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Q&A: Candidates for Hempstead Town Supervisor

Anton Newspapers asked Republican incumbent Kate Murray and Democratic challenger Gary Port to respond to the following questions

Gary Port

Since the majority of voters did not approve floating bonds to fund the Hub project, what is the next step for instituting a new plan for the site and how will you work with the county to do so?

The role of the Town government should be to facilitate ideas and planning. While the County owns the property, the Town controls the use through zoning. Therefore, the Town needs to create a realistic plan with attractive zoning to encourage private investment.

When discussing the Hub, we must prioritize preserving/improving quality of life, keeping the Islanders on Long Island and creating real long-term sustainable jobs for residents at all levels of employment. To do this all, we must have a community/group effort.

When elected, I will bring players to the table from government, workforce, business leaders, and community organizations so that every idea is heard, so that we have a shovel ready project. Ideas have been proposed and it is time for real leadership to bring those ideas together for the good of the community.

What is your plan to create jobs and revitalize areas in the township that are suffering?

The critical problems facing the town are unemployment, empty offices, empty stores and high taxes. These problems are inter-related and fuel each other. The problems cannot be solved individually or piecemeal. There must be a proactive, holistic approach design to ultimately attract new businesses and sustain present ones. The Port campaign is about Jobs Now!

Convene an economic development forum to immediately identify solutions and design a direct course of action.

Form a non-partisan economic advisory council to tackle our economic problems.

Work to promote faster access to job growth by implementing zoning reform and establishing a department to provide direct assistance to expedite new investment.

Establish an International Free Trade Zone where companies can set up facilities to add value to imported goods brought into and out of the United States through JFK Airport and other port facilities without being subject to tariffs.

Inject global and local investment into the Town of Hempstead. With the right leadership, our assets – educated, skilled workforce; geographic span, and location in the New York metropolis - could entice companies to locate here. Gary Port and the TOHDC Family will offer that leadership.

Place the Town of Hempstead at the forefront of leading the Green Jobs Revolution by developing retrofitting projects for all Town properties and incentivize private industries to do the same. Examples: new heating, air conditioning, lighting, insulation, and energy-efficient glass.

Develop a community cultural committee of local residents that will encourage art houses, craft beer companies, domestic wine companies and movie studios to open administrative offices to conduct their daily business operations within the Town of Hempstead.

Establish a resource base to support local community re-visioning initiatives to promote redevelopment of downtown and commercial Brownfield areas.

Incentivize businesses to hire locally by allowing companies to set up recruitment booths at Town Council Meetings, aka a “Job Fair.”

Cap senior staff and commissioner salaries to make economic resources available for additional low to mid level employment.

Many other townships are consolidating services in order to save taxpayers money during difficult economic times. What is one glaring cost in the town’s budget that you would reduce if you are elected/re-elected?

Since 2003, the budget at the Town Animal Shelter has more than doubled, while the services provided have declined. According to Newsday, the shelter is stocked with highly paid, unqualified political appointees. The shelter needs to be reformed.

The Town also sends out useless bi-weekly mailers. The sole purpose of the useless and banal information is to keep the supervisor’s name and face in the public eye.

The mailers would be eliminated. Since 2003, the current Supervisor has painted her name on everything within the Town from signs, to trucks. It is purely political and cost the taxpayer obscene amounts. That practice would be eliminated.