Four Dems run for Rice’s seat in Aug. 23 congressional primary

Four Dems run for Rice’s seat in Aug. 23 congressional primary
Democrats Laura Gillen (top left), Keith Corbett (top right), Carrie Solages (bottom left) and Muzibul Huq (bottom right) are running in the 4th Congressional District primary. (Photos by Noah Manskar and Janelle Clausen, courtesy of the candidates)

Four Democrats are running in the state’s 4th Congressional District primary election on Aug. 23.

Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett, former Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, Muzibul Huq and Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages are vying to face Republican candidate and Hempstead Councilman Anthony D’Esposito in the district’s general election in November.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Anthony D’Esposito, who serves as a councilman representing the Town of Hempstead’s 4th District. D’Esposito, a retired NYPD detective who lives in Island Park, was endorsed by the Nassau County Republican Party in March.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) announced in February that she would not seek re-election this year. Rice, who was first elected to Congress in 2014 and is in the midst of her fourth term, said that elected officials “must give all we have and then know when it is time to allow others to serve.”

In March, Rice announced her endorsement of Gillen to succeed her in Congress, lauding the candidate’s “political tenacity” and ability to “get things done.”

Gillen, who served as supervisor for the largest township in the United States from 2018 to 2019, was the first Democrat elected to the position in a century in an upset over incumbent Anthony Santino. Now shifting her focus to a congressional campaign, Gillen, 53, said some of her focus will be on aiding Nassau County’s middle-class families and addressing issues such as gun violence and climate change.

Some of the issues facing the district that Gillen believes are the most pressing include the economy, crime, gun safety, women’s reproductive rights and voting rights. Gillen said working to repeal the cap on state and local taxes and providing financial relief for middle-class families are some of her top priorities, if elected.

Getting illegal weapons off the street, she said, will aid in diminishing the growing crime rates throughout the district, along with sensible gun legislation and universal background checks. Removing hindrances for women to access the necessary health programs and family planning resources, she said, are also of vital importance to her.

Corbett, 43, has been the mayor of Malverne since 2019 while also practicing as an attorney for the Harris Beach law firm. Corbett, who has experience in election law, represented President Barack Obama and counseled President Joe Biden’s campaign.

Issues that Corbett believes are pertinent in the race are making sure the Democratic Party has the right messaging and branding in order to show the electorate that Democratic policies are ones that work for everybody, he said in an interview with Blank Slate Media. Corbett specifically alluded to fringe sections of the party he believes wrongly declare themselves as Democrats and taint the party’s ideals.

“When you go out and message and speak to points, there is a socialist contingent that is still thriving,” Corbett said.

Corbett says he is a centrist Democrat, calling himself a “true Democrat” who supports policies that work on behalf of the people, including protecting a woman’s right to choose, voting rights and banning assault rifles, among other things.

Huq, 70, was born and raised in Bangladesh and attended Dhaka Medical College. There, he aided in the construction of a hospital and OB/GYN clinic before traveling to the Britain and Ireland. After receiving medical training to become a general surgeon, Huq and his family came to the United States.

He has also served as a local organizer for various South Asian and other immigrant and minority communities.

Three main issues Huq has focused on include relief from the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic, racial equality and rebuilding the district’s infrastructure.

Huq has expressed his desire to create millions of new jobs for Long Islanders and Americans along with protecting women’s rights. Making vaccines, including the ones for coronavirus, equally accessible for all communities throughout the district is something he is determined to accomplish if elected.

Solages, who was first elected to the legislature in 2011, is currently serving his fifth term.  A former Bronx assistant district attorney, Solages has practiced law throughout the New York metropolitan area as a partner at Solages & Solages law firm.

He also served as a commissioner for the county’s Commission on Human Rights prior to his time on the Legislature

Solages said aiding small businesses and public safety are some of the prominent issues that need to be addressed. National security, he said, is of extreme importance now more than ever, following the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Addressing economic concerns and providing aid for small businesses following the coronavirus pandemic, he said, are other issues he will address on the congressional level, if elected. Solages said he plans to set up a fund that will provide direct assistance to minority and women-owned local businesses.

Women having limited access to necessary health programs and resources, along with inequality in wages, he said, is an inequity that needs to be fixed. Finding ways to diminish sexism and sexual harassment against women in the workplace, he said, is on his agenda. 

Less than a month before the primary election, Gillen led all Democrats in second-quarter fund-raising from April 1 to June 30, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Gillen raised $216,902.39 at the start of the reporting period and $385,241.03 at its conclusion. With operational expenses of $128,879.36, she exceeded all other candidates.

Corbett raised $241,893.52 from a starting point of $156,399.92. At the end of the reporting period, he had $310,838.45 after paying $86,804.99 in expenditures.

Solages raised $48,414 and ended the period with $82,564.73, while Huq reported $371.365 by the closing period.

The 4th Congressional District currently includes the communities of Baldwin, Bellmore, East Rockaway, East Meadow, the Five Towns, Lynbrook, Floral Park, Franklin Square, Garden City, Garden City Park, Hempstead, Atlantic Beach, Long Beach, Malverne, Freeport, Merrick, Mineola, Carle Place, New Hyde Park, Oceanside, Rockville Centre, Roosevelt, Uniondale, Wantagh, West Hempstead, Westbury and parts of Valley Stream.

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