4th District: Republican Francis Becker hopes to unseat Carolyn McCarthy

Valley Stream, NY - March 30, 2012: Fran

Valley Stream, NY - March 30, 2012: Fran Becker, a Nassau County Legislator and GOP primary candidate for U.S. Congressman - New York 4th Congressional District, poses for a portrait at his workplace located at 1 East Lincoln Ave. (Photo by James Escher) (Credit: James Escher)

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Valley Stream, NY - March 30, 2012: Fran $entry.content.alttag

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Republican Nassau Legis. Francis X. Becker lost to Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) in 2010 by an 8 percentage point margin -- the closest of any of McCarthy's eight congressional races.

Since then, the Democratic-leaning district has picked up more than 19,000 registered Republicans due to redistricting, fueling Nassau GOP hopes that Becker can further narrow the gap and possibly unseat McCarthy. The district, which covers a Southwest portion of Nassau County, now has 189,627 Democrats and 168,191 Republicans.

"We're building on the work we did in 2010," Becker said. "Despite being outspent, we came historically close."

But unlike the 2010 race, Becker no longer has the endorsement of the Independence Party, which gave its nod to McCarthy this election. Independence line voters account for 15,536 voters in the district. Also, Conservative Party candidate Frank Scaturro, a New Hyde Park attorney, could draw away Republican and Conservative votes. The district has 4,907 registered Conservatives.

Becker, 59, of Lynbrook, describes himself as a fiscal conservative. He said he is running again because he does not believe McCarthy has played a visible role in helping district residents during her time in office.

"She's invisible," Becker said. "In serving the people you have to be present [with] them. That is one of the things I pride myself on -- my accessibility."

McCarthy responded that her role in Congress requires her to be present in Washington, but said she travels to her Mineola home on weekends, and meets often with constituents.

"The people in this district know me," she said.

Becker opposes many of the Obama administration policies that McCarthy has supported. He criticized the $787 billion federal stimulus plan, and said the government should focus on tax reforms to encourage small business growth. He said he would push to repeal President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. He says he also wants to fix medical malpractice laws that he says are saddling physicians with high liability insurance costs.

Becker, a lifelong Lynbrook resident, hails from a longtime political family.

His grandfather, Frank Becker, also a Republican, represented the 4th Congressional District from 1950 to 1962. Becker's father was a state Supreme Court justice and mayor of Lynbrook. Becker's brother, Gregory, is a former state assemblyman, who lost twice trying to unseat McCarthy, in 1998 and 2000.

"My grandfather looms large in my heart and in my spirit," Becker said of his decision to run for Congress.

A graduate of Lynbrook High School, Becker attended Nassau Community College and graduated with a degree in business finance from Hofstra University. He works as a certified financial planner at his firm Becker and Associates Financial Planning Services.

Becker and his wife Clementine have three daughters and six grandchildren.

Becker was elected to the Nassau Legislature in 1995. The county's Sixth District includes Lynbrook, Malverne, North Lynbrook, large portions of Valley Stream, East Rockaway, Rockville Centre and areas of North Valley Stream and Oceanside.

Becker said his tenure as a lawmaker has made him familiar with issues that are important residents of the 4th Congressional District. He says his votes in 2010 and 2011 for budgets by Republican County Executive Edward Mangano that did not raise property taxes show he is the "real fiscal conservative" in the race. Becker also voted for a plan to consolidate the county's police precincts.

"The bottom line is we've held the line on taxes for two straight years," Becker said. "The police precinct reorganization has resulted in increased efficiencies."

Becker is far behind McCarthy in fundraising. While the incumbent has raised more than $2 million for the election, Becker had received $130,714 in contributions as of the end of September. He has spent $107,833 on the race compared with McCarthy's $1.2 million, according to federal campaign filings.

Becker said the disparity doesn't concern him.

"I don't have to match her dollar for dollar, we've got a good political organization," he said.

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