Election Day 2023: Seth Koslow Seeks Seat In County Legislature

MERRICK, NY — Before voters head to the polls, Patch is helping residents learn about the candidates on this year’s ballot.

Name Seth I. Koslow

How old will you be as of Election Day? 41

Does your campaign have a website? If so, include the URL here. https://www.sethkoslow.com What city or town do you live in? Merrick

What office are you seeking? Nassau County Legislator

If you are running in a district, you can specify the district here. 5th Legislative District

Party affiliation. Democrat

Education. Bachelor’s degree from American University, law degree from Touro University

What is your occupation? Queens Assistant District Attorney (2013 – 2016); criminal defense attorney at my law firm, SIK Law (2016 – present)

Do you have a family? If so, please tell us about them. My wife, Jill and I have three beautiful young children, a boy and two girls. Sam is nine, Jaclyn is seven, and Julia is four.

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government? No

Have you ever held a public office, whether appointive or elective? No Now we’d like to ask a few questions about your reasons for running and your general views on politics and government. First, why are you seeking this office? I have been fortunate enough to have grown up, built a family, and opened a business in Nassau County. Unfortunately, times have changed, and it is increasingly difficult for the next generation to live and work in Nassau County. The combination of high taxes, unaffordable housing options, and inadequate infrastructure has made living here a distant aspiration for many individuals. Our children face inequities regarding access to park space and youth programs. My motivation for running is rooted in ensuring that my children and their peers can access the same opportunities I once had. I am committed to reducing the cost of living, fostering affordable housing options, and reinvesting in our infrastructure. Our children deserve this.

Please complete this statement: The single most pressing issue facing my constituents is ___, and this is what I intend to do about it. Affordability. As legislator, I will work to strengthen and uplift the middle class on Long Island to ensure people can afford to stay and move here. That means working with unions to create good-paying jobs. That means returning some of our $128 million County surplus to residents in the form of a tax cut. That means reining in greedy private utilities. That means investing in locally-initiated affordable housing so working people can live here.

What needs to be done to address water quality issues on LI? Nassau has some of the oldest infrastructure in the nation, and that includes our wastewater and septic treatment systems. It is completely unacceptable that this ancient infrastructure is debasing our drinking water and our coastal waters—disproportionately so for communities of color. It’s a heavy lift, but we need to pursue an expanded sewage system, which will require both County funding and an infusion of federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding.

What do you think can be done to help improve our infrastructure, highways, etc? Again, Nassau has several sources of funding available to make these investments. First, some of our County surplus must be spent repairing our highways—and that work must be completed by union labor. Second, our legislators and executive must aggressively lobby for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, which represents the largest U.S. infrastructure investment since the Eisenhower administration. The money is out there, we just need to get it and use it.

How would you plan to help local business owners, who are struggling because of high rents, inflation and labor shortages? Nassau has not spent hundreds of millions of its American Rescue Plan (federal COVID aid) allotment. First and foremost, the County must distribute this funding to small businesses in the form of grants to offset costs related to inflation and the pandemic. Second, County support for local business owners must be equitable. Case in point: less than 7% of County contracts between 2014 and 2019 went to businesses owned by women or minorities. We need a minimum percentage of County contracts allotted for women- and minority-owned businesses. Additionally, the aforementioned process for distributing COVID aid should include Spanish-language and other non-English language resources. Finally, the migrant crisis—though harrowing and a strain on New York City’s social safety net—does present an opportunity for small business owners. In order to address labor shortages and get these migrants out of shelters, the County should coordinate with New York City to match newly-arrived migrants with businesses in need of labor.

What is your stance on the current migrant situation affecting New York? And migrants were to be directed to shelters on Long Island, how would you prepare/plan for that? I am a firm believer that America is the land of immigrants, that New York hosts the Statue of Liberty for a reason—Republicans, who are demonizing the migrants who have come here fleeing violence and poverty, are dead wrong. However, the recent influx of migrants is stressing New York City’s social services and crowding shelters, so we have to have a balanced approach that protects taxpayers and helps migrants. The state and federal government should pursue all possible avenues to secure work authorization for as many migrants as possible. Migrants shouldn’t be idling in shelters—they came here to work, to contribute to our economy, and we should let them. Regarding shelters on Long Island, though Governor Hochul has stated that she won’t force localities to accept migrants, so that’s a moot issue.

What are the major differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post? This district is one of the most diverse in the County, and my campaign has made a concerted, persistent effort to reach out to a broad, diverse array of groups. Our field team has knocked on more than 6,000 doors—to Black voters, Latino voters, and white voters in about equal proportions. I have attended services/events at six African American churches, talked to more than a dozen Latino business owners, and have gone to events for Muslim and LGBTQ+ affinity groups. There is also diversity in the groups supporting me—I have endorsements from three police unions, a teacher’s union, a healthcare workers union, a gun violence prevention group, and a women’s rights group. My opponent cannot say the same.

If you are challenging an incumbent, in what way has the current officeholder failed the community? I am not challenging an incumbent.

What other issues do you intend to address during your campaign? Because of my legal experience and the nature of my campaign’s support, I offer a unique perspective on the issue of public safety. As a defense attorney, I understand first-hand the inequities in our criminal justice system. But I was also a prosecutor, so I know how to keep families safe from violence. The support I received from law enforcement (PBA, DAI, and SOA) will allow me to work with the police to address the inequities and the safety issues I have encountered in my work. First, I can connect with the police to strengthen bonds between minority communities and law enforcement. Second, I can work toward solutions to major safety issues—like improving enforcement of our gun laws and hiring officers dedicated to tackling hate crimes.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job? My aforementioned time as a prosecutor and a defense attorney gave me the experience and knowledge necessary to understand, interpret, and craft local legislation.

What is the best advice anyone ever gave you? Talk is cheap, actions matter.

Is there anything else you would like voters to know about yourself and your positions? All of my issue positions are on my social media pages.

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