Nassau County Legislature newcomer Carrie Solages, a Democrat elected to office two years ago, will face Republican Naomie Jean-Philippe on Nov. 5.
Under the redistricting plan recently passed into law, the Fifth Legislative District will now include Inwood (see map above, and/or find out what district you live in by clicking here).
See how Solages, of Elmont, responded to our candidate questionnaire below. Jean-Philippe, also of Elmont, did not respond by press time (check out her Facebook page).
Tell us about yourself (age, town, profession, family, etc.).
Solages: Age: 34
Lives in: Elmont
Career (titles held and years from years to): Georgetown University 2001, Boston College Law School 2004, Bronx Assistant District Attorney 2004-05, Partner of Solages and Solages, P.C. since 2006. Nassau County Human Rights Commissioner 2007.
Political experience: Human Rights Commissioner 2007, Nassau County Legislator since 2011 (Ranking member of Economic Development).
Family: Not married yet, hopefully children in the future.
Other organizations: Knights of Columbus, Tudor Manor Civic, Parkhurst Civic Association, Nassau County Bar Association, Elmont Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club
Why are you running for this position?
Solages: Nassau deserves a county government that provides more services without overtaxing its residents, that promotes economic development that is smart and one that produces results in addressing local issues.
I am running for re-election to continue to build upon the great work we started for the people of the 3rd L.D. and Nassau County. I am very proud of my office. We have been able to resolve thousands of constituent concerns with professionalism. For example, we were able to get power for over 600 people during Storm Sandy.
I have provided services that were accessible (by using my Elmont office to address concerns from the district), creative (I placed my tax grievance workshop online in order for people to not rely upon expensive lawyers who would take half their grievance reward), and responsible (I lobbied NYC to fix Hook Creek Boulevard and to be a better neighbor with other roads condition issues.)
What qualifies you to serve in the position?
Solages: I have served as a legislator for almost two years. My legal experience provides me with the skills to analyze legal contracts with the county and vendors and other legal agreements such as inter-municipal agreements. My experience working with the county allows me to understand the historical and functional structure of the county charter and county government. The relationships I have fostered with other elected officials and staffs of the other layers of government also makes me the most qualified person to represent the 3rd District as legislator.
What is your opinion of the most recent budget? Would you have done something differently with it?
Solages: The most recent 2014 budget proposed by County Executive Edward Mangano does not make any realistic provisions for the county’s rising debt. The proposed budget relies heavily on borrowing and does not provide for salary increases should wage freezes be struck down by the courts. I would not rely upon borrowing and take NIFA’s recommendation to limit this reliance.
In addition, the budget does not secure a permanent funding source for mental health and youth programs, which was cut by Mangano last year. I would take funding away from outside contracts to politically connected firms and transfer said funding to youth and mental health services.
The budget shows the rising cost of the police consolidation plan which has downsized the 5th Precinct located in the 3rd LD. Specifically, the overtime expense is rising very high. This demonstrates that the plan was a failure because it did not save us money. The police budget is increasing by $33 million.
I also disagree with the budget because it doesn’t not give sufficient support to our weak public transportation bus system. If the budget added $7.3 million to the county’s contribution to NICE bus — a sum equal to the service cuts made in April 2012 — NICE would be able to add almost 84,000 hours of service while only increasing the proposed budget by .26 percent.
What is the biggest issue facing the district?
Solages: Now that the 3rd LD runs from Belmont race track all the way south to Inwood along the Queens/Nassau border, I would like to make sure that when someone drives into Nassau County, it looks like and feels like Nassau County through more police presence and beautification projects.
I seek to get our beloved police 5th police precinct back. Mangano’s flawed police consolidation plan has downsized the precinct. We were told by Mangano that the number of officers would not change, unfortunately, it has. We have less undercover officers, supervisors, and police-oriented police officers there, according to the PBA. This has led to an increase in crime.
Beautification relates to improving quality of life and other efforts to address poor road conditions and code enforcement issues. I would like to focus on this because we deserve safe, clean and desirable streets that will promote enjoyment and economic development.
What is the biggest issue facing the county?
Solages: I would like to start a public discussion and action plan on the main issue that impacts us, which is high property taxes. It does not make sense that the average home in my district is valued $300,000-$400,000 and pays $10,000-$12,000 in property taxes while the average home on the north shore is valued at $1.2 million pays only $30,000 in property taxes.
This property tax system is not fair and homeowners in my district are paying more than their fair share. I will hold forums and gain support of other leaders in order to build a new consensus on this issue because we cannot continue the way we are going. We need a system that factors one’s income as a factor in determining their tax burden or some sort of circuit breaker to give people relief.
If you are elected, what is the one thing you’d like to see accomplished during your term?
Solages: I would also like to get a permanent funding/revenue source for youth programs and mental health programs. Our current county executive cut that secured funding source for those programs. We will end up paying more because of the social impact of these policies in terms of higher crime, higher teen pregnancy rates and more teen drug use. We cannot afford to cut from the bottom. Instead we must cut from the top.
Would you like to add anything else?
Solages: I would like to continue to advocate for better economic development that is smart and benefits the community and not a foreign corporation. For example, I have voted to create thousands of jobs by supporting the Nassau Veterans Coliseum redevelopment project because it benefits the county and the community.
I want to continue to introduce ways the county can raise revenue such as promoting economic development that will produce more sales tax revenues and increasing advertising and licensing rights from county assets such as the ads we see on NICE buses that now only generate a mere $600,000.