Bellmore Republican Steven D. Rhoads, 50, has an unusually in-depth knowledge of his district, and it's on district issues that he shines brightest.
Ask about bus service, and he'll tell you how crucial it is that some of the additional bus money in next year's budget goes to restoring the N36 between Lynbrook and Freeport and the N62 that runs throughout Freeport. Ask him about roads, and he'll go through the county's four-year capital plan and share his excitement that part of Merrick Road is scheduled to be repaved in November.
It's not surprising that Rhoads, a firefighter in the community for 27 years, gets infrastructure. But he also understands community groups and grassroots sensibilities. When he warned County Executive Laura Curran not to charge the Seaford Little League $16,000 to use county fields last year, he won the day. The county legislature voted unanimously to stop the billing of that and other youth and senior athletic leagues.
On the county's reassessment, though, Rhoads often has been obstructive and partisan, and Curran is on the right path. He needs to fight as hard to help smooth the path of this crucial project and reassure constituents about it as he does on district needs.
Rhoads' opponent is Merrick's Jill L. Levine, 49, who is on the Democratic line but is not registered with a party. Levine has served on the Merrick school board for five years. She also runs Forever 9: The Robbie Levine Foundation, which has raised funds to provide hundreds of automatic external defibrillators for athletic facilities and schools since her son died from sudden cardiac arrest at a baseball practice. Levine is smart and passionate, and her promise of nonpartisanship rings true, but she cannot match Rhoads' expertise on local needs.
Newsday endorses Rhoads.