BY LYNN EDMONDS
Former North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman is one of the Democratic contenders running to replace Steve Israel (D-Long Island) as the congressman for New York’s 3rd congressional district after Israel announced he would retire to work on his novel.
Kaiman has been in government for over a decade. Most recently, he served as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s point person for Hurricane Sandy storm recovery. He also served as Chairman of the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority.
Before that, he was the town supervisor for North Hempstead, the fifth largest town in the country, from 2004 to 2013. During his tenure, CNN Money Magazine voted North Hempstead as one of the Top 10 Best Places to Live for Seniors.
Kaiman is also a lawyer by training and served as a Nassau County District Court Judge prior to become town supervisor.
Now, Kaiman said he was ready to take his leadership role to another level.
“I see this as an opportunity to take the skills that I have, the history, to represent our community on the national level,” he said.
Kaiman said his top issues were reducing airplane noise, managing development, helping seniors age in place, defending the state of Israel, and protecting a woman’s right to choose as well as standing up for Planned Parenthood.
Expanding on the development issue, Kaiman said he wanted to “make sure communities have a say in the way their communities are developed and redeveloped.”
He also said he wanted to come up with national resources to bolster infrastructure.
Additionally, Kaiman came out in strong support of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“The hard working men and woman across New York and the country are long overdue for a raise,” Kaiman said in a statement. “The average salary in this country does not reflect the realities of today’s costs of living, and it doesn’t compensate for work being performed. If I’m elected to the 3rd district, one of my top priorities will be to support or author legislation that will increase the minimum age nationally and improve the lives of working people throughout our country.”
He also has a social justice platform. Kaiman describes himself as “an ardent supporter in LGBTQ causes” and says he favors increasing government protections against discrimination. He also supports the Pay Fairness Act, which strives to bring women’s pay in line with men’s, describing it as “one of the first bills” he would sponsor. Lastly, he supports Family and Medical Leave, which provides 12 weeks of paid family leave, two weeks of paid vacation and one week of paid sick days for every full time employee in the country.
Other issues mentioned on his website are strengthening the economy, addressing climate change, bringing a new Supreme Court justice to the bench, opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and helping Co-op owners.
Former U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, who founded the Queens Tribune and represented much of the same territory in the 3rd District from 1983-2013, recently endorsed Kaiman.
The 3rd district covers most of the north shore of Long Island, including the much of Suffolk and Nassau Counties. It also covers a small chunk of northeast Queens including Whitestone, Beechhurst, Malba, Bay Terrace, Douglaston, Little Neck and North Shore Towers.
Since 1965 the seat has been alternately held by Republican and Democratic candidates.
Though Queens’s voters in the district are relatively few, they are known to come out in full force on Election Day and they tend to be more Democratic than Nassau and Suffolk constituents, making them important in the Democratic primary, which will be held this year on June 28.
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400 x127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Ellinoamerikana