Lafazan Reflects On His Political Career So Far

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Josh Lafazan, 29, has been in politics almost his entire adult life.
And while he was not re-elected as District 18 Nassau County Legislator in 2023, Lafazan’s political career is not over yet. Lafazan registered on Nov.13 to run for the New York State Senate District 7 seat in 2024.
“I’ve served in public office since I was a teenager and I’ve loved the opportunity to use my government office to make a difference for so many people,” Lafazan said. “And I’m exploring the best way to continue serving my community in the weeks and months to come.”
Lafazan began serving the public when he was a high school senior. He was elected as a Syosset Central School District Board of Education trustee in 2012.
“I was senior class president and the superintendent of Syosset Schools made half a million dollars, which was more than the president of the United States,” Lafazan said. “I wanted to represent change in the district and I wanted to represent young people and give young people a seat at the table. So I ran with a group of incredible. young volunteers. We knocked on doors, made phone calls and I was elected a few weeks before prom my senior year.”
And it was not easy once Lafazan was elected, as he had to earn the respect of his fellow board trustees.
“I remember at one of my first meetings I wasn’t allowed to speak and offer my thoughts, which was my right to speak as a school board member,” Lafazan said. “So I had to fight and stay strong and loop the community in and help activate the community to see what was going on and what needed to change. But eventually I became one of the senior members of the board.”
He was re-elected as trustee in 2015, serving the school board for five-and-a-half years. He had to resign at age 23, because he was elected as the youngest legislator on the Nassau County Legislature in 2017. He said he was inspired to run after former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, his wife Linda, and former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto were indicted for bribery and fraud in 2016. Lafazan was frustrated at the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority’s role in monitoring and overseeing Nassau County’s finances and the lack of ability to attract big companies and to move projects forward.
“While all these converging issues were happening, our county executive and our politicians were selling ourselves out to the highest bidder,” Lafazan said.
As legislator, Lafazan has been a witness to history, whether it was former U.S. President Donald Trump’s presidency, the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement or foreign wars.
“I think having served in public office during COVID was a really crucial time for my staff and I to be able to deliver really important constituent services,” Lafazan said. “I’ll never forget that we started a program where we had volunteers who would grocery shop for senior citizens who couldn’t leave their homes. We started that program and had over 300 volunteers shopping. We were able to work with non-profit partners to get PPE [personal protective equipment] to our health care workers and first responders; to get vaccination clinics into all different corners of the community for folks who had difficulty with transportation; to help small businesses earn grants. There was so much we did to help people during what was a scary time with all the unknown, and it stands out to me in terms of how important an elected official is during a time of crisis.”
With this last election that saw more Republican victories, Lafazan said moving forward he believes Democrats have to improve in articulating their messages when it comes to crime and the economy. “Especially when it comes to reaching voters who are in the middle in Nassau County, I think Democrats have to take stock in how we are messaging about what our priorities are to win voters back,” Lafazan said.
A week before the election, Lafazan, joined by Town of North Hempstead Supervisor candidate Jon Kaiman and local Jewish leaders, held a press conference at Mid-Island Y JCC in Plainview to denounce campaign mailers used by his opponent, Samantha Goetz. He described the mailers as antisemitic because of the way a photo of him was manipulated.
“The campaign that was ran by my opponent was the most disgraceful, despicable, disgusting campaign I’ve ever seen,” Lafazan said. “And to hide from the press, to not apologize, but to just hide, and then to have the Republicans double-down with the phrase ‘I didn’t know he was Jewish,’ which is outrageous… anyone involved with that campaign has no business serving the public in office.”
Mike Deery of the Nassau County Republican Committee said the campaign materials were mailed and paid for by the New York State Republican Committee.
“In no way, shape or form were they antisemitic,” Deery said. “An image of somebody holding a fistful of cash is really a reflection of greed and corruption and that was something we thought was certainly fair with respect to the opponent.”
Another challenge in Lafazan’s campaign was the fact that the redistricting process drew part of his hometown out of the district.
“I represented Syosset-Woodbury for over a decade,” Lafazan said. “I ran in a district without the entirety of my hometown, so unfortunately the result did not go my way but we’re confident those maps are going to be overturned.”
The Nassau County Democratic Committee and 20 registered voters, Newsday reported, filed a lawsuit to overturn the new district lines, alleging that the map favors Republicans and dilutes voting power of communities of color.

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