Nassau County Legislator
Denise Ford was first elected to represent the 4th Legislative District after an upset victory in 2003 and was re-elected in 2005, 2007, 2009 and again in 2011. The 4th District includes the City of Long Beach, Lido Beach, Atlantic Beach, Point Lookout and parts of Oceanside and Island Park.
Legislator Ford currently serves as the Chair of the Economic & Community Development & Labor Committee, the Vice Chair of the Government Services & Operations Committee, and serves on the Planning, Development & the Environment Committee and the Public Safety Committee.
An avid environmentalist, Legislator Ford recently joined with U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, NYS Senator Dean Skelos and NYS Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg to successfully call upon New York State to release $11 million from the EPA which was owed to Nassau County. She also advocated with Assemblyman Weisenberg to release funds from New York State for the TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) water quality study in the Western Bays. In addition, Legislator Ford secured $70 million in capital funding to improve and upgrade the county’s two neglected sewage treatment plants.
Legislator Ford also fought against the expanded usage of the Lloyd Aquifer by Suffolk County. Allowing another municipality to tap into our local water source would have impacted the aquifer’s output capabilities, set a dangerous precedent for the future, and jeopardized the integrity and purity of the drinking water below.
In addition to her ongoing pursuit against underage drinking and her support of Tobacco 19 legislation, Legislator Ford served as a key figure in organizing the first and now annual Long Beach Suicide Prevention Walk, “Let’s Walk Let’s Talk”, to support the Long Island Crisis Center’s 24-hour intervention hotline and suicide education. In appreciation of her efforts, Legislator Ford has been named Person of The Year by the Long Island Crisis Center.
Legislator Ford continues to secure funding to retain the N69 bus which provides frequent and convenient transportation for residents who live between Point Lookout, Lido, and the City of Long Beach. The bus will continue to serve our residents such as senior citizens who are unable to drive who need public transportation to pick up medication and go to various services.
Legislator Ford is also proud of the work she has done to help make “Art in the Plaza” a reality in the City of Long Beach. This event provides a venue for local artists and musicians to exhibit and perform their art for everyone to enjoy. Mrs. Ford also helped bring the first farmers market to the City of Long Beach. Located at Kennedy Memorial Park, the farmer’s market features vegetables, plants, flowers, fruit, juices, preserves, eggs, honey, cheese, and artisan bread that are grown or made on Long Island. It’s a great way to eat healthy, and to give back to the local economy.
One of Legislator Ford’s main priorities is holding the line on taxes. She was instrumental in the repeal of the onerous 2.5% Home Energy Tax and is proud to have passed a 2011 budget that eliminated 16.5% in planned property tax increases. Mrs. Ford has also been working tirelessly to make sure residents are prepared in case of a hurricane or emergency and has been offering forums to inform people of how to safeguard themselves against harm. Being so close to the beach and water it is important to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature may throw our way.
While working together with the Nassau County Department of Assessment Mrs. Ford conducts numerous meetings throughout the year to help senior citizens save money on their Nassau County property tax bill and school tax bill. The meetings are designed to assist in understanding the various tax reduction programs such as the Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption Program and the Enhanced Star Program.
Legislator Ford has been a resident of the Long Beach community for 30 years and has long been active in her West End neighborhood. Mrs. Ford stepped down as the President of the West End Neighbors Civic Association to assume her role in the Legislature. She is currently a member of the Oceanside Rotary club, and also holds membership in community organizations like the Kiwanis Club, League of Women Voters, Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, and Long Beach Historical Society. In addition, Mrs. Ford retired from the telephone company in 1999 after 25 years of loyal service as both a technician and a shop steward in Locals 1101 & 1106.
Legislator Ford was raised in a family dedicated to public service. Her father was a retired member of the New York City Police Department and her mother worked for many years with the United States Customs Department. She is the proud mother of three wonderful children, Janna O’Brien who is a graduate of Hofstra University and is teaching special education at Long Beach Middle School, Harry, a student at Nassau Community College, and Gerard, who is attending the University of Scranton. Legislator Ford and her family have had to cope with enormous tragedy, Mrs. Ford’s husband, Harry, a decorated; 27 year veteran of the New York City Fire Department was killed along with two of his fellow firefighters at a fire in Queens on Father’s Day 2001. Legislator Ford’s story has turned from one of tragedy to one of strength and inspiration.
During her term in office Mrs. Ford has been honored for numerous achievements within her community for serving her constituents. In the past she has received the Big Sister award from Project Challenge for her untiring efforts to better her community. She was also named Woman of the Year by the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce in recognition of the exceptional leadership she has given for her constituents. Additionally, Legislator Ford was honored as Woman of the Year by the Michael Valente Lodge. She was again honored as a “Woman of Valor” by the Sisterhood of Temple Emanu-el. Legislator Ford was honored in Albany by Senator Skelos as “Woman of Distinction” for her outstanding achievements and contributions which have greatly enriched the quality of life in her community and beyond as well as a role model for all of us. Legislator Ford was honored by the Arthritis Foundation at their annual fundraising breakfast, and most recently, Legislator Ford received the Americanism Honor from the American Legion Long Beach Post No.972 and the “Extra Step” Award from the Long Beach Landmarks Association.