Christine Liu said if elected to the North Hempstead Town Board, she would devote herself full time to serving her district.
“Since announcing my campaign I’ve put in 110% and if elected I would carry that enthusiasm and effort as town councilperson,” Liu said in an interview with Blank Slate Media.
Liu, of New Hyde Park, is running for the town’s 4th District on the Democratic Party line. She is currently the community liaison for state Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti (D-Port Washington), vice president of the Nassau County Asian Advisory Council and co-founder of the Herricks Chinese Association. Previously, Liu was an attorney for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
She is running against Republican and Conservative Parties candidate James Gounaris, a Manhasset Hills resident who currently serves as the Herricks Board of Education president and works in the Great Neck School District.
The two are running for the seat left vacant by Council Member Veronica Lurvey, who was moved out of the district after new maps were approved last year. The district includes Herricks, Manhasset Hills, Lake Success, University Gardens, Great Neck Plaza, Russell Gardens and part of both North New Hyde Park and Garden City Park.
Liu said part of the current district has been neglected in recent years, which is represented now by Republican David Adhami, and that she would be able to provide the time commitment necessary to make sure residents are heard. Liu added that she had already decreased her hours with Sillitti, told her she would resign from her current job and stepped down as Herricks Chinese Association president to fully devote her time to the town.
“If you’re not in the office, if you’re not in town hall having meetings with your constituents, it’s very difficult to say you can give your community your 100%,” Liu said.
Liu said she believes in getting community stakeholders together when addressing business districts. Specifically speaking about empty storefronts on Middle Neck Road in Great Neck, she said some but not all issues can be helped by connecting more businesses with organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Great Neck Plaza Business Improvement District or Destination: Great Neck.
“To improve the business district in Great Neck is something that everybody wants to do,” Liu said. “Everybody benefits from that, and we have to listen to the community, the businesses and the mayors.”
Liu also said she was in favor of North Hempstead redoing its master plan, which has not been updated in nearly 30 years. Liu said there are grants available for municipalities to perform studies and look into updating them.
“Let’s get it done right the first time,” Liu said. “Let’s get the stakeholders and community to the table, let’s listen to what people want and what they don’t want.”
Liu said there’s a need to expand senior housing options in the town and make Long Island more affordable for young people. Liu said the town can look at other municipalities for ideas and referenced the Town of Oyer Bay’s Golden Age Housing Program as a creative way to solve issues.
“Let’s be smart, come up with a plan and move forward with it,” Liu said. “I think if other towns can do it, so can we and we can do it even better.”
A big topic during this election cycle in North Hempstead has been improving the operations of the town’s building department, which is currently being audited by Nassau County Comptroller Elaine Philips since August 2022. Liu said she would be in favor of adding more building inspectors and gave an example of bifurcating applications where an applicant can address a code violation on their property separately from their building department application as opposed to fixing the violation for the application to move forward.
“The process of your application going forward while addressing your violations separately, that can actually help keep everything moving in the right direction,” Liu said. “That would help tremendously with people who want to renovate their homes and commercial businesses as well.”
Liu said when major developments are set to come before the board, town board members need to hold community meetings with residents and developers ahead of town board members to gauge feedback.
“Let’s hash out those differences before town hall and hopefully we can come forward with compromises,” Liu said.
Liu also said she would be able to work with anyone on the town board regardless of party and that politics should not divide anyone when deciding how to make the best decisions for the town.
“I tell people all the time at the most local level it doesn’t have to be Republican or Democrat,” Liu said. “Everybody, Republican or Democrat enjoys this community so that is the mentality I’m coming with.”
When asked about Republican Supervisor Jennifer DeSena’s $163.8 million budget proposal that includes a 10% tax cut, Liu said the town needs to be fiscally responsible and that dipping into reserves year after year can lead to tax increases in the future.
Liu said the town received a windfall of $15 million in revenues recently from the COVID-19 pandemic from increases to mortgage taxes, revenue from online sales and fees for renovated homes in the town.
“Are we expecting that going forward?” Liu questioned. “I don’t see that we’re going to have that same big windfall this year or next year. We have to be fiscally responsible.”
Liu said district residents should vote for her on Nov. 7 because she runs a campaign based on only her facts and her record. Liu said her platform has always been focused on increasing public safety, combating hate on all levels, revitalizing our downtowns, expanding senior housing programs and maintaining quality services throughout North Hempstead.
“I’ve just been somebody who’s in this community and wants to make it better,” Liu said. “The work I’ve done with our community makes me an easy fit for this position.”
Liu’s interview with Blank Slate Media can be found on YouTube.