Josh Lafazan, New York's youngest elected official, is running for Congress

The 27-year-old Jewish lawmaker from Long Island hopes to be a unifier and work across the political aisle, but he has his opposition.

The US Capitol building, which contains the House of Representatives and the Senate. (photo credit: PIXABAY)
The US Capitol building, which contains the House of Representatives and the Senate.
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

A Jewish New York politician is running for Congress, hoping to be the youngest Democrat there if elected.

Josh Lafazan, 27, currently represents District 18 in Nassau County, Long Island, and has already served in his position for three terms, being the youngest to ever hold it. In fact, he is the youngest elected official in New York as a whole, after being elected to his school board at the age of 18.

He is set to run for New York's 3rd congressional district, as the incumbent, fellow Democrat Tom Suozzi, is making a bid for governor.

"Politicians always talk about standing up," Lafazan said in a video shared over social media after he announced his congressional aspirations.

"I'm Josh Lafazan. And you know what, I'm gonna sit down. Because it's time we recognize the value of a seat."

Lafazan's platform is centered on making Long Island safer and more affordable, lowering property taxes, managing healthcare costs, green initiatives, gun control, fighting the opioid epidemic and fighting COVID.

"But none of that happens if we don't keep this seat in Democrat hands," Lafazan says in his video. "And I'm the Democrat who can do that."

Lafazan's tenure in the Nassau County Legislature saw him fighting for non-partisan issues and making a major emphasis on crossing over the political spectrum to work with others. And it is this tactic, he said, that has seen him pass more bills than any of his fellow legislators. Describing himself as a unifier, this is something he also plans on doing at the federal level, should he make it to Congress, he told the Long Island Herald.

“I will take the same playbook as a member of Congress to make sure I’m delivering for every corner of the district,” he said. “I find the issues that cut across partisan lines and I am relentless in getting things done.”

Lafazan has also made clear his plans on fighting against antisemitism

“My grandfather Boris was a refugee of the Holocaust. Through his eyes, I learned the consequences of what happens when hate directed towards a group of people goes unchecked - and that's why today isn't just about people of Jewish faith standing up and fighting back,” Lafazan said in July at the Stop Antisemitism and Hate Now rally. 

“It's also about all of our allies, and people of good conscience everywhere, understanding the gravity of just how serious things are right now, and realizing they too have a crucial role to play to extinguish antisemitism and hate in all of its pernicious manifestations. Because we understand all too well the weight of these famous words: ‘All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.'"

However, Lafazan also has his detractors.

For one, the legislator has expressed pro-police views, and had advanced a bill that would let police officers sue others who abuse them on duty, including Black Lives Matter protesters, the New York Post reported. 

It is for this reason that some POC and LGBTQ+ activists and leaders have expressed opposition towards his bid for Congress, according to the New York Post.

Further, he has other opposition, as Lafazan isn't alone in gunning for Suozzi's seat, with other Democrats hoping to represent the 3rd district.