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Special Election: 9th Senate District

Green Party nominee Laurence "Seth" Hirsh offers his views


North Woodmere resident Laurence “Seth” Hirsh said he is running as the Green Party candidate in the special election to fill the vacant 9th Senate District seat in the State Legislature “to eliminate corruption in Albany.”

“He’s well-versed in economic issues, studied the state issues focusing on taxes as he’s an accountant and ran previously for legislator,” said Nassau County Green Party Chairman Jim Brown, explaining why Hirsh was selected as their candidate. Hirsh lost to County Legislator Carrié Solages (D-Elmont) in last year’s Democratic primary.

Incumbent State Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) and Republican candidate and Hewlett Harbor resident Christopher McGrath, both attorneys, are also running in the special election to be held on April 19, the day of the presidential primary in New York state, for the State Senate’s 9th District seat vacated by Dean Skelos after his December conviction on corruption charges.

The 9th District encompasses Atlantic Beach, Baldwin, East Atlantic Beach, East Rockaway, Elmont, the Five Towns, Franklin Square, Island Park, Lido Beach, Long Beach, Lynbrook, Malverne, Oceanside, Point Lookout, Rockville Centre, South Hempstead, Valley Stream and West Hempstead.

Hirsh, 56, an accountant who runs his private practice from his home, wants to impose a 1 percent tax, what he calls a stock transfer tax, on all Wall Street transactions that involve options and futures trading on essential commodities such as fuel, wheat and barley. The money would pay for unfunded mandates and statewide county revenue sharing that would be used for infrastructure improvements and a new rail system from Albany to New York City. He also wants to create a state-charted bank that would also be funded by the stock transfer tax.

“I believe private banks are a complete rip off, a state-charted bank is not based on fees,” Hirsh said. “I think it would be a big help like a federal credit union.”

He also wants to reduce the state portion of sales and thinks the money from the stock transfer tax would make up for that lost revenue.

Believing that healthcare is “a human right,” Hirsh supports the creation of a state-sponsored single-payer healthcare system.

To combat the corruption and conflicts of interest that has infested the State Legislature, Hirsh believes that increasing the salary from the current $79,500 to about $100,000 and establishing term limits — two terms of either two to four years — as well as setting limits on leadership roles. He also supports public campaign financing and closing the state’s “LLC loophole” that allows special interest groups to channel millions of dollars into political campaigns, circumventing contribution limits and disclosure requirements.

“State contractors should be prohibited from making state contributions and should create a publicly accessible database of their contracts,” Hirsh said.

His opponents didn’t comment on Hirsh’s candidacy, but explained why they are running. “Elections are about ideas and I am for cleaning up Albany with fixed term limits and eliminating pensions for politicians when they are found guilty of a felony,” McGrath said.

“I have a belief that government works and I saw that when I was with the U.S. Attorney’s office,” Kaminsky said. “If you conduct yourself properly you can get things done.”

Comments about this story? Send a Letter to the Editor to jbessen@liherald.com.