Lems says the county would benefit from a public campaign finance system that removes the motivation for candidates to accept large contributions from developers, contractors and others with business before the county. “Maybe that would stop some of the ‘pay to play’ we’ve seen,” she said. She also said that county officials should fill appointed posts based on merit, not a person’s political affiliation. Lems said she would push for environmental initiatives such as a countywide plastic bag ban and limits on use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers. She also backs a state bill to create a universal health care system in New York, noting that it would save Nassau County hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs. “I want to put some of the Green Party ideas out there,” Lems said.
Lems, 61, of Herricks, is running for Nassau County executive on the Green Party line. She is an intellectual property paralegal making her third run at public office — she ran for county legislature in 2015 and State Senate in 2014. Lems received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Goucher College in Baltimore. She serves as a volunteer with Nassau’s Community Emergency Response Team, which provides aid to first responders, and as a Green Party state committee member.