Meet The Mayoral Candidates

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Mayor Scott Strauss and former Trustee Larry Werther

With village elections only two weeks away, it’s time that the residents of Mineola know more about their choices for village mayor.

The Mineola American asked candidates Larry Werther, a former mayor, and Scott Strauss, mayor since 2011, to submit bios, as well as tell us more about why they were running.

Scott Strauss

Scott Strauss is a 54-year resident of Mineola and is a proud graduate of Mineola High School. He retired from the NYPD as a detective in 2004, receiving numerous awards including the Medal for Valor and the Medal of Honor, the NYPD’s highest award. After Strauss’ retirement, he embarked upon his second career as the Corporate Director of Security for Northwell Health.

He is a former chief of Mineola’s Volunteer Fire Department where he has been a member for 37 years, being recognized twice as Company #2 “Firefighter of the Year” and received the Town of Hempstead’s “Firefighter of the Year.” Strauss was also a Junior Firefighter.
Strauss is an assistant Scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 45. As a Scout himself, he earned Scouting’s highest award, Eagle Scout. He is a life member of the Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and is a former coach with the Mineola Athletic Association in the soccer and Little League programs.

Strauss resides in Mineola with his wife, Pat, and sons, Bryan and Christopher.

Q: What do you think the biggest issue Mineola residents are facing?

A: I think the biggest issue our residents face is the high cost of living on Long Island primarily due to high taxes. My fellow board members and I have worked extremely hard to keep our village taxes low. We haven’t raised taxes in two years and have squeezed the most out of our tax dollars as possible. We are committed to reinvesting in our infrastructure and have put Mineola on a pay-as-you-go basis, all without raising taxes.

Q: What is the one thing that you are most proud of during your tenure as mayor?

A: It’s difficult to pinpoint just one thing that I am most proud of accomplishing since becoming mayor. I am definitely proud of the financial status of our village and our rock solid financial footing. We’ve refinanced our serial bonds saving taxpayers $1,342,000, reduced our debt by $18,300,000, spent $8,230,000 on roads and upgraded our bond rating to Aa3. All without raising taxes. I am proud of the work that we’ve done in our parks, specifically Memorial Park: a $2 million makeover which now has an amphitheater where thousands have come to enjoy our free concerts. This will be enjoyed by our residents for decades to come. We‘ve also become a recognized leader in Smartgrowth development by good government groups and the media, while maintaining our suburban character, again, without raising taxes or borrowing.

Larry Werther

Larry Werther is Brooklyn born, Queens raised and moved to Mineola in 1980 to live in a beautiful suburban village. Werther and his wife have raised two sons in Mineola and currently have one son and his family with Werther’s three grandchildren here in Mineola. Werther is a graduate of Archbishop Molloy High School and Queens College with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Werther is a retired vice president from J.P. Morgan and has spent 10 years on the village board as mayor, deputy mayor and trustee. As a trustee, Werther was the only trustee who was made an executive board member of the Nassau County Village Officials Association. While on the board, Werther also instituted the mandate for balanced budgets and put active management in place for the Firefighter Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) funds.

Werther is a former Cub Master for Pack 246 and was an assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 45 where both of his sons became Eagle Scouts. He was also a coach for MAA and PAL soccer, baseball and basketball.

Q: What do you think the biggest issue Mineola residents are facing?

A: According to a 2017 survey by Chapman University, 50 percent of Americans fear not having enough money for the future. In New York, we are being crushed by the cost of living with taxes being a huge part of that. The recent federal tax laws capping state and local tax deductions made this worse. I pay around $10,000 a year in property taxes which means any state income tax I pay is not deductible. Many are in the same situation. Unfortunately, our mayor chose to give 20-year tax breaks to wealthy developers rather than school tax reductions to residents. Whether you are saving for retirement or your child’s education or just trying to make ends meet, I believe financially surviving is our biggest issue.

Q: If you were mayor again, what is one thing you would change?

A: There are so many things that need fixing that it’s tough to narrow it down. I believe that the most important item is to reestablish the publics’ faith in the office of the mayor. The current administration has gone to back room deals, ignoring residents’ concerns at hearings and keeping them in the dark. I have been told innumerable times that the mayor does not return phone calls, emails or acknowledge visits. My experience is that he obfuscates his responses to Freedom of Information requests rendering them useless. I would resolve this by being a full time mayor with an open door policy for our residents, giving them my direct phone line, having regular office hours and following the letter and spirit of the open meetings and Freedom of Information laws.

To hear more about the issues that plague Mineola residents and the candidates stance on them, Mineola American will be hosting a trustee and mayoral debate at the Mineola Middle School located at 200 Emory Rd. on Monday, March 12, from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

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