Elect Wayne Wink, Dems to town, county posts; pass state ballot proposals

Karen Rubin
Karen Rubin, Columnist

There is hardly a candidate for office with more experience, better credentials and record of devotion to public service than Wayne Wink, who is running to become North Hempstead Supervisor.

He has served in every level of elected office, from town to county legislature and back to the town since 2007, as town councilman, Nassau County legislator and, since 2013, town clerk (where he introduced passport application services among other initiatives).

Public service has been his passion and his calling – he even majored in political science at Hofstra before getting his law degree from St. John’s University.

When he says he wants to improve the building department (as every candidate for town office has said), Wink has the credentials to make it easier for residents to navigate the process with pre-application meetings and more use of digital tools to streamline approval.

He plans to keep in place some of the smarter innovations implemented during the COVID pandemic – continuing the “Lift Up Local” Small Businesses Recovery Campaign that allowed outdoor dining and encouraged shop-local, as well as initiatives to revitalize our downtowns.

He stands for fiscally responsible budgets that maintain the town’s enviable AAA bond rating and hold down taxes while continuing to provide high-level services; building upon valued, successful programs like Project Independence that has made North Hempstead top-rated as a place to retire; protecting and improving parks and open spaces, cleaning up the environment and making the town more resilient to fight the ravages of climate change.

This isn’t just empty rhetoric because Wink has a plan, the determination and the ability to make it happen. It is hard to imagine a more fitting person to succeed Judi Bosworth in North Hempstead than to elect Wayne Wink North Hempstead supervisor.

Wink’s opponent, Jennifer S. Desena, a registered Democrat running on the Republican and Conservative lines and trumpeting herself as an “outsider” and “independent,” offered this as her plan in Newsday’s voter guide should she become North Hempstead Supervisor, “My plan is to listen” (https://projects.newsday.com/voters-guide/guide/nov-2-2021-general-election).

It does matter who we elect to represent us.

Fortunately, here in Nassau County and North Hempstead, we have a slate of proven performers who have demonstrated their character, their ability, their devotion to public service and who present a platform and an agenda we should embrace. They can be found on the Democratic line:

In North Hempstead: Viviana Russell, who is presently Town Councilmember, for Town Clerk, Robert Troiano returning to Town Council for District 1, Christine Pusateri for District 3, Peter Fishkind for District 5 along with Wink.

For Nassau County: reelect Ellen Birnbaum, Delia DeRiggi-Whitton and Siela Bynoe to the County Legislature; elect Todd Kaminsky for District Attorney, Ryan Cronin for County Comptroller, Justin Brown for Nassau County Clerk; and reelect Laura Curran for County Executive.

Local elections are critical – these offices have the greatest impact on our daily lives and the quality of life in our communities, quite literally where the rubber meets the road. They set the stage for the cultural ambiance of our community – how we handle public health, how we spend on infrastructure, whether we implement climate action strategies and protect our environment, or whether we place more value in cutting taxes and literally “starving the beast” of public services. Indeed, whether we have a sense of “community” at all.

With voting rights under threat around the nation, it is shocking – even a sin – how turnout is so low even for presidential elections, but especially for “off-year,” “mid-year” and local elections, when a more energized minority can take over the government.

The county legislature, for example, will be drawing district lines, while the state is determining state and congressional districts. We should not fritter away our right to impact our future by sitting out the election.

In fact, New York has lower voting rates than the national average, largely because of “antiquated impediments that advantage incumbents and limit voter participation” like restrictions on absentee voting and voter registration, the New York Public Interest Research Group Fund (NYPIRG) Executive Director Blair Horner, writes.

This is why the five proposals on the back of the ballot to amend New York State’s constitution are also critical – vote yes on all of them. The first four could profoundly impact New York’s environment and democracy, NYPIRG writes in urging a yes vote; the fifth proposal is a practical one: to increase the amount of a claim that can be challenged in small Claims Court from $25,000 to $50,000, reflecting inflation.

Proposal #1: Vote yes to expand fair redistricting and representation. This amendment builds on the redistricting changes to the State Constitution voters approved in 2014. Among the provisions, the proposal would freeze the number of State Senate districts at 63; do away with the partisan co-directors of the redistricting commission; and eliminate the partisan commission voting rules.

Proposal #2: Vote yes to elevate the right to clean air and water and a healthful environment to a constitutional protection in the state’s Bill of Rights so that New Yorkers – regardless of location, means, or political clout – have a basis in which to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.

Proposal #3: Vote yes to allow, but not require, the Legislature to give New Yorkers the right to register and vote within fewer than the current 10-day limit, and could potentially enable same-day voting.

Proposal #4: Vote yes to allow no-excuse absentee ballot voting by ending the requirement that an absentee voter must be unable to appear at the polls by reason of absence from the county or illness or physical disability.

(To see the New York State Board of Elections description of the proposals, go to https://www.elections.ny.gov/2021BallotProposals.html)

Early voting is already underway, through October 31. The nearest early voting polling place in Great Neck is Great Neck Village Hall, 61 Baker Hill Rd. Find other locations at https://bit.ly/383EO5G. Thanks to New York State’s liberalized absentee voting, you can return your absentee ballot so that it is postmarked by Election Day. Or vote in person on Election Day, Tuesday, November 2 at your regular polling place (voterlookup.elections.ny.gov).

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