In 2011, the Herald encouraged District 3 residents to vote for a young Democratic challenger, Carrie Solages, instead of 16-year incumbent Republican Legislator John Ciotti, primarily because the then-32-year-old Solages was passionate and energetic, and had some fresh ideas. This year we endorse Solages, who’s now 34, to represent the reshaped district for the same reasons, although his opponent, fellow Elmont resident Naomie Jean-Philippe, made us think long and hard about our choice.
In District 3, which covers parts of Elmont, North Valley Stream, Valley Stream, South Valley Stream, North Woodmere and Inwood, one of Solages’s strengths is that he speaks up about perceived injustices, and lobbies hard to spur change for the better. He has connected with residents by riding on buses with them, hosting community workshops and going door to door to gauge their concerns. In the weeks leading up to Election Day, Solages remained as active in his district as he was in his first hours in office. He is smart, articulate and as personable as they come.
We have noticed, however, that he too often speaks with a partisan voice. We encourage him to keep in mind that not every issue comes down to Democrat vs. Republican; most, in fact, do not. Too often, he seems to be the Democratic Party’s representative, not his whole district’s. He must remember that his constituency is not just the Democrats in the 3rd, and not just those who agree with him, but everyone else in the district as well. His status as a minority member in a Republican-majority Legislature should not be an excuse to only gripe and protest.
Jean-Philippe, 25, said she would find ways to get things done in the district regardless of party interests. She is smart and talented, and has a praiseworthy passion for public service. We consider her volunteer work with State Assemblyman Tom Alfano a helpful precursor to bigger things, and encourage her to stay involved. As a third-year law student, she needs a little more time and experience to become a potentially effective public servant, though, given her already worthy ideas, we expect to see her again sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, Solages has earned a second term.