Since he was just a year old, John Ferretti has called Levittown home. Now he is preparing himself for the opportunity to serve the community that meant so much to him growing up. Ferretti will represent the Republican Party in the upcoming race for the 15th Legislative District, which covers Levittown, Salisbury and parts of Wantagh, Seaford, Bethpage and East Meadow.
“I grew up there my entire life,” Ferretti said. “I went through the Levittown public schools—Abbey Lane, Wisdom Lane—and graduated from Division Avenue in 2001. I got my first job in Levittown. I worked for Frank and Nick Mornando at the Levittown Lanes. My first job in government was when I was 16. I interned for Dennis Dunne, who’s now the legislator who just resigned and opened up the seat for which I’m running. So it’s kind of cool, kind of going full circle.”
After graduating Hofstra in 2005, Ferretti took a year off and worked full-time in a restaurant, saving up money for law school. He ended up attending CUNY School of Law and graduating in 2009, which led to a position as chief deputy county clerk for the Court of Nassau, the Supreme Court and County Court, chief deputy land registrar. Since that time, he’s worked in Town Clerk Maureen O’Connell’s office, an experience that he says was integral for his preparing to run for the legislature.
“Seeing what true leadership is and [seeing examples of] what great public officials are was something that inspired me,” Ferretti noted.
While Ferretti has managed to maintain significant ties to his hometown, he’s also had to watch several of his acquaintances depart for places with lower costs of living. Cutting property taxes and “doing more with less,” Ferretti says, is one of his campaign’s main focuses.
“I see that a lot of my friends who I went to high school with had to move out of Nassau County because they couldn’t afford to stay here,” Ferretti said. “With property taxes as high as they are, with difficulties of finding a job and raising a family, I want to ensure that people can stay here and raise a family in Nassau County. People are taxed enough. We have to live within our means.”
Ferretti is hoping to continue what he sees as a positive trend towards cracking down on violent crime in Nassau County. When asked about progress on that front, Ferretti identified 2009 as a turning point, claiming that when the Republicans gained a majority, they “made great strides on a lot of the issues I’m very strong about.” He also stated that since that time, violent crime is down 27 percent.
“We need to continue furnishing our police officers with state-of-the-art technology,” said Ferretti. “We need to train them and we need to furnish them with everything they need to continue fighting crime and lowering these numbers. We’re on a good trend, but we need to continue doing that.”
Also on Ferretti’s radar is Nassau County’s growing heroin problem, which, if elected, he hopes to further combat. His plan entails expanding Narcan training and working harder to target dealers.
“It’s an epidemic and we need to address it. The way we address it isn’t arresting these young people or people of any age who are using it. We need to go after the dealers,” Ferretti said. “Those are the ones who are murdering our young people. We have to educate our students in the school districts and their parents, because it’s a partnership between the district and the parents teaching our young people, and that includes teaching them about heroin. Locking up every kid that does drugs is ineffective. We need to go after the cause.”
Other issues that Ferretti takes seriously are government transparency and what he calls a “common sense” approach to lawmaking. In particular, he referred to the recent passing of a bill that forbids convicted felons from running for any public office in Nassau County.
“[I thought], ‘this isn’t the law already?’” Ferretti said. “Obviously there are a lot of things that are going on in the county, and some negative stuff. So we need to continue doing common sense ethics reform and we will.”
At 34 years old, Ferretti is a newcomer in the political field, something he sees as a mixed blessing. On the one hand, he believes that having a track record is always a “bigger advantage.” However, Ferretti also considers his status as a political neophyte to be conducive to bringing in new, fresh ideas. In particular, Ferretti is intrigued by the prospect of implementing renewable energy on a wider scale, crediting Town of Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino as being “at the forefront of bringing renewable energy to the Town of Hempstead.”
“It’s great for the environment and also great for the taxpayers, because these things in the long run pay for themselves and actually save money,” Ferretti said. “I really believe that Nassau County should take a page out of the Town of Hempstead’s book in embracing renewable energy, and that’s not anything, as far as I can tell, that I’ve heard even brought up in the county legislature.”
Over the past several weeks, Ferretti has been interacting with many of his constituents, and said he is looking forward to meeting several more throughout his campaign. He’s attended a multitude of events in the community, and is eager to have the chance to serve his hometown.
“To do this in a district that encompasses all of Levittown and all of Salisbury, it’s a great honor to me.”
For more information on Ferretti’s campaign, visit www.electjohnferretti.com.