Taylor Raynor, who defeated longtime state Assemb. Earlene Hooper for the Democratic nomination in the 18th State Assembly District, said Friday she will be a vocal representative of her constituents but is "realistic about the work that has to be done."
"The fact that the people have chosen me to handle that work, it's beautiful. I feel chosen. I feel special. And I feel like I definitely need to keep my energy up because we have a lot of work to do," Raynor said during a news conference in Freeport.
Raynor, 34, challenged Hooper, 79, of Hempstead, who has represented the district for three decades. Hooper is deputy speaker of the state Assembly.
Raynor, a private consultant psychologist from Hempstead, beat Hooper by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent, according to unofficial tallies by the Nassau County Board of Elections.
Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau Democratic Committee, said he had supported Hooper since the time he became party leader. But he said after Hooper supported a Republican candidate in Hempstead Village for personal reasons, "I decided she needed to go."
Hooper last year supported Republican Don Ryan, who was running against Democratic Hempstead Village Mayor Wayne Hall. Ryan won.
Said Jacobs: "The members of the community were in agreement. Together we found a great candidate in Taylor Raynor and gave her all of the support we could and we believe the outcome can only be good for the residents of the 18th Assembly district."
The Nassau Democrats spent about $115,000 for Raynor, who raised about $15,000 for the race, Jacobs said.
Raynor said she would make transparency in the Hempstead school district and affordable housing her top priorities if elected to the assembly.
Hooper's spokesman did not return a call for comment.