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Clavin to challenge Gillen in November

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Surrounded by dozens of supporters, Town of Hempstead Receiver of Taxes Donald Clavin announced on Feb. 19 his candidacy for Hempstead Town supervisor. “We need a supervisor that will put the priority on keeping residents in their home,” said Clavin, a Republican, outside Ancona’s Pizzeria in his hometown of Valley Stream. “We need taxpayers first.”

Clavin, receiver of taxes since 2001, criticized incumbent Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen, a Democrat, for her stance on fiscal matters. He said he was disappointed that Gillen, in her first term, voted against the town’s 2019 budget that was approved by all six council members.

Last October, Gillen proposed a budget plan that would have slightly cut taxes for most residents, but the town board rejected it and introduced its own plan to cut taxes by $11 million. Gillen, though, said the budget relied on unguaranteed savings to fund the tax cut. Clavin publicly supported the Republicans’ plan in the run-up to the vote and on Tuesday said Gillen’s no-vote went against residents’ interests.

“That is not putting taxpayers first,” he said.” A spokesman for Gillen did not respond to requests for comment by deadline. Clavin also said he would cut $1 million from the supervisor’s staff payroll on his first day in office.

Town Councilmembers Bruce Blakeman and Erin King-Sweeney, both Republicans, appeared at the press conference to support Clavin’s candidacy. “This is the face of Nassau County,” King-Sweeney said, “We’re going to lead you to victory.”

Blakeman, who in 2017 endorsed Gillen over former Town Supervisor Anthony Santino, a Republican, said Clavin would make the town an even better place to live in. “This is a great place,” he said, “this is a great town but we can’t rest on our past laurels. Our responsibility is dictated by what we do not only for our residents now, but their children and their grandchildren.”

At the press conference, the Nassau County Republican Party announced other candidates it would run for Hempstead Town seats. King-Sweeney and Blakeman are slated to run for re-election, as is Councilman Anthony D’Esposito and Dennis Dunne, Sr. Jeanine Driscoll, who could not attend the press conference, will run for receiver of taxes.

Most notably, Kate Murray, former town supervisor, was announced as the party’s choice to run against Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana, a Democrat. Murray was clerk before being appointed supervisor in 2003, a position she held until 2015 when she launched an unsuccessful bid for Nassau County district attorney against Madeline Singas, who holds the seat now.

“I know what it is to be town clerk and I know what it is to be town supervisor,” Murray said, “and Don Clavin has what it takes to be a great, great supervisor.”

Election Day is Nov. 5.