The congressional seat that will soon be vacated by Rep. Steve Israel in New York’s third Congressional District is a hot one, with about 10 contenders at this point in the race. With the petitioning deadline this week, Anna Kaplan went door-to-door in Glen Cove on Saturday, April 9, to collect petition signatures from registered Democrats and to share her message on making Washington more responsive to the needs of middle class and working families.
In order to get on the ballot for the June 28 primary election to replace the outgoing congressman, Democratic candidates must collect 1,250 signatures from registered Democrats within the district. Kaplan and her canvassers knocked on 1,056 doors in the heart of Glen Cove, including on Landing Road, Elwood Street and Dosoris Lane, collecting a total of 140 signatures that day.
Kaplan, who is serving her second term on the North Hempstead town council, said, “Sure, collecting signatures is a necessary part of getting on the ballot. But more than that, I see it as an opportunity to introduce myself to voters, hear their thoughts firsthand on what we can do to improve our community and for me to share my vision on how I would serve their needs in congress. It’s the start of a conversation that I hope to continue if I’m fortunate enough to be elected to congress.”
To date, Kaplan has raised $445,000 for her campaign. Kaplan, who was born in Iran, was elected to the Hempstead Town Council in 2011, the first ever Iranian-American elected to town office in New York. She left her home country as a child refugee to escape revolution and the threat of persecution and was separated from her family for more than a year, living in Brooklyn and with a foster family in Chicago before reuniting with her parents and brothers and finally settling in Jamaica, Queens. She became a U.S. citizen in 1995 and has a degree from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. She has been honored by the Nassau County Legislature, the Nassau County Comptroller’s Office and the Town of North Hempstead. In 2010, she was recognized as a Woman of Distinction.
“As I talk with residents across the district, I hear stories of people struggling to find ways to make ends meet—smart young adults that can’t afford to attend college, parents trying to make due on minimum wage and families just one medical diagnosis away from financial ruin,” said Kaplan. “This is not acceptable. We can do better.”
In addition to Kaplan’s own efforts, the campaign has a team of canvassers that have spanned across the district collecting signatures and introducing the candidate’s message to potential voters.
Reynard Branch, a canvasser who has been with the campaign since early March, spoke to what he has experienced. “Sometimes we’ll meet a voter that may not be familiar with Anna,” said Branch. “This is always a great opportunity to talk about her story, her commitment to public service and what she wants to accomplish in congress.”
Campaign spokesman Reginald Johnson added, “Petition canvassing is as grassroots as you can get. Not only is it a chance to meet voters and share Anna’s message, it also serves as a great opportunity for us to start identifying supporters and those who want to take a more active role in the campaign as we get closer to Primary Day.”
Johnson said that, in the coming weeks and months, he believes more people will connect with Kaplan’s efforts to make college more affordable, fight for women’s rights to make their own healthcare decisions and “always stand shoulder to shoulder with the State of Israel.”
Other Democrats seeking the seat for Congress include Tom Suozzi of Glen Cove, Jon Kaiman, Jonathan Charles Clarke and Steven Stern. Republican contenders include Philip “Flip” Pidot of Glen Cove, Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci of Huntington, Rob Trotta and State Senator Jack Martins of Mineola.