Majority Republicans on the Nassau Legislature declined to renominate Joshua Lafazan to the county’s Youth Board Monday.
Lafazan, who in 2012 won a spot on the Syosset Board of Education at age 18, is planning to challenge incumbent Legis. Donald MacKenzie (R-Oyster Bay) in November.
Democrats said the GOP move to deny Lafazan renomination was driven by politics, although Republicans said Lafazan’s legislative plans had no effect on their decision.
The legislature voted Monday along party lines to appoint or reappoint 19 members to the board, which promotes and advocates youth and community development programs.
But Republican lawmakers declined to renominate Lafazan, a Democrat, to the post. They questioned his ability to participate because he also is pursuing a master’s degree at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.
“Josh’s appointment was in question simply because we needed to understand more fully what his ability to participate going forward was,” said Youth Board executive director Maggie Martinez Malito.
Lafazan, 23, who has served on the Youth Board since 2013, said he would return to Nassau to attend all future board meetings. Lafazan’s final class at Harvard is April 26.
“I was appointed with unanimous confirmation in 2013,” said Lafazan, who will continue serving on the Youth Board until he is replaced. “I am now up for confirmation in 2017 ... The only thing that’s changed is my announcement as a candidate for this governing body.”
But Nassau Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Valley Stream) said Republicans denied Lafazan renomination, “because he might be running for office against someone on this body and you just want to protect your friends.”
Legis. Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said Lafazan’s candidacy played no role in his renomination to the board. He said Republicans would evaluate Lafazan’s role in the coming months.
“All we are saying is this: You stay on the board for now and eventually, when we see if this works out, you can be appointed at that point,” Nicolello said.
On Tuesday, Democrats sent a letter to Malito asking for the attendance records of all the board’s members since 2013.