Written by Victoria Caruso-Davis Friday, 30 October 2009 00:00
The race for Nassau County’s 2nd Legislative District (L.D.) became a heated one back in May when current legislator Roger Corbin was arrested on charges of alleged federal income tax evasion; Corbin pleaded not guilty and, as of press time, is expected to go to trial later this month. As a result, Westbury residents Gregory Lewis, Pablo Sinclair and North Hempstead Town Councilman Robert Troiano Jr., along with Corbin, all sought to be the Democratic Party’s candidate but, prior to the Sept. 15 election, Lewis withdrew and Sinclair was kicked off the ballot. What looked like a four-way primary soon between a two-way race with Troiano defeating Corbin for the Democratic ticket and the chance to go up against Republican Derek Partee and Sinclair, who is running on the independent People’s First Party. All three candidates were asked the same questions; their responses appear alphabetically below:
Hempstead resident Derek Partee, a married father of two, is the Republican Party’s candidate. His campaign is based on “Providing Strong Representation to Build Our Communities with Leadership You Can Trust.”
Partee, who has resided in the Village of Hempstead for 53 years, is an alumnus of Hempstead High School. He earned a bachelor of science in psychology from Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA and a master’s in public administration from Long Island University – C.W. Post College.
On a local front, Partee, who ran unsuccessfully for Hempstead Village trustee in March 2009 on the Alliance Party line, is a life member of NAACP and member of Omega Psi Phi, Masonic Lodge – Doric 53 and the Ingraham Estates Civic Association. He is also involved with the Southern University Alumni Association, East Coast Gang Investigators Association, Fraternal Order of Police – Lodge 757, Association of Former Detectives and Association of Retired Police Officers.
Professionally, Partee is a retired 25-year member of the Nassau County Police Department. He joined the department in 1983 as a patrol officer and moved up the ranks, working undercover for Narcotics Bureau and as a plain clothes officer with the Bureau of Special Operations gaining extensive training on the SWAT team as an entry specialist. In 1992, he was promoted to the Detective Bureau and, two years later, assigned to the Sex Crimes squad. In 1998, Partee joined the department’s Gang Investigation Squad and, after two years, became one of the first Nassau County detectives assigned to the FBI Joint Terrorist Task Force Division. On September 11, 2001, Partee’s Squad was on corner of Vesey and Church Street when the North Tower fell and, following the attacks, he was assigned to the Evidence Recovery Team (ERT) at Ground Zero. Two years later, he was reassigned to the Nassau County Homicide Squad and remained with this unit until his retirement from the department in October 2007.
Partee told The Westbury Times that he supports economic development of Nassau’s villages and hamlets as well as the Lighthouse Project. “I see the Lighthouse [Project] being built in different phases that will enable the developers to allow the infrastructure to keep pace with construction,” he said, adding that, if elected, he will take the $39,500 legislator salary to establish a summer youth government intern program.
Partee said he is an advocate of senior citizen programs and safe housing. As legislator, said he would utilize his law enforcement experience and intergovernmental skills to “coordinate information with local and federal law enforcement agencies” as well as “communicate, delegate personnel and gather evidence and suspects to solve major cases.”
As legislator, Partee said he would work to repeal the 2.5 percent home energy tax and decrease property taxes the “Democratic Majority has increased by 43 percent” by attracting “manufacturing businesses and corporations to Nassau County.” Doing so, he said, would “increase job opportunities and lower the tax base.”
According to Partee, he is the candidate of choice because he has the “dedication [and] passion to work for the communities within the 2nd Legislative District. I have a proven record of completing goals and objectives.” Partee said he is a “25-year experienced public servant who has worked to protect life and property. I will continue to work to improve our quality of life in the district.”
Westbury resident Pablo Sinclair, a married father of four, is seeking election on the independent People’s First Party. “My governing philosophy will be ‘people first, party second.’ I am not beholden to party leaders, and, as a result, the people of the 2nd L.D. can be confident that their views and concerns are being vigorously advanced,” Sinclair said.
Sinclair earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from John Jay. College, has been employed with Verizon for 15 years, currently as manager for the Fios division. On a local front, he has served as president of the Westbury Hills Civic Association for eight of the 10 years he has lived in the community. Additionally, he is an executive board member of New Cassel’s new McCoy Center for Youth and Families and co-chaired the community’s National Night Out’s “America’s Night Out Against Crime.” Last year, Sinclair received nationwide recognition as a Grassroots Milestone Leader for his work with the “Obama for America 2008” legacy project.
Sinclair said he is running for the 2nd L.D. to provide residents with new leadership and fresh ideas. While campaigning, he said residents seemed to share the same concerns when it came jobs, education and taxes, and that these issues would be top on his “to-do” list.
