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Herald Endorsement

In 7th Legislative District, the choice is Debra Siegel


For Howard Kopel, being a county legislator must seem like wearing a comfortable pair of shoes. The deputy presiding officer of the Legislature, Kopel has been in office since 2010, and has served his district honorably.

The Lawrence resident is aware of the problems that affect his constituents, and speaks intelligently about them.

Comfort, however, is not what is needed right now in Legislative District 7.

Fixing the broken assessment system was expected to be on the Republican legislative majority’s agenda. We anticipated that Kopel would play a major role in that effort, but the goal was not accomplished under a Republican county executive.

And in another realm, speaking with the police commissioner about having a crossing guard assigned to a dangerous intersection in Woodmere isn’t the same as ensuring that one is assigned there.

What the 7th District could use is someone who will fight for his or her constituents. Major changes, which will impact residents and business owners, are looming, ranging from the proposed construction of 285 homes on Woodmere Club land to transportation-oriented development in Inwood and North Lawrence.

Taxpayers need a watchdog to ensure that their opinions are heard, and to push along the overdue overhaul of West Broadway between Hewlett and Cedarhurst The project, proposed in 2015, has languished. It is expected to begin next year. We’ll see.

Rockville Centre resident Debra Siegel has served as a Legal Aid Society lawyer for 30 years. She has litigated difficult criminal cases and negotiated with district attorneys and judges.

Public defenders know how to battle, and we believe Siegel’s tenacity would benefit the district more than the comfortable-shoe approach. We are endorsing her because we expect her to apply that doggedness, and her skills, to get things done.

We would like to see the passion it took to be a founding member of Indivisible RVC and Raising Voices — grassroots organizations that promote civic involvement — working on behalf of District 7 residents, and we urge voters to chose Siegel on Tuesday.