As the 2012 Long Island Index showed, Long Island is clearly at a tipping point where our economy has the potential to soar if we handle our assets aggressively - or conversely, fail if we ignore or refuse to plan as necessary.  It is critical to know what our candidates think about the critical issues facing us.

Here are our suggested questions to ask of any candidate running for office.  Please use them and share your results with us at Rauch Foundation’s Facebook page.

Studies show that early childhood education is critical to success for young people especially in poorer school districts. It also makes it easier for families with two wage earners to succeed.
Do you support funding for full-day kindergarten programs in the schools located in your district or jurisdiction if it meant making cuts elsewhere in the education budget?

Magnet schools such as STEM schools are among the highest performing schools in the US and are an important means of developing the technical skills for all of LI’s students that are needed for an innovative economy.  LI has no STEM schools currently.  Would you be willing to support the creation of two STEM schools, one for each county, even in the face of the opposition of many of the Island’s more affluent school districts?

According to the LI Index’s polls,  51% of under 35 year olds and 52% of over 55 year olds living on LI would like to have more apartments in the downtowns near where they live. Are you willing to support the development of such housing in the downtowns and provide incentives such as expedited approvals and increased height limits?

Long Island has a much higher percentage of single family homes compared to our surrounding suburban neighbors.  In order to create more housing options, do you support changing local zoning rules in Nassau/Suffolk County to make it easier to install a rental apartment in a single-family home (also known as accessory housing)? 

There is the need for new north-south transportation links to connect people living in communities on the north and south shores with LIRR facilities without reliance on a car.

Do you support planning and funding for new bus rapid transit or light-rail shuttle connections to existing LIRR stations?

In light of the related issues of clean and safe drinking water and the need to build more apartments and offices in our downtowns, would you be willing to state publicly that investment in sewers (for Suffolk) and water management (for Nassau) are top priorities for Suffolk/Nassau?