Democrat Amanda Field, running for the state’s open seat in the 15th Assembly District, said she wants to use her previous experiences in government posts to bring practicable and feasible legislation to both New York and Long Island.
“The last two terms I have been able to serve and protect our public and not only my district but go up to Albany and help pass legislation,” Field said in an interview with Blank Slate Media. “And seeing what it’s like to really understand how you can bring funding and other things back to your district is what I want to expand on doing to serve the public.”
Field, of Old Bethpage, is running against Republican Jake Blumencranz for the seat vacated by Assemblyman Michael Montesano in the Nov. 8 general election. Montesano, a Republican, stepped down from his position earlier this year to become a district court judge.
Field was elected Commissioner of the Plainview Water District in 2016 and is also a serving member of the state’s Clean Water Coalition. She helped secure over $28 million in grants to the Plainview Water District to treat for emerging contaminants and infrastructure improvements and was elected to the Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association. In 2021, Field served as the association’s president and currently is the Legislative Committee Co-chair of the Long Island Water Conference.
The candidate has also held a position on the New York State Regional Planning Consortium for Children and Families, which is dedicated to the mental health and wellness of today’s youth.
As a cancer survivor, Field sought public office as water district commissioner to find out the intricacies of our water systems following the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
“Luckily it was not our water that was affecting our health but I immediately got involved at a state level to understand where our drinking water is coming from,” Field said. “If there’s an issue on Long Island, who’s going to pay for it, how are we going to get funding for this treatment and newly regulated contaminants? I was able to help in that capacity.”
On bail reform, Field, who considers herself a moderate candidate, says judges should have more discretion in setting bail but is not in favor of a full reform at this time.
New York implemented bail reform laws in January 2020, with modifications passed in April of that same year. State officials said the modified laws eliminated pretrial detention and optional cash bail in an estimated 90 percent of cases.
The candidate said she is in favor of expanding pretrial services to help root causes of crime, specifically citing mental health, drug abuse and domestic violence issues.
“We should make sure our teachers, police and judges are trained each year to respond to the changing climate and have more pretrial services put in place,” Field said. “So that while people are awaiting trial they are able to get the services they need so we don’t have this cycle that’s happening.”
Field said she is absolutely pro-choice when it comes to abortion and that undocumented people should also have access to healthcare.
“When something like that is happening, it’s an urgent emergent issue and New York will always be a safe place for women to have an abortion,” Field said. “I stand strong on that and feel they should have to availability to do so here in this state.”
On affordability, Field said she is not in favor of expanding accessory dwelling units throughout Long Island but believes affordability can be improved for young people and the elderly by addressing the tax base and school taxes.
“One of the things I proposed is a circuit breaker so that not more than a certain amount of your taxes are proposed to be charged for our young or elderly–it’s more based on income so they have the affordability to live here,” Field said. “I think there are several programs that are available to help our young and our elderly to be able to stay here.”
Field clarified that there is legislation currently in the Senate that would allow homeowners not to pay more than 50% of their actual tax and doing so would not take away any funding that school districts currently receive, helping with the rising costs of living.
Field pointed to Farmingdale as a successful model for downtown revitalization when asked about potentially rezoning for mixed-used developments.
“I think that’s absolutely a solution,” Field said. “I don’t think they belong everywhere in Nassau County, but there are towns where zoning can be changed to help break through the next phase of our economy.”
Field called congestion pricing a two-sided coin but supports what is best for Long Island while acknowledging she will need to take a look at the full plan when completed, before making a full decision.
The MTA’s proposed congestion pricing plan, according to the project’s environmental assessment, could increase the daily entry fee into Manhattan. The plan calls for a toll to enter a zone that extends from 60th Street to the Battery.
When asked about Long Island being better prepared for natural disasters, Field said we should be taking every step from upgrading infrastructure, water infrastructure and expanding renewable jobs.
“I think we need to be doing everything possible to acknowledge what’s happening with climate change and put into place feasible and practical solutions that work with everyone involved,” Field said.
Field said voters should consider electing the candidate who can bring back the most and do the most for their specific communities, something she said she’s done during her time as water commissioner.
“I will be walking in one day one with existing relationships with our current Senate and Assembly and will be able to have those conversations, to know what it takes to pass legislation and reach across the aisle and not just point fingers,” Field said. “My father always told me you have two ears and one mouth, listen twice as much as you speak and I really try to do that with my residents.”
New York’s 15th Assembly District includes Bethpage, Brookville, East Norwich, Farmingdale, Glen Cove, Glen Head, Glenwood Landing, Greenvale, Hicksville, Jericho, Lattingtown, Laurel Hollow, Levittown, Locust Valley, Matinecock, Mill Neck, Muttontown, Old Bethpage, Old Brookville, Old Westbury, Oyster Bay, Oyster Bay Cove, Plainedge, Plainview, Salisbury, Syosset, Roslyn Harbor, Upper Brookville and Woodbury.
Blank Slate Media’s interview with Amanda Field can be found on YouTube.