Meet Josh Lafazan
Legislator Josh Lafazan, at 23 years of age, became Nassau County’s youngest-ever legislator upon his election to the Nassau County Legislature in November of 2017. He is currently serving his third term, where he represents Nassau’s 18th Legislative District.
Josh graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a Master’s Degree in Education Policy and Management in May 2017, and from the Cornell University ILR School with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations in May 2016. Josh is currently pursuing his Doctoral Degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
In addition to public service, Josh is proud to work for Northwell Health, supporting the health system’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts. In this role, Josh advises Northwell - New York’s largest private employer - on implementing policies and initiatives to best care for our employees, protect the environment, and impact our communities through strategic partnerships.
Josh has also taught as a college professor at both Long Island University and New York Institute of Technology. Josh's courses teach young candidates how to run for public office in their communities, and young entrepreneurs on how to start a venture.
In May 2012, at the age of 18, Josh became one of the youngest elected officials in the history of New York State when he was elected to the Syosset School Board of Education. Josh was elected with 82% of the vote one month before he graduated from Syosset High School, and was re-elected by his constituents in 2015. During his time on the school board, Josh successfully fought for an unprecedented increase in transparency and openness of all school district functions.
Josh’s dedication to community service began before he ran for the school board. In 2011, Josh became the Founder & CEO of Safe Ride Syosset, a community outreach program dedicated to ensuring that no Syosset teenager gets behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, or is the passenger in a car with a drunk driver. Josh and his volunteers safely drove home over 350 students in 2012, and there was not a single teenage drinking and driving accident in Syosset on the nights Safe Ride was operating.
Since his inauguration, Josh has both authored and passed dozens of bills into law.
Josh has made fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic a top legislative priority. In 2018, Josh passed two significant pieces of legislation to curb addiction in Nassau County. Josh wrote "Timothy's Law", which established a 24-hour hotline staffed exclusively by substance abuse counselors, and developed the "Nassau C.A.R.E.S." app, which created a zip-code searchable treatment database, so that any resident in need of help could find resources in their communities.
Josh believes that every veteran who served this nation in uniform should be cared for. In 2019, with bi-partisan support, Josh wrote and passed the "Dignity For Our Heroes" Package into law, which was comprised of two bills aimed at eliminating veteran homelessness here in Nassau County. These bills added veterans as a protected class under the Nassau County Human Rights Law, and created the Nassau Commission on Ending Veteran Homelessness to build a transitional supportive housing facility for all veterans in need. Josh later authored the "Hiring Our Heroes" Act which passed into law in 2022, helping tackle veteran unemployment in Nassau by eliminating barriers to entry for veterans applying for county jobs. And in 2023, Josh's newest bill would create Nassau's first-ever "Veteran's Bill of Rights".
Josh is passionate about helping people with disabilities. In 2019 Josh's law expanded protections for people with disabilities in the workplace, both increasing and modernizing the list of reasonable accommodations recognized by the county. Josh drafted Nassau County's first-ever information visor card for drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing, so that they may communicate clearly with law enforcement officers during traffic stops and in their communities. Josh also passed a law mandating that there be a sign language interpreter present at every emergency press conference in Nassau County.
Josh has also worked to curb bullying in our schools and believes that no child should ever be made to feel less than their true value. During Josh's first term his law passed the Legislature creating Nassau's first Anti-Bullying website, which makes resources available 24/7 for both parents and students and collates every school district's DASA coordinator in Nassau County.
In 2014, Josh received the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences Educators’ Voice Award for School Board Member of the Year. In 2016, Josh was named a recipient of the New York State School Boards Association Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2022, Forbes named Josh to their “30 Under 30” List. And in 2023, Josh was named to the Long Island Press' Power List
Josh is also the author of "Political Gladiators: How Millennials Can Navigate the 21st Century Political Minefield and WIN!"