It appears as though when the final election results come in for the Town of Hempstead Levittown will have suffered another loss. Recent media coverage of the Town of Hempstead elections have made a big issue of the GOP's loss of the third town board seat but this loss goes beyond political parties for Levittowners.
Two of the three candidates for the town board who were up for re-election had strong Levittown ties and have used those ties for the good of the community.
Linda Reed, who was appointed a Town of Hempstead Councilwoman in January 1998 and was re-elected in November 1998 is a Wantagh resident (Levittown School District), a graduate of MacArthur High School and works at the Levittown Memorial Education Center. She has been involved in a large variety of activities in the community for many years.
Gary Hudes was appointed to the town board this past July and was running in his first election. He has been a Levittown resident for 18 years and is a well-known face in the community and around the county as he also serves as the president of the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce, among his many other activities.
An issue was made of the fact that these two board members, along with their fellow candidate Bob Barra, who was appointed at the same time as Hudes, were all appointed to their positions. In bringing attention to how these board members got their positions, what they have done since their appointments was overlooked.
Although Hudes only became a town councilman this summer, he already made his mark in the town and especially in Levittown. When Councilman Hudes, while walking around the community, heard about a concern that Island Trees residents had about the safety of their children because of a truck entrance on Wantagh Avenue for Target, which would be right next to two Island Trees' schools, he took the initiative to find out what could be done to help the residents and preserve the safety of area children. Because of his efforts on behalf of the residents of Island Trees, the school district, town and the property developers were able to reach a compromise to preserve the safety of the children and it was decided that there would be no truck entrance on Wantagh Avenue. While this was not his only contribution during his tenure on town board, it could very well be considered one of the most significant for the people of Levittown.
Councilwoman Reed has had more time to serve the people of the Town of Hempstead and Levittown residents have benefited greatly from her tenure on the board. From helping the residents of Levittown when they were concerned about the proposal for a Home Depot at Nassau Mall, which would abut two elementary schools, to developing a students in government program in the town, to helping the Levittown Senior Citizen Center set up the Vial of Life Program which provides for prompt and efficient emergency assistance for seniors, Reed has made her presence known throughout the community in the last two years. She was recently honored as the East Meadow Civic Association's Woman of the Year because of the contributions she made to that community in the last year. In speaking to residents from the different communities recently, it is clear that although she may have been appointed to office originally she was elected to office last November because of her record.
Both Hudes and Reed have also been active in the plans for the revitalization of Hempstead Turnpike and have contributed greatly to that effort. They were also both involved in helping to scale back the expansion of Hempstead Turnpike in Levittown so it would not become a nine-lane highway.
In looking at these records of service one has to consider what impact the loss of these two councilmembers will have on Levittown. This community will go from having two residents as board members to not having a single person from Levittown, Island Trees, East Meadow, Wantagh, or Seaford on the board. Will these areas see the same type of service as they have over the past two years? That remains to be seen.
In speaking to both Councilwoman Linda Reed and Councilman Gary Hudes since the election, I was pleased to be informed by them that they have no intention of disappearing into the woodwork. They are in office until Dec. 31 and plan to stay just as active in the community and the workings of the town as they have previously and if the number of events they have attended in the last two weeks are any indication they are off to a good start. To their credit, both Hudes and Reed have said that once they are out of office they have no intention of abandoning the projects they have begun. They still plan to be a part of the Hempstead Turnpike revitalization as well as many of the other happenings in Levittown and the surrounding communities.
So, while Levittown and the surrounding areas may have lost their personal representation on the Town of Hempstead Board and the town lost some very good representatives because of politics, politics will not keep Hudes and Reed from continuing to serve the communities they have committed themselves to in the ways in which they are able.
Congratulations to both Councilwoman Reed and Councilman Hudes on a fine job in office, a fair campaign and all your efforts on behalf of the community. You may not have won your elections but the residents who know you, know all that you have done and look forward to all that you will continue to do.