By The Roslyn News Staff
Manhasset resident Mary Kay Barket is running for election for Town of North Hempstead (TONH) Fourth District Councilwoman this Nov. 3.
Barket was born and raised in New Orleans and has lived in New York for the past 20 years. She grew up in a family of 12, where she learned frugality, compromise, discipline, efficiency and hard work.
Barket attended Catholic University on a full academic scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. Upon graduation, she began a career in the insurance industry specializing in medical malpractice. After the birth of her first child, Barket founded an actuarial consulting practice and currently works part-time from home. Barket’s husband, Bruce, practices law in Garden City. They moved to Manhasset 12 years ago and have four children.
Currently on the board of several organizations, including the IHM League at Our Lady of Grace School, Association for Children with Down Syndrome and The Matthew Foundation for Down Syndrome Research, Barket is passionate about charitable work. Her family has raised almost $60,000 for Best Buddies International, a volunteer organization, in the past two years.
Barket wants to spend her time making the town better and safer and improve its service to residents. Living one block from the center of town has given her insight into the problems facing Plandome Road, from pedestrian safety to empty storefronts.
She wants to see additional, clearly-marked crosswalks on Plandome Road as well as a crossing guard on Memorial Place and turn signals at busy intersections. “Because I walk on Plandome Road with my children almost every day, I see the dangers that exist,” Barket said. “We need to slow traffic down and make it safer for pedestrians.”
She believes the town should be more proactive. “We shouldn’t wait for a horrific accident in order to make meaningful change. Barket also wants to increase available parking for shoppers and merchants in Manhasset by moving town hall employee parking offsite and using shuttles.
Barket said, “Local politics is where one can make a real difference in people’s lives. Between parking, policing, traffic, zoning, playgrounds and taxes, these are the things that affect day-to-day activities and our quality of life.”
Barket believes her combination of volunteer service experience and financial expertise makes her fit to be a public servant. She considers herself an expert in budgets, financial projects and bringing people together to get deals done.
In order to make local government more transparent, responsive and efficient, Barket plans to roll back the 20 percent pay raise the town board voted themselves in 2013. She wants to eliminate political patronage jobs and return that money to taxpayers. Over the next four years, Barket plans to review every job in TONH to determine if the position is necessary and if the person in the position is fulfilling their duties. “If a business was run like town hall,” she said, “it would be out of business.”
Barket also wants to help local villages increase their use of technology to save administrative costs for tasks such as renewing permits. “Many administrative activities should be able to be done online instead of having to go to the Village Hall,” she said.
Committed to the environment, Barket would like to see an increase in recycling electronics, batteries and hazardous materials, and decrease in the use of plastic grocery bags at local markets.
In addition, she is wary of unsafe conditions at Whitney Pond Park. “These conditions should not exist in our town,” Barket said.
Barket would like to be “Your independent voice for North Hempstead.”
By The Roslyn News Staff
Manhasset resident Anna Kaplan is running for reelection for Town of North Hempstead (TONH) Fourth District Councilwoman this Nov. 3.
Kaplan was born Anna Monahemi in northern Iran and raised in the capital Tehran. “When the Islamic Revolution took place in 1979, I was sent to the United States as part of an international effort to help the Jewish children of Iran leave the country,” she said. Kaplan originally arrived in Brooklyn, then was sent to live with a foster family in Chicago where she attended high school and learned to speak English while waiting for her family to join her in the U.S.
“After I was reunited with my family, we moved first to Queens and eventually to Great Neck,” said Kaplan. She graduated from Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University and received a Juris Doctor degree from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law.
Kaplan is the first elected official in her family and the first Iranian-American elected to municipal office above the village level in the history of New York State.
For the past 24 years, Kaplan has lived in the TONH with her husband, Darren, and their two daughters—the eldest of whom just left home to start her freshman year of college.
Kaplan has always been interested in helping others and trying to improve people’s lives. “I began my career in public service when I was elected to the Great Neck Library Board,” she said. “I had been vocal about certain issues at the library’s main building and a group that shared my concerns asked me to run.”
While serving her term as Library Trustee, Kaplan was also appointed to the TONH Board of Zoning Appeals. When the town council seat for the Fourth District opened up, she saw a chance to help a greater number of people. “I decided to run,” she said. “I am so grateful to this country for the opportunities I have received and I want to give back as much as I can. I have found that serving in elected office is the best way for me to do that.”
Kaplan considers her record to be her qualification to run for office. “I have spent the last four years working nonstop for the residents of the Fourth District,” she said. “I have built strong working relationships with the village governments in my district as well as the civic associations that represent the unincorporated areas.”
Kaplan has also sponsored and ensured passage of town legislation, overseeing major revitalizations to Manhasset Valley Park and Whitney Pond Park and bringing the first affordable senior housing to the Fourth District. “I have also worked hard alongside Supervisor Bosworth and the entire town council to maintain the town’s strong financial position,” she added.
Looking to maintain policies of strong fiscal management, Kaplan also plans to continue the services and programs available to residents. “In particular, I am going to continue to advocate for and support the town programs that benefit seniors and children,” she said. She also hopes to bring more focus to the environment by preserving drinking water and protecting Manhasset Bay from wastewater runoff.
“The residents of the Fourth District know that I am a person who gets things done, and I will continue to get things done for them if I am reelected,” Kaplan said.
She added, “It is an incredible privilege to hold this job, and I am thankful every day for the opportunity that has been given to me by the voters. …I am proud to have played a part in improving the lives of the residents of North Hempstead.”