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Valley Stream’s first female justice makes history

Virginia Clavin-Higgins, 53, is the first woman to

Virginia Clavin-Higgins, 53, is the first woman to be elected a justice in Valley Stream. She's shown in a courtroom on March 18, 2016. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Virginia Clavin-Higgins has become the first woman to be elected a justice in Valley Stream, a village of about 38,000 people.

Higgins, 53, has been serving in the position since Jan. 1, when she was appointed to the post by Mayor Ed Fare. She had been a village trustee for four years.

“This is a good job from which to help the community,” Higgins said.

She ran unopposed for the justice position in last Tuesday’s village elections, receiving 828 votes.

Her mother, Rosanna Clavin, was the village’s first elected woman trustee, serving from 1983 to 1991.

Clavin-Higgins, a former assistant district attorney in Nassau County, is also a law clerk in Nassau County Court, working for Judge Christopher Quinn.

“I want to be a role model for girls and young women,” she said in an interview.

She is married with two sons and a daughter. She is the sister of Donald Clavin Jr., Hempstead Town’s receiver of taxes.

A registered Republican, she said partisan politics played little or no role on the board of trustees. “I was surprised and pleased about that,” she said.

Trustee Vincent Grasso, a registered Democrat, and Fare, a registered Republican, agreed with her that partisan politics plays little role in governing the village.

“We’re about the village and its residents, not politics,” said Fare, who has twice run with two Democrats on the United Community Party ticket.

Grasso noted that Long Island’s third most populous village, is diverse, with that diversity represented on the village board.

“We have two black members on our five-member board, and one of them — Dermond Thomas, a lawyer — is deputy mayor,” he said.

Sean Wright, the other black trustee, is also a lawyer. He was elected last Tuesday without any opposition after having been appointed to the board of trustees to replace Clavin-Higgins.

Grasso said he is Nassau County’s only veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who is now serving as a village trustee in Nassau.

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