The 4th CD includes Atlantic Beach, Baldwin, Bellmore, Bellerose, Bellerose Terrace, East Rockaway, East Meadow, Elmont, the Five Towns, Floral Park, Franklin Square, Freeport, Garden City, Hempstead, Island Park, Long Beach, Lynbrook, Malverne, Merrick, Mineola, Carle Place, New Hyde Park, Oceanside, Rockville Centre, Roosevelt, South Floral Park, Stewart Manor, Uniondale, Valley Stream, Wantagh, West Hempstead and Westbury.
Rice, 55, lives in Garden City. She has been in office since 2015 and is running for her fourth term in Congress.
Before serving in the House, Rice was the Nassau County district attorney, a position she held for nearly a decade.
Patch reached out to the candidates to get more information about them. Here’s what Rice said:
The single most pressing issue facing our nation/state/community is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
The coronavirus pandemic has created an unprecedented public health and economic crisis that we need to confront simultaneously. Right now, the main issue facing my district and our country is the COVID-19 outbreak. Nassau County has been one of the hardest-hit areas in the country. We need to focus on creating new jobs to replace those that were lost, we need to help our small and mid-sized businesses get back on their feet and we need to provide continued financial relief to the families who have been most affected by this pandemic. We also need to think urgently about how we can help our vast healthcare, education and transportation systems adapt to this new normal and ensure that they are prepared for future surges in COVID-19 cases.
Long Island is in the process re-opening, and that’s a good thing. But we need to make sure that our local municipalities, which provide critical services to our constituents, have the tools they need to operate safely and successfully in the weeks and months to come. All of this will require robust federal investment and I’m committed to helping our district secure the resources it needs to recover from this crisis and build back stronger.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
I’ve dedicated my career to serving this community — not as a partisan politician, but as a problem-solver who is willing to work with anyone and everyone to get things done. In Congress, I’ve worked hand-in-hand with my Republican colleagues to help reform our VA and provide greater funding for veteran services, I’ve fought to improve FEMA’s flood insurance program so that homeowners in our community could finally rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, and I have advocated for continued security funding to our houses of worship to ensure that everyone can worship in an environment where they feel safe. I’ve also sought common ground on issues like gun safety and immigration — two areas where there is real opportunity to reach bipartisan consensus. That is what I’ve done during my first three terms in Congress and it’s what I’ll continue to do if re-elected.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.
Health care is a critical issue for my campaign. Right now, Republicans in the Senate are preparing to confirm someone to the Supreme Court that could very well be the deciding vote in a case that could dismantle the Affordable Care Act. In the midst of a pandemic, this is beyond reckless. And I’m running as a candidate who will work to protect and improve the ACA so that it covers more people at more affordable rates. I’m also going to fight to maintain critical protections for people with pre-existing conditions. This is a core tenet of the ACA and especially now, we cannot afford to return to a time when health insurance companies could discriminate against those with prior health issues.
I’m also committed to securing additional COVID-19 relief funding for Nassau County and investing in our infrastructure. I’ve been advocating for new funding for state and local governments facing budget shortfalls due to the pandemic, expanded unemployment insurance benefits for families out of work, and increased support for small businesses. I’m also pushing for large-scale investment in America’s infrastructure to modernize our roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure on Long Island and in communities across the country.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
One of my most important responsibilities as a member of Congress is to serve as a liaison between the people I represent and the federal government. And I’m incredibly proud of how successful my office has been in helping my constituents navigate this vast and often overwhelming system. Since I took office in 2015, my caseworkers have helped our constituents secure more than $10 million in Social Security, VA, FEMA, disability and 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund benefits or savings. And we’ve helped guide countless constituents through our nation’s strenuous immigration process. People often turn to our office for help during difficult periods in their lives, and that’s a responsibility we take pride in.
Additionally, my office has helped dozens of local Jewish and religious organizations secure more than $4 million in federal grant funding to help them make security enhancements to their facilities. In recent years, we’ve seen an alarming increase in attacks on houses of worship across the country, including the tragic Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh and the Monsey Hanukkah stabbing here in New York. It’s critical that we provide every worshiper in our community with the security and peace of mind they rightfully deserve and I will continue to advocate for this funding on behalf of any organization in my district that needs it.
I’m also very proud of what we’ve accomplished on the legislative side. Since arriving in Congress, I’ve remained committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find sensible solutions to our most pressing challenges. Just this past year, I worked with a bipartisan group of members in the House and Senate to introduce the Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Act, which would help families struggling with Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s disease access critical resources and support offered under the Older American’s Act, which is currently only available to Americans 60 years of age or older. Provisions of this bill were signed into law as part of the Dignity in Aging Act, this year’s re-authorization of the Older Americans Act. The original idea for the bill came from a constituent of mine here on Long Island who lost her husband to Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s disease. It’s been incredible to watch this process develop from one meeting with a constituent to a bill on the floors of the House and Senate that will ultimately help thousands of families across the country.
The best advice ever shared with me was:
I had a dear cousin who passed away far too soon. He would always give me the same advice any time I was struggling to make a big decision, either in life or in my career: “feel the fear and do it anyway.” That’s something that has always stuck with me. You can’t let fear dictate your actions or deter you from making big decisions. That’s no way to live life, it’s no way to move up in your career and it’s certainly no way to overcome a challenge. I think now, more than ever, people need to hear that advice, especially in Congress. Far too often, you have people in both parties who know the difference between right and wrong but are too frightened to actually speak up. They’re petrified of what their colleagues or the president might say, of not getting re-elected or getting attacked on Twitter. That’s never how I’ve approached this job, in large part thanks to my cousin’s advice.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I think voters in this district know who I am. I’m an independent Representative who answers to them. I haven’t been afraid to stand up to Donald Trump, and I will continue to hold his administration accountable for all of the harm they’ve caused. But I’m also not afraid to stand up to my own party and reach across the aisle to get things done. Long Island is a community that appreciates that attitude and, likewise, I am incredibly appreciative of the continued support I’ve received throughout my career.
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