Enjoying The Balancing Act


By Delia DeRiggi-Whitton,

Nassau County Legislature

delia-041515ABeing an elected official is often a balancing act. I get to experience opposite ends of the spectrum daily. For instance, I have just been named to the Budget Review Committee for the county, which consists of just five people: the county executive, the presiding and deputy presiding officers, the minority leader and me. This is the most important work I do for my constituents and every taxpayer in the county, ensuring our tax dollars are put to good purpose. It is work that I can really dig into since I have always had a good grasp for budgeting and figures.

My office helped the Village of Manorhaven reclaim $20,000 from an old grant. We were able to help the Village of Port Washington North reclaim $50,000 from another old grant that hadn’t been completed. When the Nassau County Museum of Art was in danger of losing a large grant from the state to remove invasive plants from their grounds due to a lack of matching funds, I was able to secure emergency capital funding to help them finish the project.

Through the Community Revitalization Program (CRP), the county provides funding for community improvements. Applicants have to be municipalities or quasi-governmental organizations like schools, libraries or fire districts, and the funds need to be for things that will last for more than five years. They can’t, for example, be for food or supplies that are used quickly. With the assistance of Kevan Abrahams, the legislature’s minority leader, I was able to secure a $200,000 CRP grant for the Port Washington Public Library’s upcoming renovation of the children’s room. I am excited to see the plans become a reality and to be part of making the vision for a wonderful new facility come to life.

Being a legislator gives me lots of opportunities to meet fascinating people. I enjoy being able to recognize the achievements of people throughout our community. The amount of skill, dedication, passion and strength I’ve seen is amazing. From social to environmental to health issues, there are people in our community—our friends and neighbors—who are working to solve thorny problems with devotion and perseverance.

Recently I attended the Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington gala, where I met the honorees, Peter and Jeri Dejana, whose foundation was being honored, along with community leaders Lisa Grossman and Susan Goldman. They have all given their time, talent and money to improving Port Washington.

Two events in honor of Women’s History Month, the County Trailblazer Awards and the Town of North Hempstead’s Women’s Roll of Honor, showed the depth of commitment to making Nassau County a better place. The honoree for the 11th District was Joyce Schneider, who has done tremendous work for Alzheimer’s patients and families, as well as senior citizens and adults overall. There were 18 other amazing women from the county selected by other legislators. The North Hempstead honorees, ranging in age from 16 to 92, also showed that women’s power knows no limits.

This range of activities keeps the job interesting. There are days that are challenging and times that increase my faith in humanity.


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Joe Scotchie is the editor of both The Roslyn News and New Hyde Park Illustrated News. In 2009, he won a New York State Press Association award for a sports feature. Joseph Scotchie’s past publications include biographies of Thomas Wolfe and Richard Weaver and a comprehensive history of the city of Asheville, North Carolina.


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