Francis X. Becker, a member of the County Legislature since its inaugural session in 1996, is running unopposed for his 10th consecutive term in office.
Because of the new redistricting maps, beginning Jan. 1, the 6th District will cover all or parts of North Valley Stream, Valley Stream, Malverne, Lynbrook, North Lynbrook, Rockville Centre, Hewlett and Woodmere. Becker’s district will no longer include East Rockaway or Oceanside, and will include a different portion of Rockville Centre.
Over the years, Becker has developed a reputation for strong constituent services. With or without an opponent, he has taken an average of 66 percent of the vote. He says he takes pride in being able to help district residents with their problems, so there is no denying his enthusiasm and skills in prioritizing constituents’ needs.
Coming from a political family, he said he believes that holding elected office is a public service — a “vocation,” as he calls it — and he has put people over politics in some cases that we’ve seen. He is rarely in-and-out for a photo shoot, as are some other elected officials at community events, but sits and talks with veterans and senior citizens and seems genuinely interested in their issues.
Although Becker’s answers to our questions frequently involved patting County Executive Ed Mangano and the Republican Party on the back, we understand the need for teamwork. We hope, however, that he can break from the pack and chose his constituents over his party if their respective interests diverge.
The headline of a Herald editorial in 2011 was “Legislature puts party before people.” On the page above our then-endorsement of Becker, we wrote, “Too many of them lack the brainy imagination and the bold independence to stand up to their leadership and fight for what’s good for Nassau County. We cannot let the county Republican and Democratic political machines continue to enshrine a system that disables due deliberation and ingenuity and encourages legislators to just go along with their party’s caucus.”
We still believe this to be true, with very few exceptions — but we do believe that Becker is, in the best sense, a public servant — one who represents the people of his district with earnestness and commitment. We urge voters to support him on Tuesday.