of Nassau and who then spend their money outside of Nassau.
Democrats have taken issue with tax increases imposed in Oyster Bay by the Republican controlled board. However, Walker stands by her record in Oyster Bay. She says that she disagrees with the numbers being given as to the extent of the taxes increased in Oyster Bay stating that the increases have not been as high as claimed. She also says it is the Democrats in control of Nassau County government who have mishandled finances.
Walker said, “We have an AAA bond rating in Oyster Bay. We have a surplus rather than a deficit. Compare this with the county, which received a huge bailout from the state when the Democrats took over, yet the county is in worse shape now. There is a $150 million deficit. Taxes have been raised and services have been cut, unlike the Town of Oyster Bay which has wonderful services and programs for everyone.”
Rose Marie Walker is a widowed mother of four with one grandchild. She has a background in education. She is involved with many community organizations including civic, seniors and veterans groups.