The Herald endorses Steve Rhoads, a Republican from Bellmore, for Nassau County legislator in the 19th District. Rhoads was elected two years ago in a special election against Rita Kestenbaum, a Democrat from Bellmore. The election was called after Rhoads’s predecessor, David Denenberg, a Democrat from Merrick, pleaded guilty to scamming a private law client out of $2.3 million and resigned from office. District 19 includes Wantagh, Seaford, Bellmore, Merrick and Freeport.
After two years in a law-making position, it is clear that Rhoads has proven that he is up to the job. He is affable and approachable. He is, as one Herald editorial board member described him, the kind of guy you’d like to have lunch with. That, we believe, is perhaps the most important quality a county legislator can possess. One of his or her key responsibilities, after all, is constituent services. Legislators must be open to hearing residents’ concerns. By all accounts, Rhoads is.
He first got involved in politics at age 12, when he volunteered for then-State Assemblyman Fred Parola to earn extra points for a school assignment. That led to a lifetime interest and involvement in government.
Before becoming a legislator, Rhoads was a Nassau County attorney for five years, and then went into private practice. He has served on the county’s Open Space and Parks Advisory Committee, helping to map out the best use of Nassau’s parks, preserves and dwindling open spaces. He is a longtime Wantagh Fire Department volunteer, a former department captain and currently serves on the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District Heroin Prevention Task Force.
We like his opponent, Jeff Gold, also of Bellmore. He has been an attorney in private practice for nearly 30 years, and is a former commissioner of the Nassau County Civil Service Commission. He is very involved in his community, serving on various civic associations and residing in Bellmore for 24 years. He is particularly concerned with crafting legislation to make American Water tax-free. Gold did not give us reason enough to favor him over an increasingly popular legislator who is doing his job and is visible in the community.
Voters should show Rhoads their support on Election Day.