To address such concerns, Sinclair proposes “crafting legislation to spur job creation in the community; increasing funding for education and related resources that allow our children to be well prepared to enter a world in which they will need to compete with peers across the globe; and bringing down property taxes, so homeowners can realize the full potential in their homes.” He added, “My plans for job creation include leveraging resources within and outside of the district to foster more economic growth – evidenced by an increase of new small businesses, innovation in the area of green technologies and realizing the potential of longtime neighborhood attractions that need to be provided with new opportunities to grow and expand.”
For Sinclair, his favorite aspect of the district is its diversity. “[This] is really a testament of the people who live in the neighborhood. I continue to be amazed at the number of different cultures, languages and houses of worship that make up the district,” he told The Westbury Tmes.
As legislator, Sinclair vows that the concerns of his neighbors and their families “will come before the misguided allegiance to political party” and said he will focus his attention “solely on the voters who entrusted [him] with this privilege and great responsibility.”
According to Sinclair, he is the candidate of choice because, “as a resident, concerned citizen and active member of the community [I will] be a strong voice…” When it comes to “real reform and accountability,” Sinclair believes he is the most qualified candidate. “[Residents] are tired of the status-quo. I am not beholden to any political party so voters can trust that I will be an independent voice for change where change is required. I will challenge party leaders when they are wrong and work with them when they are right … I will be tireless in my advocacy on behalf of residents … I will lead with the people. Their concerns and aspirations will be what drive the solutions to the important issues facing our district,” he said.
Having defeated longtime incumbent Roger Corbin in the Sept. 15 primary, Westbury resident and married father of three Robert Troiano Jr. is the Democratic Party’s candidate.
Troiano, a 46-year resident, graduated from Westbury High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology/sociology from Brown University and a master’s in business administration from Stanford University. He is a former employee of Prudential Services and currently works as a Long Island representative for the New York State Majority. In 2003, with the implementation of council districts, Troiano was elected to represent North Hempstead Council District 1 and, in 2005, was re-elected to a second term; however, with both the county seat and the town seat up for re-election at the same time, Troiano, under Election Law, was required to withdraw his bid for re-election to the town council. On a local front, he is a former Westbury Board of Education trustee/president and served on the Community Development Agency. Currently, he is a member of the Central Westbury Civic Association and the NAACP – Westbury chapter.
As legislator, Troiano said he will put the “skills, experiences and relationships developed in the town to use; build new ones in the county; and do more for the residents” in the 2nd LD. “I believe my skills and expertise [along with] my experience in business and government have prepared me to continue providing leadership for our community in the county legislature [and] equipped me to provide strong leadership from Day 1,” he said.
According to Troiano, Nassau’s high taxes rank top on his “to-do” list. “[The 2nd L.D.] has the second highest property taxes in the country. Fortunately, this year the county has frozen taxes at last year’s level. The county now represents 17 percent of the total property tax bill compared to 22 percent a few years ago. But, there is more we can do,” he said, adding that he will work to repeal the 2.5 percent energy tax passed by the current legislature because it “has a disproportionate impact on our community.”
If elected, Troiano said he will work to ensure district residents receive their fair share of services for taxes paid. “Last year, although we represent only 5 percent of Nassau’s population, 33 percent of the cuts to the county’s youth services budget were made to programs based in the 2nd L.D., This is unfair to our youth and to our community [and] I will work to restore these cuts,” he said.
While he supports the Lighthouse Project because it will create jobs and housing opportunities, Troiano told The Westbury Times that he is concerned about the congestion and wear-and-tear it will ultimately cause on county roads. If approved by the Town of Hempstead, Troiano said he will work with the “county’s planners to divert traffic away from Post Avenue [and] work with fellow legislators to pass a resolution to pay Westbury a portion of the higher tax revenues the county will receive to compensate us for the higher costs we may incur as a result of the project.”
This election, said Troiano, is about change and electing the person who can best lead the community into the future. “For the first time in 14 years, we will have a new county legislator to represent us in January,” he said. “This is one of the most challenging times in the county’s history.”
For Troiano, his favorite aspect of the district is its diversity. “Because of our cultural diversity, we find a great variety of foods in our grocery stores and our restaurants. Because of our economic diversity we have a great variety of stores to shop at from high-end boutiques to discount retail outlets. Because of our ethnic diversity we have access to an endless variety of experiences,” he said.
Troiano told The Westbury Times that he is running for the 2nd L.D. to “make a difference” and said it would be an “honor to be able to give something back to the community that has given so much to me.”