New York state Sen. Anna Kaplan, a Democrat from Great Neck, seeks re-election this year in District 7 against Republican challenger Dave Franklin. The district includes parts of Great Neck, Port Washington, Manhasset, Roslyn, Old Westbury, Westbury, Lake Success, Mineola, Floral Park, Elmont, New Cassel, New Hyde Park and Hicksville.
Kaplan was born in Iran to a Jewish family, according to her Senate biography. Her parents sent her on her own to the United States for safety during the Islamic Revolution. She arrived in Brooklyn and was sent to live with a foster family in Chicago where she learned English and completed high school. Kaplan was later granted political asylum by the U.S. government.
After her family reunited, they moved to Queens, New York, where Kaplan graduated from Yeshiva University Stern College for Women, and later Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She settled in Great Neck with her husband and two daughters. In 2011, Kaplan was elected as Town of North Hempstead councilwoman in District 4. She won election to the state Senate two years ago, making her the first political refugee and the first Iranian-American elected to the state Senate.
Having lived in Port Washington for over three decades, Franklin also served as a police commissioner for the Port Washington Police Department from 2011 to 2019. He managed dozens of uniformed officers and a $20 million budget, helped craft policy, negotiated fair contracts with the police union and helped restructure the administration.
Franklin also has private sector experience, working as a technician and engineer for HBO for nearly four decades.
Patch has attempted to reach out to both candidates to fill out our 2020 candidate questionnaire. Here are their responses, lightly edited for clarity.
Anna M. Kaplan
Age as of Election Day (Nov. 3): 55
Town of residence: Town of North Hempstead
Position Sought: State Senate
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Family: I have a husband named Darren and two daughters, Taylor (21) and Sarah (22).
Does anyone in your family work in politics or government? My husband, Darren, is a trustee in the Village of Kensington.
Education: I graduated from Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Occupation: NYS Senator, District 7 (2018-Present)
Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office: NYS Senator (2018-Present), Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman (2012-2018), Great Neck Library Board, Town of North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals
Campaign website: AnnaforNYSenate.com
Why are you seeking elective office? When I arrived to the United States at the age of thirteen as a Persian-Jewish refugee, this country welcomed me with open arms and unimaginable opportunities. I ran for office because I wanted to give back to my country and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the American Dream, just as I did.
The single most pressing issue facing our nation/state/community is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
Right now, the COVID-19 pandemic is the most pressing issue facing our community. It has devastated both families and businesses throughout Long Island. As a state senator, I have stood by Long Islanders throughout this crisis. At the start of the pandemic, I secured $40 million in emergency funding to help our state fight COVID-19. I also provided vital tax and mortgage support for homeowners, connected small businesses with relief programs, and prevented funding cuts to our local schools. My office and I have provided unemployment assistance to thousands of local residents in need of benefits. Additionally, during the pandemic, I sent out a daily “Nassau Coronavirus Update” to keep residents in my district informed and up-to-date.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
I have crucial experience that my opponent does not have. Not only have I served as a state senator, but my experience as a North Hempstead councilwoman, trustee on the Great Neck Library Board and member for the North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals has given me a wide range of experience concerning a variety of community issues. On top of this, I have served as a legislator through one of the most unprecedented and tumultuous years for our state.
Additionally, I have a proven record of success as a legislator. When I ran for state Senate in 2018, I ran with a commitment to keeping taxes in check, bringing funding for our schools, passing the Child Victims Act, and standing up against gun violence. Since arriving in the state Senate, I have continued middle-class tax cuts, passed a permanent property tax cap and brought a record-breaking $47 million in additional funding to schools in our area. I also successfully passed the Child Victims Act and an extension to ensure survivors have more time to file claims amidst the pandemic. To prevent gun violence, I passed historic legislation to keep illegal guns off our streets, extend background checks, and close gun loopholes. In my second term, I intend to continue building on these successes and standing up for all residents in our community.
If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency): N/A
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform:
My campaign platform is based around a number of important issues, including reducing the tax burden, providing the funding and resources our schools need to give our kids the best education, and keeping our communities safe for our families by ending the gun violence epidemic and dealing with the problem of hate and bias crimes. As the current chair of the Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business committee, I am also dedicated to supporting our small businesses and economic growth on Long Island.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
I have been extremely effective in passing legislation that was historically held up in the NYS Legislature. The Senate Republican Majority had long prevented the passage of the Child Victims Act and the Reproductive Health Act. These bills aim to protect our children and the rights of women throughout NYS. Although these bills had been long stalled in the Senate, I passed both within my first month in Albany.
Another significant accomplishment was the passage of the permanent property tax cap. This 2 percent tax cap, helps to keep Long Islanders in their homes, saving the average family in Nassau more than $70,000 over 10 years. To support and protect our kids, I secured a record-breaking $47 million in additional funding for local school districts, bringing much needed funding to our communities. I wrote and passed landmark legislation to keep dangerous, untraceable guns out of our schools and our community.
Finally, I made New York a leader in the fight against climate change by passing the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions. To further protect our environment, I also banned oil and gas drilling off the coast of Long Island and brought millions in funding for clean water initiatives.
As a state senator, I’ll continue doing all I can to be a true representative for our district.
The best advice ever shared with me was: As a legislator, we must put the needs of our constituents above all else.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
If re-elected, I will remain a fierce advocate for all Long Islanders. I am here to be your public servant, which means my door is always open for your feedback and concerns.
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