Jeremy Joseph, Democratic primary candidate for the 7th State Senate...

Jeremy Joseph, Democratic primary candidate for the 7th State Senate District, is challenging State Sen. Anna Kaplan, the Democratic incumbent. Credit: James Escher

A Democratic primary in the 7th State Senate District features twice-elected incumbent Anna Kaplan and first-time candidate Jeremy Joseph. 

The winner of the contest on Tuesday will face Republican Jack Martins, who represented the district from 2010-2016, before his unsuccessful run for Nassau County executive in 2017 against Democrat Laura Curran.

Kaplan, 56, of North Hills, was first elected in 2018, and serves as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business.

She holds an undergraduate degree from Yeshiva University's Stern College for Women and a law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

"I have been elected twice against very competitive Republicans," Kaplan told Newsday. "People in the district know that I have fought for them."

Kaplan's campaign has $516,897 in cash on hand, according to her Aug. 12 financial disclosure report filed with the state Board of Elections.

recommended readingSee primary results from Congress, State Senate races

Joseph, 37, of Hicksville, is a computational scientist who worked most recently for a large technology firm focusing on artificial intelligence.

He was a member of the steering committee of Long Island United to Transform Policing and Community Safety. The group last year helped write The People's Plan, which was compiled by community activists and made recommendations for reforming the Nassau County Police Department.

"For us, not being part of the party establishment means we are mobilizing people through volunteers and a lot of person-to-person interaction," Joseph told Newsday. 

Joseph has $15,945 in campaign cash on hand, according to his Aug. 16 campaign disclosure.

Newly drawn Senate district lines have changed the landscape of the 7th District dramatically.

The district includes Sea Cliff, Glen Cove, Muttontown, Jericho, Brookville, Old Westbury, Syosset and Woodbury. 

The district had 229,633 active registered voters as of June 6, according to the New York State Board of Elections.

Democratic enrollment was 86,571, or 38%, Republican enrollment was 65,105 (28%) while 67,547 voters (29%) were "blanks" unaffiliated with a political party.

Kaplan was born in Iran and emigrated to the United States at age 13.

During the country's revolution, her parents sent her to Brooklyn as part of an international effort to save Iran's Jewish children. She then was placed with a foster family in Chicago, where she learned to speak English and completed high school.

Kaplan says her top priorities include protecting women’s rights, improving public safety and combating hate and extremism.

She helped author New York’s ghost gun ban, which seeks to get untraceable weapons off the streets.

Kaplan also co-sponsored New York's Reproductive Health Act that codified Roe V. Wade, and backed the state safe haven law that protects medical providers who perform lawful abortions for women from out of state.

She proposed a bill in committee to establish an educational program to prevent antisemitism, Islamophobia and discrimination based on religion, race, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

Kaplan is endorsed by the Nassau County Democratic Party, and groups such as Planned Parenthood Empire States Vote, National Organization for Women New York State and New York State United Teachers.

Joseph is a Houston, Texas, native who has lived in Hicksville for 10 years.

He worked as was a field organizer for Invest in Our New York. The statewide coalition is advocating for a package of six bills in the State Legislature to raise revenue by ending tax breaks for the wealthiest state residents.

Joseph earned a master's degree in acoustics from Pennsylvania State University, and bachelor's degrees in mathematics and physics from the University of Houston in 2006.

Joseph said if elected to the Senate, he would focus on economic inequality, renewable energy and universal health care and child care.

He said he would support a state-backed, single-payer health plan for all residents, regardless of employment or immigration status.

He would advocate for adoption of 100% renewable energy to address climate change, and said he would work to ensure the coastline is protected.

Joseph also said the state should adopt legislation to help lower the cost of child care for families.

Joseph is endorsed by groups such as the Long Island Progressive Coalition and Nassau's Democratic Socialists of America, where he has served as co-chairman.

During the campaign, Kaplan and Joseph have clashed over several issues, including support for Israel.

Joseph opposes Kaplan's proposed legislation to prohibit New York State from contracting with corporations that boycott Israel over issues such as its military occupation of land Palestinians want for a future state.

Joseph says Kaplan's measure would limit free speech by boycott proponents — "even if" they're targeting "a country we like."

In response to a question about foreign policy during a recent League of Women Voters debate, Kaplan said: "Israel is the only democracy in Middle East … We need to stand strong with our friends in Middle East and that means Israel." 

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the 7th State Senate District’s borders.

MEET THE CANDIDATES:

7th Senate District Democratic primary

Anna Kaplan

56/North Hills

Kaplan is serving a second term in the State Senate representing the 7th District. She was first elected in 2018. Kaplan is chairperson of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business. She holds an undergraduate degree from Yeshiva University's Stern College for Women and a law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Jeremy Joseph

37/Hicksville

Joseph, a first-time candidate for office, has worked as a computational scientist, focusing most recently on artificial intelligence for a large technology firm. He is a Houston, Texas native, and has lived in Hicksville for 10 years. He was a field organizer for Invest in Our New York, a statewide coalition advocating for bills in the state legislature to end tax breaks for the wealthiest New Yorkers.

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