United States Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy kicked off her campaign earlier this week for re-election in her hometown of Mineola. Supporters, volunteers and local lawmakers and candidates packed into McCarthy's campaign headquarters, located at 315 Willis Avenue, to begin what they hope will be a successful campaign.
"This is my home. This will always be my home," said McCarthy, who lives about four blocks away from her campaign headquarters.
The congresswoman will be seeking her third consecutive term in the fourth congressional district. She is being opposed by Republican candidate Greg Becker, who she defeated by a 90,256 to 79,984 margin in 1998.
Mary Ellen Mendelsohn will be handling the campaign and held an open house on Tuesday to energize supporters.
New York State Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli, who is the Democratic chairman for Nassau County, said he was optimistic about McCarthy's chances for re-election.
"Carolyn's record is outstanding. Her personal popularity is higher than ever. She has an excellent reputation in the district. The issues she stands for are the important issues for the working families of the congressional district and I think she's going to have her greatest victory ever this year," he said. "Her advocacy on behalf of family issues, healthcare issues, gun violence issues and education issues [shows that] she really stands up for people. She's made a difference there."
Part of McCarthy's appeal, said one supporter, is that she personifies a "regular person" without a political agenda. McCarthy was a nurse and became involved in politics after her husband was killed and her son was badly wounded on the Long Island Rail Road nearly seven years ago.
"She's an honest person. She seems to be out there for everyone. She always tries to do the right thing," said supporter Lawrence Carroll of Williston Park.
One of McCarthy's platforms is making prescription drugs more affordable for senior citizens on Medicare. A 65-year-old New Hyde Park resident who volunteered to work on McCarthy's campaign is supporting the congresswoman because of that issue. "I feel there has to be something done for the senior citizens," said the resident who is without medical coverage.
Among some of the other issues McCarthy is concerned with are gun safety, reducing wasteful government spending, cutting taxes, strengthening Social Security, reforming HMOs, funding breast and prostate cancer research, protecting Long Island's environment, and improving education.
As McCarthy spoke to her supporters, she was reminded of the first time she ran for Congress back in 1996. "I remember standing there shaking," she said.
But, she said, that in her time in Congress she never lost sight of what she was trying to do, which was making her district a better place. "We're getting there. Hopefully, we will see a better world for everyone and that's my goal," she said.
McCarthy's thanked her volunteers and supporters and told them that they are in for a tough election. However, she vowed to continue her job with a passion since, she said, there is more work to be done. "I'm going to show that someone who really cares about the government can do a good job," she added.