Stepping Up To Represent Manhasset


Mary Kay BarketTossing her hat into the local political arena for the very first time in her life, a local woman with big plans is aiming to make change in the Manhasset community by running for a seat on the North Hempstead Town Council this November.
Mary Kay Barket has called Manhasset home, along with her husband and four children, for more than 12 years. Having worked in the insurance industry for quite some time, she retired and started her own part-time consulting company out of her house after the birth of her first child six years ago.
Having been politically active in her past, the idea of running for public office had always been in the back of her mind, Barket said; however, it wasn’t until now that her busy life was aligned in such a way as to finally make that possible.
“The Republicans approached me, and I thought that in September all of my children will be in school all day, so I knew I would have the time to do this, and it’s something that I think I could do very well,” she said. “So, it worked out well both for the Republicans and for me.”
Deciding to run on the Republican ticket for Chairperson for the Town Council of North Hempstead, Barket noted that while Manhasset falls under its umbrella, its residents have been lacking direct representation within North Hempstead for quite some time.
“It’s been over 20 years, and Manhasset doesn’t get the attention it needs. This is mostly because Manhasset is not an incorporated village, unlike other areas that have their own mayors and boards of trustees that address local issues,” she said. “Instead, the Town Council of North Hempstead addresses Manhasset’s issues, and because there hasn’t
been anyone on the council from Manhasset for so long, I think it’s been neglected.”
However, Barket noted that she is not actually registered with any political party; she is merely running on the Republican and Conservative lines. She will be running against incumbent Anna Kaplan of Great Neck on Nov. 3, and despite not having any real experience yet in public service, Barket said that her years of business acumen acquired in the corporate sector—not to mention participating in a great deal of charity work on the side—will be quite invaluable to the residents of North Hempstead.
“The skills I have from my years in business have taught me how to run things in an efficient manner as well as dealing with the financial world and with numbers,” she said. “I also do a lot of volunteer work, including fundraisers, so the combination of what I learned in the corporate world plus my love of serving the public would really help make our town government better.”
Already having officially announced her candidacy, Barket has been beating feet to get the word out to the people; she’s already launched an informative campaign website outlining her background and experience, and has been making her way through the towns, neighborhoods, and parks of the area, meeting and talking to the people on the street. So far, she said the support she has been shown by the community has convinced her that she has made the correct choice.
“I’m actually overwhelmed by the positive feedback I’ve been getting,” she said. “I’m very encouraged…People who know me have been telling me I’d be great at it, and people from this area really want to see someone from Manhasset in Town Hall.”
Barket noted a number of issues that North Hempstead residents are facing that she feels she can make a positive impact on. Among them, first and foremost, she said, is the slight matter of the town council’s current pay.
“The first thing I would do is roll back the 20 percent salary increase the town council voted itself two years ago,” she said. “It’s a part-time job, and in this economy, to give yourself a 20 percent pay raise—to vote for yourself on the backs of middle-class taxpayers—is egregious. Currently, there are six people on the town council, plus the supervisor, and two of them are Republicans who voted against the pay raise,
so if we have another Republican
in there, I think we can get it done.”
Other issues Barket hopes to address if elected are ways to make town government more efficient as it relates to its constituents, especially in terms of taxation, as well as making sure that lines of communication are open and receptive to input.
“We pay some of the highest taxes in the country,” she said. “Also, if you talk to anyone who has ever contacted town hall the last couple of years, they’ll tell you that it’s very frustrating, so I would try to improve the responsiveness as well as the efficiency.”
Other issues Barket intends to tackle include pedestrian safety on busy Plandome Road in Manhassset, noting that there needs to be more crosswalks and parking made available due to the heavy, family-
based foot traffic in that area.
Along with her business skill
and civic-mindedness, the main thing that Barket brings to the table in her quest to better both Manhasset and North Hempstead as a whole is her dedication to the concept of family and community.
“Being a parent of four children, including one with special needs, makes me realize the importance local government plays in our day-to-day lives,” she said. “It’s essential that government responds quickly and efficiently to the needs of its citizens, and I hope the community comes out and supports me in making a difference by voting this November.”
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