Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 27 August 2010 00:00
In addition to the Republican Party primary for the 5th Congressional District, the Democrats will have their own primary for the same seat on Sept. 14 as East Meadow resident Patricia Maher will challenge incumbent Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights).
An Aug. 17 decision by an Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court has placed her name on the ballot for the Tuesday, Sept. 14 primary. That ruling reserved an earlier lower court decision that had invalidated petition signatures. Ms. Maher said that during the process a number of her volunteers had been subpoenaed to appear in court. Petitioners in the case were Nicholas DiMartino and Rep. Ackerman.
Responding to her win on her appeal Maher stated, “It was a feeble attempt by Ackerman to subvert the democratic process and prevent voters from participating in the ballot access process. Voting rights are vitally important to our nation. It strikes in the face of democracy that a sitting Congressman would attempt to sabotage a fundamental tenet of our nation, that we are a government of the people, by the people, for the people by trying to block my right to run for elective office.
“Ackerman tried to turn the election law backwards to the days where burdensome hyper-technicalities kept decent hard working candidates off of the ballot. If left unchallenged, Ackerman would have seriously impeded the ballot access process, created havoc by promoting needless litigation, wasted taxpayers money and reversed us back to the days of using artificial restrictions to keep legitimate candidates from challenging the party machine,” said Maher.
Ackerman was able to throw Maher off the ballot through a lower court decision. But Maher appealed the case to the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department. The Appellate Division unanimously by a vote of 5 to 0 overturned the lower court’s decision and placed Patricia Maher back on the ballot.
Attempts by Anton Newspapers to reach Rep. Ackerman’s office for a comment proved unsuccessful.
Ms. Maher is currently the Director of Development and Community Relations for a not-for-profit health care foundation covering Long Island. As the director, she is the liaison for the organization for community, civic and business organizations.
Ms. Maher said as a congresswoman she would create jobs by creating local infrastructure improvement projects, cutting payroll taxes, and proposing extending additional seed money to continue and encourage start up business to “sustain and create long lasting jobs.” Ms. Maher also said she would preserve Medicare for seniors and veterans by eliminating what she called the long-term disparity in health insurance premiums, while focusing on the cost-of-living disparity for veterans that she also claimed disproportionately reduces their benefits.
In recent years, Ms. Maher has been holding housing forums in conjunction with the Long Island Housing Partnership, which she claimed has encouraged the government to pass laws to create affordable new homes for numerous Nassau County residents.
Rep. Ackerman has served in Congress since 1983, when he won a special election to fill the seat of the deceased congressman, Benjamin Rosenthal. He will be seeking his 14th term to that institution.
Rep. Ackerman’s committee assignments include serving on the Committee on Financial Services, the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, where he serves as vice chairman, and the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. On foreign affairs, Rep. Ackerman serves on the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment, and the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, where he also serves as chairman.
Among Rep. Ackerman’s legislative achievements has been the passage of his Baby AIDS legislation. The measure requires mandatory HIV testing of newborns and disclosure of the results to the mother.