Nassau 12th District: Peter Schmitt, John Rennhack

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A familiar scene is playing out in the 12th Legislative District, where the longtime Republican incumbent is being challenged for the third time by the same North Massapequa resident.

John Rennhack, 39, is looking to unseat Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa), the minority leader of the legislature who has been elected to the seat seven times in the past 14 years.

Schmitt, 59, said that if re-elected, he would work to provide tax relief for residents, beginning with repealing the 2.5 percent county home energy tax.

"Taxes, taxes and taxes - they're too high," he said.

To curb spending, Schmitt said the county needs to revamp the tax assessment process so it doesn't continue to pay out millions of dollars in refunds.

"We have to take a hard look at it," he said.

Locally, Schmitt said he would continue to oversee the restoration of the Massapequa Preserve and do more streetscape projects in downtown areas.

Rennhack appears to have a tough race against the longtime incumbent, but he said he stepped forward to run against Schmitt again because he didn't want to let him go unchallenged.

"There has to be a dissenting voice," said Rennhack, who works for the Nassau County Board of Elections.

If elected, Rennhack said, he would work to attract high-tech manufacturing companies that are in need of a large blue-collar workforce.

To revive downtown areas, Rennhack said he would work with local chambers of commerce and town officials to attract small businesses.

"It won't be easy," he said, "but nothing ever is."

To make government more open to the public, Rennhack said he would like to see the legislature's meetings broadcast on public access television.

"People don't have time to lose a day of work to go to the legislature to see what's going on," he said.

In the district, which includes Massapequa, Massapequa Park and portions of North Massapequa and Seaford, Republicans have a more than a 2-1 voter edge over Democrats. There are 25,143 registered Republicans, 11,769 Democrats and 10,881 unaffiliated voters.

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