The lasting story of the 2018 elections nationwide will be the emergence of a new generation of leaders, first-time candidates eager to enter government to solve problems, flush with fresh ideas about serving their communities, mindful of listening to their constituents and being accountable to them.
Voters in the 18th Assembly District have an opportunity to elect someone with just such promise: Taylor Raynor. She grew up in Uniondale and attended its schools, a springboard to attending Spelman College and obtaining a master’s degree in industrial psychology from Hofstra University.
Raynor, 34, wants to bring Uniondale, Hempstead, Roosevelt and Freeport a new model of representation that elevates the areas to new heights and rids them of divisions. Raynor is brimming with ideas on how to connect all residents and improve the three school districts, as well as fill the persistent potholes. “We are paying a lot of taxes but we don’t see the impact of our money,” she says.
Raynor is challenging 30-year incumbent Earlene Hooper for the Democratic nomination in the Sept. 13 primary, a contest that will determine the ultimate winner for this overwhelmingly Democratic district. Hooper’s lack of transparency is so bad she’s even invisible in her district. There are about 133,000 residents in the 18th AD, and Hooper has failed most of them, except for the anointed few in her Hempstead inner circle.
Hooper has shamelessly blocked Freeport’s attempts to have its armory transferred to the village, preferring to have it delivered to a favored church group. Her lack of leadership in the continuing crisis in the Hempstead school district is another reason to make a change. She tried to block a $1.5 million anti-poverty grant from being administered by the United Way so she could have more control over it.
Hooper clings to her position by peddling nonsense — that anyone who challenges her is a tool of white overlords, that she alone can deliver wheelbarrows of money, that she can’t be in her home district too much because she works so hard in Albany.
She explained it this way at a recent candidate forum in Uniondale: “On Sunday night, around 7 to maybe 9 o’clock, they sit in this room in the Capitol, a room on the side, where the door looks like a wall, and that is where they divide up the money. I am talking billions,” she exclaimed. Asked where she was the rest of the week, she retorted, “On Friday, I am getting ready to go over there to make sure you get your fair share.”
There is no side room with a secret door where governmental leaders divide up piles of money, as if in an illegal poker game. Requests for grants must be in writing, and are allocated during regular committee meetings. They are vetted by the Assembly speaker and then the state comptroller. Hooper also says she is the fourth most important person in state government: “There’s the governor, lieutenant governor, the speaker and Earlene Hooper,” she said at the forum. Hooper has boasted she stopped Nassau Community College from being closed, as well as the local supermarket. There isn’t a grain of salt large enough to temper the taste of Hooper’s fantasy world.
Newsday endorses Raynor.