U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) endorsed former Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen to fill her seat in Congress.
Rice, who announced earlier this year that she would not run for re-election this year, said Gillen “is the best choice” to represent the 4th Congressional District.
“Laura Gillen is a lifelong Long Islander who has already proven her political tenacity with a strong record of getting things done,” Rice said in her endorsement.
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 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 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.
“As the first Democrat to serve as Hempstead town supervisor in a century, she has been a vocal advocate for women’s rights, common-sense gun safety measures and lowering taxes in Nassau County,” Rice said about Gillen.
Gillen lauded Rice’s work for the district, saying she hopes to “follow her model as a public servant” and prioritize bipartisan work “to achieve results for Nassau County and for our nation.”
“Kathleen has been a tireless advocate for New York’s Fourth Congressional District and Long Island families her whole career,” Gillen continued. “She has delivered for our communities every year she’s served in Congress – bringing federal dollars back home, defending women’s reproductive rights, and safeguarding our democracy. I’m deeply honored that she believes I’m the best candidate to carry on in this seat.”
Rice, who was first elected to Congress in 2014 and is in the midst of her fourth term, said in a tweet that elected officials “must give all we have and then know when it is time to allow others to serve.”
“Though I will not be running for re-election to Congress this year, I will remain focused on protecting our democracy and serving my constituents throughout the rest of my term,” Rice continued.
She became the 30th Democratic member of Congress to bow out of the fall elections, including U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who represents the 3rd Congressional District on the North Shore and is running for governor.
Gillen is one of four Democrats who have officially announced their candidacy in the 4th District race, along with Nassau County Legislators Carrié Solages (D-Lawrence) and Seila Bynoe (D-Westbury), and Village of Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett.
State and Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs told Newsday he believes either Corbett or Bynoe will win the election and take Rice’s place in Congress.
Efforts to reach Jacobs for further comment were unavailing.