Michael Sheridan has lived in Levittown with his wife and 8-year-old son for the past four years; owner of a yoga and fitness studio on the North Shore, his previous political experience consists of serving as a member of the Green Party for several years, after which he got out of politics for a spell, choosing instead to concentrate on his business.
However, after becoming firmly ingrained within his Levittown community, Sheridan said the realities of home ownership in Nassau County inspired him to get involved in the political arena once again; this time, he said, by throwing his hat into the race for the 15th Legislative District on the Democratic ticket come the November elections, vying for the seat previously held by Dennis Dunne.
“I’ve been living here for four years, paying taxes. And I have a son, so I’m active in the school district,” he said. “As a result, I’m more observant of what’s happening in the neighborhood the last couple of years, and it’s made me want to get involved.”
The 15th District encompasses the communities of Levittown, Westbury and portions of East Meadow, Bethpage, Wantagh and Seaford.
When it comes to serving as a Nassau County Legislator, Sheridan said that political experience comes second to having both business know-how and an overwhelming passion to make a difference in your community; two vital traits that he noted that he possesses in abundance.
“You have to be concerned, and you have to be educated about budgets and taxation and how that process works,” he said. “You also need to have ideas, and there seems to be a shortage of ideas in Mineola these days on how to make revenue…[County Executive Edward] Mangano and the administration are failing on a number of levels, including the private partnership with Armor at the Nassau County Jail, the NICE Bus system and a number of other areas. The county needs to find revenue, and that’s something I do with my business.”
Sheridan was especially critical of the state of dysfunction that he said Nassau County is currently embroiled in, citing rampant ineptitude from the top on down as one of the many issues that he will address if elected to the legislature.
In addition, Sheridan said that the concept of being a career politician is at odds with the ability of truly being an effective public servant, and noted that he is in favor of term limits to prevent partisanship and corruption.
“Three or four of the Legislators have been there 15 to 20 years…I want to be there six to 10 years, solve budget issues, create programs and then go back to my business,” he said. “I don’t want to be a career politician, nor should anybody. Once you bring in the fundraising factor of politicking, you open yourself up to all sorts of problems. People want to make deals, make you offers, so I’d like to address term limits in addition to the problems presented by gerrymandering, which is when politicians redraw district lines to favor themselves in elections.”
Sheridan is also a strong proponent of green initiatives in local government, abdicating for the installation of solar panels on government buildings in addition to a potential solar field in East Meadow’s Eisenhower Park. He’s also greatly in favor of preserving another type of green: the rapidly dwindling natural environment of Nassau County.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of people, and they feel like Nassau is becoming a lot like Queens,” he said. “There’s a lot more buildings, which I don’t begrudge, but we need to save the parks and our trees. We need to create bike paths so people can travel around and enjoy nature.”
Sheridan also stressed the importance of supporting Nassau County Corrections Officers and other members of law enforcement, noting that as a Legislator it will be his duty to listen to their needs and do everything in his power to address them.
“I’m a hands-on kind of person, so I’ll be there for the unions…the police union, the corrections union, all of them,” he said. “If they need supplies or something isn’t working, I’m a tinkerer… I like to fix things. It’s like what I do with postures in yoga…you make sure somebody is balanced, upright, and grounded. You do the same thing with budgets or procedures.”
Sheridan also plans to address traffic issues within Nassau County, noting that since he’s moved here, congestion on the roads has increased, and the timing of certain lights may be contributing to that issue.
Since announcing his candidacy in January, Sheridan has been pounding the pavement, going door-to-door and speaking with his potential constituents while getting to know them and their issues. He says so far, the public has been very receptive to his campaign, and he is hoping that they will support his endeavor to win the 15th Legislative District of Nassau County during the upcoming November elections.
“I value the voters and respect their opinions…they’re very intelligent and well-educated,” he said. “I want the people to know that I’ll look at policies, I’ll look at budgets and I’ll try to tinker with them to save people money. A lot of 20- and 30-year-olds [are] leaving Nassau County because it’s too expensive, so I’m going to try to bring costs down so that maybe they’ll stick around a little longer until we figure this out.”