A Levittown native is re-entering the political realm. Four years removed from a 12-year stint as the Town of Hempstead Supervisor, Republican Kate Murray is back.
Murray, who was town supervisor from 2003-15, recently launched her bid to become town clerk.
“I am so honored and delighted to be a candidate for Hempstead Town Clerk,” Murray said in a press release. “My desire for helping people and providing the best governmental services at the lowest possible cost is strong. I want to facilitate a collaborative working atmosphere at town hall that will benefit residents.”
Murray will face current town clerk Sylvia Cabana, who is a Democrat, and the first Latin-American woman selected to serve in that position. If elected, this would be the second time Murray has held the office, serving as town clerk from 2001 to 2003.
Previously, Murray unsuccessfully challenged Madeline Singas for district attorney in 2015. Singas defeated Murray by about 18 percent—31,000 votes—in that election.
Murray’s loss arguably came due to her opposition of rebuilding Nassau Coliseum and the area surrounding it in her years as town supervisor. Charles B. Wang, then-owner of the New York Islanders, proposed the Lighthouse Project, which would have renovated the coliseum and its surrounding area for $3.8 billion. At the time, the project was supported by then-county executive Ed Mangano.
Nassau County residents rejected a revised plan in an Aug. 1, 2011 vote that would have created a scaled-down version of the Lighthouse Project. Murray was blamed for the loss in the days, weeks and months following the vote after she submitted a 2010 counter proposal to Wang’s original plan, one that Mangano said was too small to be economically viable.
Singas took advantage of this during the 2015 election, reaching out to constituents who wanted to keep the Islanders in Nassau.
But after a four-year hiatus from politics, Murray believes she can win this election.
“When I was formerly town clerk and supervisor, I worked together with the councilmembers, resolving differences in a professional and collegial manner, not resorting to lawsuits and name calling,” Murray said. “What’s more, I am enthusiastic to resume the genuine strides that I had made to offer competent and efficient services at the town clerk’s office.”
Murray wants voters to focus on local issues, including her alliance with fellow Republican Donald Clavin, who is running to become the Town of Hempstead Supervisor.
“I stand firmly with Don Clavin and the councilmembers who defeated Supervisor [Laura] Gillen’s $2 million tax-hike budget proposal for 2019, putting a sound and sensible 4.2 percent tax cut budget in its place,” Murray said.
But the Islanders fiasco might come back to haunt her. As soon as she announced her campaign, one fan tweeted “Islander fans…time to get to the voting booth again…#goawaykate.” While the hashtag hasn’t caught on, Cabana is attempting to use it as a way to gather more votes.
“According to Kate, Isles fans have moved on,” Cabana tweeted on Feb. 22. “Let’s send her a message on Nov. 5 to show we haven’t forgotten.”
Since the Islanders are back on the island, currently playing at the refurbished NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum until they move to Belmont Park in 2021, Murray feels she has the upper hand.
“I am eager to resume the advances that I brought to the clerk’s office during my previous tenure as clerk,” she said. “I am committed to offering the finest constituent services at the lowest possible cost.”
The Democrats, though, feel otherwise.
Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs released a statement, saying in part: “The voters see through Republican Kate Murray’s candidacy and assuredly will choose to reelect Sylvia Cabana as town clerk in November.”