Suffolk Times Endorsements: Who we think you should vote for

Ken LaValle Election 2012

For New York State Senate: Ken LaValle

We pulled no punches when it came to state Senator Ken LaValle’s votes on two major social issues. He was wrong to vote against the Marriage Equality Act, which passed in 2011, and, at best, misguided in his vote against New York’s medical marijuana law this year.

Still, at 75, he remains as creative and energetic as ever when it comes to tackling other issues of importance to his constituents. He spearheaded efforts last year to get fast-track legislation passed for the Enterprise Park at Calverton. Just a few months before the EPCAL bill passed, he secured $5 million in the state budget for necessary sewer upgrades at the site. Around that same time, he was working on the legislation that allowed for the region’s first STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) high school in Bellport, which opened in September.

Through the down economy, he’s kept his focus on jobs and education, and his veteran leadership in the Senate is crucial, especially if the legislative body were to fall to the city-centric Democratic Party. Should that happen, we’ll look to Mr. LaValle to help establish key Democratic alliances needed for a bipartisan voting bloc of senators from across Long Island and the suburbs north of New York City. Otherwise, the region should expect more damaging, job-killing laws like the MTA payroll tax. His challenger, Michael Conroy, 57, is a longtime town, county and state Democratic committeeman who has done little, if any, campaigning.