Republican Legislator James Kennedy has been serving Nassau County’s 12th District, which includes most of the Massapequa area, since 2015 and has made it through one election cycle without losing his seat. His challenger, Michael Pesce, has flipped party lines and is running against Kennedy on the Democratic line. The two are duking it out in a battle to represent southeastern Nassau.
Q: What is the most important issue you are running on? How will you tackle this issue?
Kennedy: The issue most important to my campaign is building a stronger economy that will bring jobs and prosperity to Nassau. We need to ensure that Nassau remains as business-friendly as possible, to maintain or lower current property tax levels and encourage more community involvement with local businesses.
Pesce: The issue most important to me is responsible fiscal spending. Nassau County is one of the highest taxed counties in the country and yet, per the comptroller, the county is under “significant fiscal distress.” I will tackle this issue by calling for a complete and extremely detailed audit of the counties tax expenditures in order to provide more transparency into where our tax dollars are being spent, as well as identify areas of wasteful spending that should be eliminated. I intend to be an activist in the county legislature.
Q: What else are you hoping to accomplish if you are elected?
Pesce: I hope to have term limits put into place. This creates an environment where legislators and acting on behalf of their own best interests, making decisions that can prolong their political career, instead of decisions that are best for the community. If term limits are put in place, then elected legislators are more likely to put the needs of their community ahead of the needs of themselves or their party.
Kennedy: I look forward to continuing to work to end the heroin and opioid abuse epidemic that has been plaguing our neighborhoods and working with law enforcement to end the scourge of MS-13 gang violence.
Q: How will you get residents involved in your duties as legislator?
Kennedy: I’ll continue to get residents involved by holding tax exemption workshops, narcan trainings, various town hall meetings, senior scam seminars and more in our community.
Pesce: I plan on being extremely transparent with what is happening and being discussed in the county legislature. With social media, this will be very easy to accomplish. This also gives residents an outlet to have a voice, provide feedback and converse with me on issues that are important to them.
Q: What is your favorite thing about your district? What makes it unique?
Pesce: My favorite thing about my district is the people. I was born in my district and have lived here all of my life, and the people are what makes living in this community so great. They are hardworking, friendly and always willing to lend a helping hand. In addition to the people, what makes my district unique are the vibrant Main Streets in both Farmingdale and Massapequa Park, both of which are in walking distance from the train and have amazing restaurants, bars and businesses that the entire community can enjoy.
Kennedy: The best part about my district is the Peter J. Schmitt Massapequa Preserve. I love that it gives people the opportunity to get away from the rush of life, take a step back and really breathe in your surroundings. The preserve is a beautiful 423-acre escape where you can bike, walk or hike for as much time as you have to spare. It is a place to meet up with friends and it brings people from near and far because of all that it offers. I think it’s one of the most beautiful places in Nassau County.
For more on other legislative races, visit www.farmingdale-observer.com.