Joshua Lafazan backs free community college tuition, congressional term limits

Joshua Lafazan backs free community college tuition, congressional term limits
County Legislator Joshua Lafazan (D-Woodbury) is running for New York's 3rd Congressional District. (Photo courtesy of the candidate)

County Legislator Joshua Lafazan’s campaign has announced his endorsement of free college tuition for students in community college and congressional term limits as he continues his run for the 3rd Congressional District.

Lafazan, a Democrat from Woodbury, made the announcement at Nassau Community College, where he was once a student. The candidate is supporting Democratic plans to offer free tuition for two years in community college. 

Last fall, President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Bill was originally introduced to include free community college, a $45.5 billion cost over the next five years. That program has since been removed. 

“As someone who benefited from community college right here in New York, this is something near and dear to my heart,” Lafazan said in a statement. “After high school, I attended Nassau Community College for a short time, before moving on to other institutions of higher education and I cannot thank the professors and the administration enough for doing all they could do to give me the foundation to continue my education at Harvard, Cornell, and now the University of Pennsylvania where I am pursuing my doctorate. But I know that it all started at a community college – as it could for so many of our young people across Long Island, New York City, and Westchester County. The dream of a college education is out of reach for many and they need Washington’s help to achieve it.”

Thomas Bruckner, professor of astronomy and geology  at Nassau Community College, said higher education is out of reach for too many.

“A college education has become so unaffordable for so many, but community colleges provide a first-rate education to all and allow the dream of a diploma to be obtained. But community colleges could do so much more and serve even more students,” said Bruckner. “With Josh’s help, they will.”

Lafazan, a three-term Nassau County legislator, also recently announced his intention to propose a constitutional amendment limiting members of the House to six two-year terms and senators to two six-year terms.

“Our founders intended to have a system of representative government where members of a community would come to Washington to offer voices on behalf of their friends and neighbors, and then go back home and let other people have a turn,” he said in a statement.

“For far too long, we have seen men and women elected to serve in Congress and they have stayed for decades and decades. When that happens, they lose touch with the very people they have sworn an oath to represent and that is no good for anyone. Self-imposed term limits are the only way to end that vicious cycle for the good of the country.” 

During her State of the State address, Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed term limits for the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and comptroller.   

Since announcing his candidacy in December, Lafazan has raised over $450,000. If elected, he  would become the youngest member of the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives. 

At 23 years of age, Lafazan became Nassau County’s youngest-ever legislator upon his election in November 2017. In previous elections, Lafazan ran as an independent who caucused with the Democrats. He has since re-enrolled as a Democrat for his congressional run.

He is seeking the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who is running for governor. 

According to newly drawn lines, the 3rd Congressional District will include several areas in Westchester County and the Bronx along with Manhasset, Roslyn, Port Washington, Great Neck,  Floral Park and Whitestone, Queens, among other areas, and stretches to Kings Park in Suffolk County.

Following the approval of new congressional maps by state legislators, a Republican-led group filed a lawsuit claiming the Democrats gerrymandered the districts to retain control of the House.

Others running for the Democratic nomination in the district include former North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Great Neck’s Robert Zimmerman, state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, Oyster Bay’s Reema Rasool and Melanie D’Arrigo of Port Washington.  

The Democratic congressional primary is slated for June 28. 

George Santos and Kevin Surdi are seeking the Republican nomination.

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