State Sen. Anna Kaplan is running for re-election in the 7th state Senate district by offering sensible solutions to state and district problems as well as real achievements.
Her opponent, Jack Martins, is running to reclaim the 7th District state Senate seat he once held with the same unhelpful scare tactics he tried in his unsuccessful bid for county executive five years ago.
Martins’ campaign ended five years ago with a mailer sent on his behalf that was awful on several levels, beginning with a race-based appeal to fear.
The photo used in the mailer, taken in Central America, showed three shirtless Latino men covered in tattoos. The headline said “Meet Your New Neighbors.”
The text beneath the headline said his opponent in the race, Laura Curran, “will roll out the welcome mat for violent gangs like MS-13,” which had committed many crimes in Nassau.
The mailer added that “Laura Curran: She’s MS-13’s choice for County Executive.”
Message: Be afraid, be very afraid.
Curran was elected, despite the mailer, and in the next four years, Nassau was named the safest county in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.
Five years later, Martins campaign is again focused on exploiting people’s fears about crime.
One recent Martins mailer, featuring a grainy, black and white photo of Kaplan, says she “Voted for cashless bail, freeing killers and thugs” and putting “criminals on the streets.”
“End the violent crime wave sweeping Nassau,” the mailer says on the backside.
For the record, Nassau has reported five murders, eight sexual abuse instances, two criminal sexual acts and six rapes during the first eight months of 2022, according to county crime statistics provided following a Freedom of Information Law request by Blank Slate Media.
That compares to a total of 10 murders, 11 sexual abuse instances, 10 criminal sexual acts and 19 rapes reported in 2021. Not much of a change.
Martins is no different than most Republicans running this year in blaming New York’s spike in crime since 2020 on changes made to state laws that eliminated bail for the tens of thousands of people arrested – but not convicted – of misdemeanors and non-violent felonies.
An analysis of arrest data by the state and media companies shows that bail reform has had little or no effect on crime in New York at a time when all 50 states have seen a spike in crime during the COVID pandemic.
But, for many, fear appears preferable to facts.
Kaplan defends the bail reform laws, which were amended twice since their rollout in January 2020 to give judges greater discretion and increased the number of crimes subject to bail. She points to the many people, overwhelmingly black and brown, sent to jail because they lacked the money for bail.
More important, she rightly says access to guns has helped fuel the rise in crime in New York and around the country and touts her role in promoting a ban on ghost guns, red-flag laws to prevent dangerous people from purchasing guns, efforts to extend the waiting period for gun sales, closing of loopholes in the background check process and raising the age for people to purchase semi-automatic weapons to 21.
Kaplan has also been active in opposing the growing threat of antisemitism and other forms of bigotry n Nassau County.
She helped lead a successful campaign to oppose MTA plans to reduce the number of express trains on the Port Washington branch of the LIRR – an important gain for commuters and the communities along the line.
But Kaplan has focused most of her attention in the campaign on abortion and her support of protecting reproductive rights in New York and Martins’ opposition to the Reproductive Health Act later approved by the state Legislature.
Martins said at the time that his opposition was based on the language surrounding exceptions for a woman’s health.
He said he supported restrictions, made by state legislators, on women and their physicians in making those decisions.
We have seen that scenario play out disastrously across the country and want no part of that.
Kaplan also touts her role – greatly aided by federal COVID dollars – in bringing additional funding for schools and roads.
Martins, who served as mayor of Mineola before being elected state senator in 2010, was an effective advocate for his constituents at the time.
He helped develop a community-wide effort to plan to boost the village’s downtown with transit-oriented housing.
As a state senator, he worked well with officials of both parties and rescued money for important capital purchases jeopardized following the loss of his opponent in 2010, state Sen. Craig Johnson.
But he also opposed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s now nearly complete and much-needed 3rd track project expanding LIRR transportation on Long Island, calling it “dead on arrival.”
Fortunately, he was wrong and the project went forward.
Martins now opposes the MTA’s proposed congestion pricing plan for Manhattan, calling it a commuter tax. Which it’s not.
Kaplan supports the proposal.
We strongly support Kaplan for the 7th state Senate district.