In an era when too many politicians seem to be focused primarily on staying in office, U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy has announced that she will be stepping down, and State Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. has already done so. We, and the people of Nassau County, will miss both of these effective, well-liked legislators.
McCarthy, a Democrat from Mineola, announced last week that she would not seek re-election to a 10th term in Congress this fall. Although she was labeled by many a single-issue politician for her passionate pursuit of gun control, she has proven to be the epitome of a public servant. She does not seek the limelight, but honestly wants to make life better for her constituents.
McCarthy was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1996, three years after her husband, Dennis, was killed and her son, Kevin, was seriously injured when gunman Colin Ferguson opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road train, killing six and wounding 19. She became known as the fiercest gun control advocate in Washington, but she also took an active interest in education, health and finance.
McCarthy is a senior member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce; a ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education; and also serves on the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training.
Her National Instant Criminal Background Check System Improvement Amendments Act was signed into law in 2008. The law is designed to provide states with grants to upgrade their systems for determining who is and is not eligible to own firearms. It also requires all federal agencies to update their databases with information on those who may be ineligible to purchase guns.
McCarthy, who’s now 70, has been battling lung cancer since June, and says that’s one of the main reasons why she will not run again, but she vows to continue her service as a volunteer and advocate.