Several of his colleagues in local government say Nassau Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick) is the hardest-working legislator. He says he knocks on every door in his district from April to November, even in non-election years.
"Some people say I'm wasting time" knocking on doors of residents who don't regularly vote, he said. "But I represent everyone, whether they vote or not."
Denenberg, 45, serving his fifth term, is facing Republican challenger Fred J. Jones, 55, also of Merrick, in the 19th Legislative District, where Republicans slightly outnumber Democrats.
Jones, a chiropractor in Merrick, was a friend - and neighbor - of Denenberg who used to display his lawn signs, Denenberg said. But Jones said he is running because he is "sick and tired of complaining and not having the ability to do something about it." The final straw, he said, was when legislators OKd a 2.5 percent home energy tax in February. Denenberg voted for the tax.
County and State Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said the energy tax, which amounts to about $80 a year for the average homeowner, is small compared to tax increases of 35 percent and 45 percent, respectively, that the GOP-controlled Towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay have imposed - in total - in the last six years.
Jones said the solution to rising taxes is to run the county like a business. "We need to look where we're spending," he said. "We've got to cut corners, but not on services . . . or by layoffs. Let's consolidate and get rid of excess products . . . look at each piece of the puzzle." His campaign slogan: The doctor is in. Let's fix the problem.
Jones is a 25-year member of the Freeport Volunteer Fire Department and a 20-year member of the Merrick Chamber of Commerce. He also belongs to the local Kiwanis and Lions Club and is a therapist for the Long Island Rough Riders soccer club.
Denenberg chairs two legislative committees and is a member of seven others. This term, he said, he introduced 12 bills, including ones on plastic bag recycling, endangered species and tuition assistance.
Recently he proposed a bill with Nassau Legis. Joseph Scannell (D-Baldwin) that would require high-level sex offenders to wear a GPS monitor while on probation. It also would prohibit anyone convicted of a sex crime from living within 2,000 feet of their victim's home or workplace.The bill will be considered at an Oct. 19 hearing.
Denenberg said the idea for the bill came from a constituent in North Bellmore who complained that her daughter's convicted molester returned to live in her neighborhood after serving less than 5 months in jail. His district also includes Merrick, parts of Wantagh and Bellmore.