Howard Kopel, Republican incumbent candidate for Nassau County Legislature District...

Howard Kopel, Republican incumbent candidate for Nassau County Legislature District 7. Credit: James Escher

Find out the candidates Newsday's editorial board selected on your ballot:

The 7th District includes the Five Towns area plus Woodsburgh and parts of South Valley Stream and Valley Stream.

Howard J. Kopel, 72, of Lawrence, is seeking an eighth term. Currently tied for the most seniority in the chamber, he’s a contender for presiding officer if reelected. The current Republican leader, Richard Nicolello, is retiring from the legislature.

“I’d like to see if I can do some good for a while,” Kopel says when asked about that prospect. He emphasizes his penchant for seeking consensus across partisan lines.

Redistricting has condensed the district, making it more like the Five Towns district map created two decades ago. Democrat Tanvir Ahmad, 69, a newcomer to campaigning for office who lives in Hewlett, is retired as one of the high-level managers in the New York City Sanitation Department.

Both candidates see the realistic tension between a need and desire for new affordable housing in the district and a need to address long-term road congestion. Kopel says it's difficult to find solutions, especially to jams on the Nassau Expressway; he’d like to see a roundabout at one particular bottleneck in Hewlett fully explored. Ahmad says housing would be a top priority for him.

Kopel shows a healthy flexibility on the issue of distributing fentanyl test strips to prevent overdoses and deaths by seeking varying opinions from medical professionals. He voices a rational level of caution on a casino at the Hub, calling for all agreements to be strictly followed.

Resolving the financial future of Nassau University Medical Center requires restoring state aid previously cut and raising reimbursements up to the level that voluntary hospitals receive, Kopel says. He calls it an inopportune time to push ahead with another revamping of property-tax assessments, but expresses confidence that the Blakeman administration is planning longterm changes.

He has proven experience and a temperament that tends toward pragmatism.

Newsday endorses Kopel.

ENDORSEMENTS ARE DETERMINED solely by the Newsday editorial board, a team of opinion journalists focused on issues of public policy and governance. Newsday’s news division has no role in this process.


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