Republicans Cindy Grosz and Douglas Tuman are going head-to-head in the 4th Congressional District primary race.
The Herald asked Grosz and Tuman questions focusing on issues vital to the residents of the 4th C.D., which encompasses several suburban communities in southern and central Nassau County.
Herald: What issue or concern is at the top of your list for the 4th C.D.?
Grosz: I want make New York’s 4th Congressional District great again. Today, many residents of the 4th C.D. live in fear. Fear of violence and threats, fear of paying bills and not having a job, fear of possible illness and fear of losing a comfortable, suburban lifestyle. Congresswoman Kathleen Rice votes more than 70 percent with progressive Democrats and it has been a long while since she actually introduced legislation that has been passed into law. She has done nothing to alleviate the stresses and costs that have built under her term in office.
I remember when the Nassau County Republicans were leaders within the country. Now, because of the Democrat representation, or more accurately, the lack of representation of Rice, we have no clout in Washington, D.C. today. Rice supports the failed bail and discovery reform that is putting criminals back on our streets and creates an environment ripe for the criminal element and gangs. Rice’s response to the horrific killing of George Floyd was not to call out Antifa and the rioting and looting that not only diminished the message of those protesting the killing, thus encouraged the protesters to spread throughout the country in an angry and violent manner. Hopefully, we have seen a calming in the protests.
Tuman: When I set out to run my top issue was to improve our infrastructure. Most of the 4th C.D. resides within the Town of Hempstead where I am the commissioner of engineering.
As commissioner, I have implemented innovative technologies to improve our infrastructure more efficiently and fairly. As your congressman I would use the local knowledge I have acquired on what our needs are to strongly advocate for federal funding to improve traffic and mass transit, fix crumbling roads, ensure we have clean drinking water, and fund large-scale projects to mitigate damages from the inevitable next big storm — like floodgates along our shoreline. These are not national issues. These are local issues that the community cares about. Now, in light of Covid-19 and the George Floyd tragedy, my priority is to rebuild our economy and come back stronger, safer and more united than ever before. My priority now is to get things back to normal.
Herald: What adjustments would you make to better support businesses and school districts once the coronavirus pandemic is over?
Grosz: I chaired the first Long Island/Queens Drive for Freedom as part of the national campaign to reopen businesses. More importantly, I have also been involved in discussions originated in Washington, D.C. to assist small businesses receive much needed help and support.
We have to work hand-in-hand with business owners, big and small, to get back to work, but not on the backs of the taxpayers. During the pandemic, I have taken part in conference calls with top officials including Barr, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx and President Trump. My contribution as a layman participant brought insight to the discussions. I expect to be able to bring more to the 4th C.D. as an elected official without the added tax burden that is already crushing the people of the district.
Tuman: First, I would make sure things re-open swiftly and stay open. The federal government can not continue to prop-up an economy that is not fully open. It is not sustainable and it is unfair to the future generations that will have to foot the bill. Our business, schools and local governments need the economy to get back to normal for local tax dollars to flow again, so budgets can be met. Schools need to be open so parents can work. We need to let citizens practice common sense.
I will work to make sure New York gets its fair share of coronavirus relief funds from Washington. New York is one of only seven states that sends more taxes to Washington than it gets back in federal spending. I will fight for tax relief by simplifying tax codes and by eliminating the federal cap on state and local property tax (SALT) deductions which will put more money in homeowners pockets to spend in our local economy. I will protect businesses from being over regulated in reaction to Corona, where new regulations will inevitably create disadvantages and new costs. I will oppose any policies that may make our communities less safe. Without a strong sense of safety, an open and free society can not flourish and our local economy can not fully blossom. I will thus fight to make sure our police are always properly funded.
Herald: With regards to the George Floyd killing and seeing the number of protests throughout New York, what more can be done to address race relations?
Grosz: I agree with the President’s Law & Order stance. A civil society needs rules and laws to protect its citizens’ property and livelihood. I would advocate for a citizen and police commission to work together to keep both the welfare and concerns of the citizens of the community as well as the police officers addressed. This is not meant to be a temporary band-aid to cover up the hurts that are ailing our country. This should be a permanent commission that includes representation of the entire community. The commission should include law enforcement, social workers/guidance counselors, religious leaders, business owners and homeowners.
There are other issues that are important and need attention. I have been on the record and outspoken about the black on Jewish hate ignored by the Democratic Party, other than press opportunities for elected officials suggesting we all work together. Where is the legislation?
As an education activist, I wrote legislation five years ago that called for “education oversight.” Our classrooms, textbooks and school assignments are filled with opinions, rather than facts, often filled with bias and prejudice. We have lowered the bar so much for success, that we have a generation angry and frustrated, and this policy is failing.
Tuman: I believe the key is communication. First, we need to all start listening and respecting each other more. Second, we need to unite and rally our diverse community around a shared vision of making the American dream a reality for all of us. We need to focus on what unites us and not on what divides us. We need to realize that there are those that benefit from keeping people divided and that they are not looking out for our best interests. We need to tune out the media and get off social media and come out of our homes and look at each other for what we are, neighbors.
We need to come together and realize we all want the same things for ourselves and our families and that if we work together, we can create a society where everyone can safely act as individuals, with equal opportunity, toward their own pursuit of happiness. Each and every one of us needs to put effort into fixing the rifts in our communities. As a congressman, I will do my part by fairly representing all my constituents and will work to build a society that everyone can equally participate in and benefit from.
Herald: What makes you the best candidate to challenge Rice?
Grosz: I am running because I have the ability to make success happen. My opponent has no experience with national issues, he doesn’t support the Trump administration’s agenda. I find it troubling that John Novello, former Town of Hempstead deputy buildings commissioner who was arrested on Sept. 5, 2019 for stealing more than $59,000 from the Cedarhurst Republican Committee has been brought on as one of my opponent’s advisors. Republicans need to restore the local GOP and I can help lead the way.
Tuman: Kathleen Rice has lost touch with our district and the Democrats have lost touch with what it means to be American. I am an attorney who will be a fierce advocate for the people and I am a professional engineer who knows how to take an analytical approach toward solving problems. I am an independent thinker and doer who will stick to my mission of being a true representative of the people, without being swayed by interest groups.
I intend on being the most hands-on representative this district has ever seen. I will bring people together by focusing on what unites us as opposed to what divides us. I will make it clear to all our constituents that we need to work together to ensure that we all live in a safe community where we have the equal opportunity to benefit from our free and open society. That is why my slogan is "build a brighter future together."