Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 17 February 2012 00:00
One would be surprised to attend a community event in Hicksville without crossing paths with former Town of Oyster Bay Councilwoman and current Nassau County Legislator Rose Marie Walker.
A lifelong resident of Hicksville, the legislator attended and worked at private and parochial schools in the area, including St. Stephen’s Nursery School and the Hicksville Union Free School District. She earned a degree in education from Belmont Abbey/Sacred Heart College in North Carolina.
Walker has played a role in almost every aspect of life in Hicksville, ranging from the board of education to youth sports. The Hicksville Illustrated News recently caught up with Legislator Walker to discuss her background and issues in the 17th Legislative District.Q: What influenced you to become involved in local government?
A: I have been involved in my community, in our schools and in my parish for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Hicksville and being blessed with amazing role models, my parents, I learned at an early age that being involved and giving back to your community enriched us all. Eight years ago, I decided to take the next step and run for an elected position in the Town of Oyster Bay. I happily and proudly served the residents of Oyster Bay for six years as a Councilwoman and now proudly represent the 17th Legislative District of Nassau County.
Q: After earning your degree – what brought you back to Hicksville?
A: Just like many young people today, I left Hicksville for college. Although at times I thought I would settle in North Carolina, my heart belonged to the love of my life – my late husband John. John was also a Hicksville resident, so I married and we raised our family here in Hicksville. We both were involved in our community, schools, sports groups and organizations. We always worked hard with so many others to make our community a better place.
Q: As a former Catholic school student, what is your opinion on St. Ignatius Loyola School’s closure at the end of the year?
A: I am deeply saddened by the impending closure of St. Ignatius School. St. Ignatius School is the oldest Catholic school that is currently still open in the Diocese. I was blessed to have worked there, right out of college, as a substitute teacher. Although it is not my parish, it is home to me – a part of the family. It is a wonderful parish and school. I, along with the families and students of St. Ignatius, am deeply saddened to see the school closed. I have reached out to do all I can to be of assistance to them, as well as another school in my district in Farmingdale.
Q: Discuss some of your work regarding senior housing and “Next Gen” housing.
A: As a former councilwoman, I was instrumental, along with my colleagues on the Town Board, in the expansion of senior housing developments and initializing new Next Gen Housing. I will continue to work with our local municipalities to further this housing.
Last year, I, along with my colleagues on the County Legislature, approved the County Executive’s plan to renovate and provide housing to dozens of veterans and their families as well as additional housing for active military personnel at Mitchel Field in East Garden City. In addition, last June, we at the County Legislature approved plans to transfer a vacant County-owned property in Hicksville to a not-for-profit corporation that will construct a home for a returning veteran. I am very excited that this first-of-its kind development is in the Hicksville community.
Q: When you look back on your work, what are some of the more memorable projects you’ve been a part of?
A: Working with residents on a daily basis regarding their concerns and helping resolve their problems is important to me. I have worked on numerous environmental projects – John Walker Memorial Park, refurbishing Cpl. Kevin Kolm Memorial Park, The Hicksville Community Center, Hicksville PAL Athletic Building and worked together with the Town of Oyster Bay, Nassau County, and the Hicksville School District in turfing Hicksville High School field and redoing the High School Track, used by students and community. Recent and current projects include the Hicksville Triangle Project, the West John Street Project, the Jerusalem Avenue Project and field upgrades at Cantiague Park along with many other projects in other communities in my district.
Q: What else should residents know about your work as a legislator?
A: No matter where I go within our community, meeting with residents of all ages, I always want our residents to know that I am here to represent and serve them.
Do not hesitate to write or call my office with any concern or problem you might have. Once again, it is an honor and privilege for me to represent and serve you. Together with County Executive Mangano and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, we will continue to improve Hicksville and Nassau County.