New Year Brings Political Shifts

The Women’s March On Washington drew a crowd of more than 500,000 women, men and children. (Photo by Kimberly Dijkstra)

The new year kicked off with the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States, with Mike Pence as vice president. In his inaugural address, Trump promised to put “America first,” and bring back jobs, secure borders and restore America’s wealth. During his first year in office, Trump has pushed for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Among the highlights of Trump’s first year in office are his unsuccessful attempt at repealing the Affordable Care Act, terse exchanges with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over the missile program, executive order to prevent citizens from seven Muslim-predominant countries from traveling to the United States, and ongoing investigations into whether his campaign colluded with Russia during the election.

The weekend after the inauguration saw The Women’s March On Washington, which drew a crowd of more than 500,000 women, men and children at the nation’s capital to speak out on issues including equality, healthcare and immigration. In addition to D.C., more than 600 sister marches (including one in New York City) took place across the world, with one being held on every continent.

In May, more than 1000 people showed up for the People’s Climate March in Long Beach.

Activists came out in droves again later this year for the People’s Climate March on Washington DC, which drew attention to climate change and environmental issues. Long Islander also marched for transgender civil rights and rallied to save health care, support Planned Parenthood and say ‘no’ to ICE.

On a local level, the ripple effects of last year’s indictments against County Executive Ed Mangano and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto continued on in 2017, with Venditto stepping down from the seat in January, years amidst federal corruption charges. Succeeding the 19-year supervisor was Joseph Saladino, who gave up his seat on the New York State Assembly to take the helm of the Town of Oyster Bay and won reelection in November.

In November, the federal Securities and Exchange Commission charged Venditto, as well as the town, with additional federal charges, including securities fraud. Mangano, who retained his seat as county executive but did not run again, faces charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, fraud and obstruction of justice, and will go to trial with Venditto in March.

Nassau County and Town of Hempstead Democrats celebrated their Election Day triumph on Nov. 8. From left, County Legislator-elect Josh Lafazan, Hempstead Clerk-elect Sylvia Cabana, Hempstead Supervisor-elect Laura Gillen, County Executive-elect Laura Curran, County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs and County Comptroller-elect Jack Schnirman. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

Corruption was the prevalent theme during the 2017 race for county executive, which saw Comptroller George Maragos face off against Councilwoman Laura Curran in the Democratic primary, with the latter taking both the party nomination and election night win. Both Curran and her Republican opponent Jack Martins, a former state Senator, ran on anti-corruption platforms, vowing to end nepotism and bring about ethics reform. Election Day saw Curran beating Martins 51-48, and making history as Nassau County’s first female county executive.

Curran wasn’t the only woman to break ground on Election Day; Laura Gillen of Rockville Centre unseated incumbent Supervisor Anthony J. Santino in the Town of Hempstead, becoming not only the first woman, but first Democrat in 100 years to take the top spot in the Republican-dominated town.

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