Change Is Up To You

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I would like to share some thoughts I have had since recently becoming the chairperson of the City of Glen Cove’s Democratic Committee. Today, I am aware of the horrific pain my country is in regarding the events in Orlando, FL. It is my goal here to expand upon a statement made by my wife, Janice, “We must speak about our differences, in order to understand and accept our differences, in order to HEAL our differences.”

I have learned a lot in these past six months. I have learned  a little about election law and politics, but definitely not enough to call myself an expert. My personal interest is in discussing the difference between being a politician and that of a public servant. I view my role  as someone who cares about my community and  who works FOR the people in my community.

As the chairperson for the City of Glen Cove Democratic Committee one of my responsibilities will be to recommend (along with a group of experience individuals) quality and qualified Democratic party candidates for the 2017 City of Glen Cove election. I am often given feedback from the general public on which “kind” of person I should be looking for—a female candidate; a candidate of color—either black or Hispanic or Asian; a candidate of a specific religion; a member of the LGBT community; a mixture of all the above—or even “that guy in the wheelchair” (and that’s me). I am dismayed that we continue to define ourselves with these labels. Unfortunately people within our communities are not willing to be involved in their home towns. They often will not attend, on a regular basis, local government meetings which would give them an upfront and personal opportunity on how their local government works and the pertinent issues that their elected officials are required to make decisions upon. Recently in Glen Cove, only 1,044 people voted in the school board election (the year 2014 population of Glen Cove: 27,000) and yet I am sure that many citizens will be up in arms when decisions are made that they do not approve of.

Is it the focusing upon our differences which creates the apathy within our communities?

Over the three days of the Memorial Day weekend, myself and some friends went to two public locations in Glen Cove to offer assistance in registering  voters—not to ask them to change their party affiliations but to register to vote. We were  amazed  at the amount of people we encountered who  were not registered voters (and were successful in registering them). Voting is a privilege. It is how we become involved, and we have to make a difference via our vote. We have to use our rights as a United States citizen to vote, something that my parents came to this county for.

I read a recent article published on May 18, 2016 by the Long Island Herald written by Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran (Democrat, 5th district) in which she states, “If you want true accountability, spend less time on Facebook and more at board meetings, in legislative chambers—and in the voting booth. Heck, why don’t you consider running for office? It’s too easy to complain. In the end, true accountability is up to you.”
Bravo Legislator Curran!  I echo your feelings. Please let’s NOT define ourselves by our differences. Let’s dedicate ourselves to being involved and improving where we live, how we live and what we CAN do to HEAL each of our communities from its differences. Yes, I am a “new kid on the block” in the political arena, and you may label me naïve and inexperienced, but I will always believe that elected officials should and must serve the communities they live in and focusing upon our differences only will continue to divide us.

—Michael Zangari
Chairperson, City of Glen Cove Democratic Committee

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