Former Olympic gold medalist with Great Neck roots, Sarah Hughes, to run for CD4

Former Olympic gold medalist with Great Neck roots, Sarah Hughes, to run for CD4
Former Great Neck resident and Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes. (Photo courtesy of Hughes)

Sarah Hughes, an Olympic gold medalist who grew up in Great Neck, has filed to run for the 4th Congressional District seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park).

Hughes took home the gold medal for the women’s singles event during the 2002 Winter Olympics, defeating Michelle Kwan, who took bronze, and Irina Slutskaya, who took silver.

She will be running in the Democratic primary against former Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, who filed to run for the seat last week after losing to D’Esposito in November’s election.

Daughter of John Hughes and Amy Pastarnack, Hughes was born in Great Neck and attended Great Neck North High School.

After graduation, she attended Yale University, earning her bachelor’s degree in American studies with a concentration in U.S. politics and communities.

Hughes was on the cover of Time magazine skating over the Rocky Mountains after qualifying for the games with a bronze medal win at the 2002 U.S. Championships and her second consecutive bronze medal win at the Grand Prix Final.

She is the only American woman to have won the Olympic title without having won either a World or U.S. senior national title.

Hughes retired shortly after her Olympic win in 2003. Hughes’ younger sister Emily was also an Olympic competitor during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

Immediate efforts to reach Hughes for comment were unavailing.

Gillen, who unsuccessfully ran for the seat in 2022 against D’Esposito said in a press release Wednesday morning she will work across the aisle to serve 4th District residents and not play any partisan games.

“Nassau’s South Shore is my home. It’s where I have lived and served for decades. Now in the face of the reckless conduct and fraud we’ve witnessed in a few short months, I have never been more determined to fight for this district,” Gillen said Wednesday. “I want Long Islanders to be safe in our communities and free from the plague of gun violence, and we must ensure that residents can afford to stay here and thrive.”

The 4th Congressional District comprises central and southern Nassau County, including Floral Park, Garden City, Hempstead, Mineola, Carle Place, New Hyde Park and Westbury. Under newly drawn redistricting maps, it also takes in the villages of East Williston, Williston Park, Lake Success and some unincorporated parts of the Town of North Hempstead.

Gillen, who served as supervisor for the largest township in the United States from 2018-19, was the first Democrat elected to the position in a century in an upset over incumbent Anthony Santino.

Prior to serving as supervisor, Gillen worked at the law firm of Westerman Ball Ederer Miller Zucker & Sharfstein.

Gillen stressed the importance of having Long Island have equal Democratic and Republican representatives., a trend which shifted to all Republicans after the 2022 election. The former supervisor said D’Esposito’s political affiliations are harmful for 4th District residents and Long Island.

“Anthony D’Esposito has aligned himself with Kevin McCarthy and Marjorie Taylor Greene and celebrates putting our economy on the brink of collapse and cutting critical national programs for public safety, veterans, seniors and our schools,” she said. “Historically, Long Island’s congressional delegation had a long tradition of bipartisan representation, where voices on both sides collectively advocated for residents from Atlantic Beach to Montauk.”

Gillen also touted the need to introduce common sense gun legislation, protect a woman’s right to choose and to “preserve and strengthen the middle class.”

New York’s 4th Congressional District could be eyed by Democrats as one to potentially flip in 2024, according to The New Republic.

D’Esposito is one of 18 House Republicans that represent districts President Joe Biden won in 2020. Biden won NY-4 by 17 points, according to multiple reports.

The congressman voted in favor of passing the Limit, Save, Grow Act, which passed 217-215 with all but four House Republicans voting for it.

Within the bill was a provision to raise the debt ceiling through next year and $131 billion in cuts to discretionary domestic spending, according to The New Republic.

Gillen was endorsed by former Democratic 4th District U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice in her campaign last year. She defeated Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett, Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages and Muzibul Huq in last year’s Democratic Primary race.

Gillen received more than 12,400 votes, 63%, in the 4th Congressional Primary, while Solages received 4,811, Corbett received 2,169 and Huq received 297 votes.

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