Thomas focuses on student loans, privacy | Herald Community Newspapers

Kevin Thomas leaves it up to voters to decide whether he deserves another term in the state Senate.

The Democratic incumbent from Levittown said it was his work in legal services that got him into politics, helping people pay off private student loans and credit card debt.

“I decided to be the right lawyer, the guy from legal services who went to court every day and defended the little guy if he was sued,” Thomas told reporters during a recent Herald roundtable. . “So it was just a bigger platform for me to help others.”

His first bill to pass after his election in Albany in 2018 helped create what became known as the Student Loan Borrowers Bill of Rights – the first of its kind in the nation – intended to allow the state Department of Financial Services to audit federal student loan services like Sallie Mae.

Thomas also touts his efforts to fund local schools, the Nassau University Medical Center, infrastructure repairs, small businesses and efforts to clean up contamination linked to the Northrop Grumman plume.

Thomas also supports the need to provide consumers with more control over information, and how it can be accessed and used.

“There are a lot of data brokers out there – especially with companies you give information to – who then resell it and use it for purposes that go beyond what the contract you signed says. that they could use,” Thomas said. . “So there’s a lot of responsibility that I’m trying to bring into play here.”

Through a GOP-led lawsuit, an independent third party was brought in to redraw the lines based on 2020 census data. As a result, the boundaries of this particular Senate district were changed to include South Rim communities. like Baldwin, Freeport and Rockville Center.

It also changed to not only exclude where Thomas lives, but also his challenger. They both received a one-time exemption, which means that by the next election, the winner will either have to move or find a new senatorial district.

Thomas is no stranger to bipartisan efforts. Although the two major political parties were often at odds, they maintained a civilized working relationship in Albany.

Much like those across the aisle, Thomas has been a strong supporter of maintaining a 2% cap on property tax increases and is focused on working to make Nassau a more affordable place. for the people.

“People who can’t afford anything are still living with their parents,” he said. “It’s a problem that everyone’s been trying to tackle for years now. If you’re making $50,000 to $60,000, what’s affordable? There are innovative ways to do that, but we need to do a lot more.”

For public safety, however, Thomas has a multifaceted approach.

“If you look at the data here, recidivism before and after bail reform is about the same,” he said.

He said that under the law, judges currently have the discretion to determine who is eligible for bail, despite claims to the contrary. He also says the state passed legislation allowing them to prosecute gun traffickers caught with three or more illegal firearms and continued to help fund mental health programs.

“There’s so much going on here that blaming it all on bail reform is completely unfair,” Thomas said. “What we have seen for decades is people who had no money when they were arrested for misdemeanors or non-violent crimes and were kept in prison until there was have a trial date.”

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