Elaine Phillips Gets It Done


On March 26 this year, I made a very difficult decision but it was one I was proud of. I actually had a choice that most people don’t have. On a day I will never forget, I became a U.S. citizen. It was difficult because of the loyalty I have always felt to the country of my birth—England. It wasn’t difficult in another sense—the United States is the best country in the world. And I can say that with some certainty, having visited more than a third of them. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I have found here. We are fair and open-minded. We are ethical and we rigorously uphold standards. We are generous and we have a genuine concern for others. And we are free to make our own choices. No matter what anyone tells you, the American dream is still alive. I am very privileged to be able to choose a country that has the values I want my kids to aspire to.

As well as a strong desire to say “thank you” to the U.S., the other reason I became a U.S. citizen in March was to exercise the right to vote, knowing that my first vote would be for President of the United States. Not unlike many others, I feel let down. What should have been a battle between two statesmen has degenerated into a slanging match we ought to be ashamed of. But I have to say that my new-found right to vote has a silver lining. I can now vote for Elaine Phillips as she runs for the New York State Senate. Quite simply, she is not “talk.” She does what she says she is going to do.

I have watched carefully as Elaine has quietly changed lives for the better for the citizens of Nassau County. She has already been mayor of one and trustee of another of the 32 villages she would represent in Albany, and in both cases, she was voted in by an overwhelming majority of her fellow citizens. In terms of ethics, in Flower Hill she found a Board of Trustees, which had privately been granting itself generous medical benefits. She refused to participate and changed the policy. She did this without any fanfare and with no grandstanding. In terms of taxes, all politicians claim to reduce taxes, but somehow the tax bill doesn’t go down. It’s real easy to figure it out. You just look at your bill compared with the previous year’s bill. In the last four years, under Elaine’s leadership, my bill has gone down. I am aware of no other government body that has ever done this.

In terms of making things happen, the worst natural disaster to hit our area was Superstorm Sandy. At that time, our electricity was provided by National Grid. The year after Sandy, I met the CEO of National Grid in his London offices. We talked about Sandy and Elaine’s name came up. How could the CEO of a $50,000 billion, 24,000-person company in a different country possibly know Elaine’s name and remember it? His comments were remarkable. While other LI politicians were simply calling in favors to get their own lights on first, Elaine was selflessly exploring ways to bring the entire grid back more quickly. Though she was likely a thorn in his side, her pressure and her persistence in doing the right thing, were something he acknowledged and remembered. He told me that she had really made a difference.

In terms of a green environment, there is a reason why the National Arbor Day Foundation recognizes Elaine’s administration for its efforts, one of the few on LI to be recognized.

As a new American, I feel very honored and proud to cast my vote for the first time. I will cast it based on those values we hold dear: those of ethics and displaying a genuine concern for others and I will vote for Elaine Phillips because I know she will do what she says she is going to do. She will clean up Albany, she will reduce our taxes and she will get things done. How do I know? Because she’s already doing that on a daily basis. If you want your vote to make a difference the way you can do so vote for Elaine Phillips.

—Neil Smith

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