The two party-backed candidates for Nassau County executive held dueling news conferences Wednesday, with Democrat Laura Curran pledging to support an Obama-era infrastructure rule revoked by President Donald Trump and Republican Jack Martins calling for term limits for county elected officials.
At a news conference on the boardwalk in Long Beach, Curran, a Nassau County legislator from Baldwin, criticized Trump’s repeal of the Obama regulation.
“We shouldn’t have to keep paying the exorbitant fees that come with destruction and damage to repair infrastructure that isn’t built to withstand the flooding we’ve already seen — and the kind we could see in the future,” Curran said.
Trump repealed an order mandating builders to consider how climate change might affect flooding in certain areas and required infrastructure be built above the flood plain.
Trump has suggested the predicted risks from sea level rise driven by climate change are overblown. He also has said environmental regulations were impeding development.
Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman said the boardwalk was rebuilt above federal standards to withstand future storms after it was destroyed by superstorm Sandy in 2012.
“We built this boardwalk as a symbol of what it means to be stronger, smarter and safer,” said Schnirman, a Democratic candidate for comptroller.
Trump’s executive order is focused only on projects with federal reimbursements and does not affect the ability of local officials to build beyond the federal standards, Curran said.
Martins, who served six years in the State Senate, noted that he co-sponsored legislation enacted in 2014 that requires climate change to be considered in the review process for new county- and state-funded projects.
In Mineola Wednesday, Martins pitched a plan for term limits for county officials.
Martins wants to limit the county executive to two four-year terms and county legislators to five two-year terms. Nassau is the only downstate county without terms limits for elected officials.
“It is important that when a person is elected to government office that they are there to serve the people and not to ensure that they get re-elected,” Martins said.
Curran in January proposed a similar plan, but she would limit legislators to six two-year terms. Her opponent in the September Democratic primary, County Comptroller George Maragos, would limit legislators to four terms.
Martins also said that if elected he would not allow Nassau to become a “sanctuary city” for undocumented immigrants convicted of violent crimes.
Martins appeared with Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, who also is chairman of the State Reform Party, which has endorsed Martins. Sliwa said police need the tools to get violent criminals off the street.
“To get rid of the violent felony gangbangers and drug dealers you need total cooperation with the feds,” said Sliwa.