Jonathan Clarke is running for Nassau County Legislator in the 15th District against Dennis Dunne, Sr.
Clarke was born and raised in Freeport and moved to Levittown 10 years ago. He is a licensed attorney, a member of the Nassau Bar Association, and has held various positions in the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Currently, he works for a private law firm in East Northport.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?I am 36 years old. I am an attorney and former market analyst. I'm married and have lived in Levittown for over 10 years.
Q: Why are you running for this position?
I am running for Legislator because I love Long Island, and I especially love Levittown. There really is no other place on this island that has our sense of community and our work ethic.
We have huge potential here in Levittown. The problem is our government is standing in the way of our potential. There are so many closed businesses and abandoned buildings along Hempstead Turnpike. Good businesses just do not want to come here. I want to change this by passing laws that will help us realize our full potential while still protecting our neighborhoods.
Years ago we had Grumman and good jobs. Now we have retail stores, low wages, and high taxes. We are beginning to look like a rundown area in Queens. Many of us moved out of Queens for a healthier and safer life, and now Queens is creeping to us. We need a 21st century Grumman and the good jobs that go along with it. This will eliminate congestion and traffic on Hempstead Turnpike, and will lower taxes through higher revenue.
Q: What qualifies you to serve in the position?
I understand how the economy works because I worked in the financial industry. I am also a practicing attorney who works with small businesses.
Q: What is your opinion of the most recent budget? Would you have done something differently with it?
There is no such thing as a Republican or Democrat budget. Just like there is no such thing as a Democratic or Republican way of running your business. Numbers are not partisan. The numbers tell us that this budget will run us into a 100 million dollar deficit. Next year’s budget is predicted to be even worse. These are facts. We can hide behind party slogans and pretend like these numbers do not exist, but burying our heads in the sand will only delay solving the problem.
In Levittown, we do not hide from problems. We confront them. If I was your Legislator, I would have worked day and night to get you a budget that would not throw our finances into shambles. I would have called for more oversight. Far too long we have given out sweetheart deals and contracts to companies and friends of politicians.
The Legislature no longer has meetings to insure that contractors are doing their job. Even the U.S. congress has meetings. When the “Obama Care” website crashed, Congress called for an oversight hearing, and they are now exposing those failures to the light. The Legislature needs to call to task these failed programs that are draining our economy. And that is what I would have done. I would not have sat back and let our tax dollars go down the drain.
Q: What do you think is the biggest issue facing the county?
Apathy. Things have been broken for so long in Nassau County, people have stopped caring. Career politicians thrive on apathy. Career politicians know they can keep their jobs as long as people think that things will never change for the better. Young people feel this, so many talented young people leave Long Island and apply their talents where they will be respected. As a result, our biggest export on Long Island is our youth.
Our school systems are great here in Levittown, and we pay a premium for them. The problem is after we invest so much money in creating these talented young people, we let this valuable resource slip away. We need to get career politicians out of office and restore hope.
Q: If you are elected, what is the one thing you’d like to see accomplished during your term?
If I do nothing else, I will bring term limits to this dysfunctional Legislature. Thomas Jefferson thought that a change in leaders would be beneficial to democracy. Who am I to argue with Thomas Jefferson?
Q: Would you like to add anything else?
In Levittown we carry a heavy weight. Our taxes are high. We work a lot of hours to provide for our families. We are really the engine of this island. We deserve a Legislator who will fight as hard for Levittown as we fight everyday for our families.
I believe I am that person. I have the endorsement of the CSEA and the Sheriff’s union. I am also a member of the American Constitutional Society and have sworn to uphold the Constitution. I know Levittown needs an independent voice who owes nothing to anybody except the people that elected him.