For Laura Curran, a term on the Baldwin School District Board of Education whetted her desire to further serve her community.
Twice elected to the Nassau County Legislature, Curran touted her ability to work across party lines. The Democratic candidate for Nassau County Executive will face Jack Martins this Election Day. In September, she handily defeated Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos in the primary.
Both opponents have criticized her lack of experience, but she brushed this aside.
“I would say I have the right kind of experience,” she affirmed. “I’m not the product of the machine and this failed, broken system. But I’ve been there long enough to know what’s working and what’s not working. I think my four years in the legislature has given me incredible insight and exactly the right kind of experience.”
She added, “It’s been really disturbing to sit there and watch the corruption and the mismanagement and dysfunction.”
Regarding the county’s $3 billion 2018 budget, Curran said her biggest complaint was with the fees outgoing County Executive Ed Mangano has proposed, noting that together they added up to more than the tax cap would be.
Opposed to any tax hikes, Curran believes limiting overtime costs and fees paid to outside consultants would help control expenses. She also hopes to stop the practice of borrowing money to turn what would be deficits into surpluses.
“We need to look line-by-line through the budget to make sure every penny is being spent appropriately,” she said.
As far as ethics, she wants to introduce term limits and an inspector general, and strengthen the existing anti-nepotism regulations as well as the ethics board, which she finds lacking.
Regarding the assessment system, Curran said bluntly that it’s broken, and blamed the lack of a credited assessor to lead the department, whose staff has been cut. It was a problem she felt can be fixed. As to Martins’ idea to turn assessment over to the three townships, Curran said Mangano proposed it, and it was rejected.
Curran believes that the county’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is a key element of bringing businesses and jobs to the county, but has concerns over some of the agency’s decisions.
“Let’s make sure that we do good, muscular deals, and if [the promised jobs] do not materialize, we have to find a way to get that money back,” she said.
She also believes the IDA is crucial to build multi-unit housing, though would like to see more affordable units erected.
“We need a vision of how to grow our tax base, and how to keep our young people here,” Curran said. “We have an opportunity to rebrand Nassau as a vibrant place to live, to raise a family and to bring your business. But we have to do [these things] now.”
Curran said that local government affects people’s lives much more directly than the federal government, and it’s sad “that people just don’t vote in these local elections. My argument with them is, ‘with the corruption and mismanagement, now is the time to vote.’ Whether for me or my opponent, vote—so we will be held accountable.”