Republican Brian F. Curran, 49, of Lynbrook, is seeking his fifth term in the Assembly, and before that he served as village mayor. He’s affable, knowledgeable and a strong voice for constituents in his district, fighting to maintain traditional suburban development and ways of life. But in bemoaning how much more community grant money his counterparts in the majority can bring to the district, he makes a pretty decent case that he should be replaced by a Democrat.
Judy A. Griffin, 55, of Rockville Centre, is the Democrat looking to make that happen. She’s the director of community outreach for State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a job that has given her a strong sense of what the district needs and how Albany must change.
Griffin would ban legislators from earning outside income and make the job full time. She argues that income from a second job can easily muddy the decisions of legislators. She’s right.
Curran, a litigator who defends the clients of a large insurance company regulated by the state, doesn’t see much danger in allowing outside income for lawmakers. He thinks banning it would make legislators more susceptible to corruption, because they’d need their seats too much to cast unpopular votes. But he also supports term limits, a better fix to that danger than second jobs.
Griffin wants to revitalize the downtowns of the district. She sees the need for housing young people starting out and seniors downsizing can afford. Curran always has balked at such development.
Griffin supports a pricing plan that would alleviate vehicle congestion in midtown and lower Manhattan in return for improved funding for mass transit, including the Long Island Rail Road. But she also wants to make sure the process of creating such a system is responsive to the public, including those with disabilities who might need to ride in cars in peak times and shouldn’t be penalized. Curran says he might support it for for-hire vehicles only, which wouldn’t solve as many problems.
Griffin would support a variety of voting reforms, including early voting, to increase ease of participation. Curran thinks changing the law to allow anyone an absentee ballot with no reason needed would alleviate the need for early voting, but it wouldn’t. The absentee balloting process would still be a cumbersome ordeal that wouldn’t do nearly as much as adding a weekend day of balloting to make voting easier for busy residents.
Griffin is thoughtful, knowledgeable and inclusive. She wants to listen, and sees the complexities of issues. She embodies the spirit of the current political movement that has women stepping up to say it’s time for a fresh approach to solving our many problems. And in the majority party, she’d have a chance to fight for her vision.
Newsday endorses Griffin.