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Mon, 12 May 2008

Up and Coming in the Empire State: Long Island - The Capitol

Up and Coming in the Empire State: Long Island
The Capitol
Mon, 12 May 2008 15:40:00
Their constituencies are often spread across many miles, but that has not stopped the next generation of New York State’s elected leaders from making themselves known and prompting intense speculation into their political futures.
The Capitol has identified five of the most promising up-and-comers in each of the state’s seven regions outside of New York City. Ages were not taken into account in the development of these lists. What matters here is potential, which everyone in this group has in abundance.
Kevan Abrahams (D)
Deputy Presiding Officer
Nassau County Legislature
Age: 33
A college internship with Rep. Floyd Flake (D-Queens) helped put Kevan Abrahams on the path to elected life. Following stops as a staffer for both Flake and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Nassau), Abrahams worked in the business world before joining the county legislature’s budget staff. He was tapped to fill a vacated seat six years ago.
Placed in charge of key committees, including public works and economic development, Abrahams took the legislature’s number two position earlier this year. After fellow County Legislator David Mejias (D) broke off with party leaders for not supporting a legislative pay raise, Abrahams was tapped to replace Mejias as the vice chairman of the powerful Rules Committee.
He had been mentioned as a potential challenger to State Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau), possibly even for this year—but with his first child on the way, he decided to skip the race. But Mejias’ problems within the party have set off renewed speculation about an Abrahams candidacy. Abrahams insists there is nothing to the rumors, noting his personal situation has not changed. Though he did make a trip to Albany in January, Abrahams says he is currently thinking that McCarthy’s congressional seat might be right for him, whenever she decides to stop seeking re-election herself.
“If I could make the quantum leap to the federal level, I would love to see that,” he said.
But he also discusses issues much further afield of his neighborhood, focusing on the sagging Upstate economy.
“New York State needs to pay more attention to the Upstate economy,” he said. “Until we help the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, we will not be whole. It’s a glaring issue that has not gotten a lot of attention down here. It’s sad to a large degree.”
What is your biggest accomplishment in office so far? “I spearheaded an economic development project in Roosevelt. That area has not seen economic development in years. It is a road restoration and community façade project. It will hopefully move the area along.”
What do you want to accomplish in the next two years, governmentally and politically? “I want to come up with a concrete solution to stabilize property taxes. The county is doing our part and the schools and municipalities need to come up with a solution, and it will need state support.”
What are the top challenges facing New York State right now? Property tax relief; upstate economic development.


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