With the looming midterm elections only weeks away, candidates are revving up their campaigns. Volunteers gathered at the Great Neck Village Green on Sunday, Aug. 5, to advance Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Anna Kaplan’s campaign for New York State Senate. The volunteers have begun canvassing for Kaplan in preparation of the upcoming November election.
Democrat Kaplan is challenging incumbent Republican State Senator Elaine Phillips in District 7. Kaplan’s campaign field director Kelechi Ikwuakor said that they chose to kick off the canvassing in her hometown of Great Neck to rally as much support as possible for the campaign.
“We just want to start off with some great exposure,” Ikwuakor said of the event. “[We want to] remind everybody that the election is happening Nov. 6, and make sure people get out to vote.”
Despite the intense heat on Sunday, a group of about 20 volunteers gathered in the park to receive their assignments and head out into the community. After a few words of encouragement and thanks from Kaplan, the volunteers were given packets containing pamphlets about the campaign and information about the candidate. They spent the afternoon knocking on doors and spreading the word about Kaplan’s campaign and her plans, if elected to State Senate.
New York State Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso was also in attendance at the event and is endorsing Kaplan in the election. He talked about why this upcoming election is so critical for the Democratic party.
“We, as Democrats, historically have the majority [in the State Senate],” D’Urso explained. “But in the midterm elections, the Democrats’ numbers have dropped off drastically, and that is a worry for me and every other Democrat who runs. If we could have a good organization with good people helping out, we’ll win.”
D’Urso spent 14 years as a councilman for the Town of North Hempstead, and he believes Kaplan will be a powerful force for change in the community. He explained that there will be another canvassing event for Kaplan in Port Washington from Saturday, Aug. 25 to Sunday, Aug. 26, but that this event in Great Neck was held on Sunday out of respect for Jewish members of the community who observe Shabbat.
The assemblyman is not the only important political figure to endorse Kaplan; last week, former President Barack Obama announced his support for her candidacy. This is only one of two New York elections that Obama is directly addressing.
When it comes to choosing a candidate, Kaplan suggests that constituents reach out to them directly; she promises to respond.
“In my town council, every phone call gets returned and every email gets a response in a very timely manner,” stressed Kaplan. “I always say, ‘It’s not about the elected official, it’s about the residents, and about what we as representatives can do for those residents.’”
Kaplan has many goals she would focus on if elected to State Senate, but the areas of importance for her are women’s rights, gun-control legislation, the Reproductive Health Act and education. Her support for her female advocates was obvious as she applauded her campaign manager, Tess McRae, and others who work tirelessly to support her candidacy.
“I am blessed to have Tess as my campaign manager,” said Kaplan. “I believe in women; I think we need to help raise each other up, and if we can have more women as part of the team, it’s a great honor.”
In today’s rocky political climate, younger members of the population are starting to
speak up when it comes to creating the world they want to see. Virginia Lo, a 16-year-old rising senior at Great Neck South High School, recently became an intern for the Kaplan
campaign and was present at the event on Sunday. She mentioned that her views align well with Kaplan’s.
“Councilwoman Kaplan upholds the values that I really appreciate,” Lo said. “She’s for women’s rights and education, which I find really important. I believe, that as young people, we have to have a voice, especially after the 2016 election.”
To volunteer or connect with Kaplan regarding her candidacy or the election, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 516-366-0923.