03/28/13 6:00am
03/28/2013 6:00 AM
COURTESY PHOTO | Assemblyman Dan Losquadro in November 2011.

COURTESY PHOTO | Assemblyman Dan Losquadro in November 2011.

To the editor:

The absence of a state assemblyman representing our district is a very poor reflection on the state of New York government.

Former assemblyman Dan Losquadro, who was elected in good faith to represent us in Albany, abdicated his post after only 2 1/2 years to run for a totally unrelated position, that of Brookhaven Town highway superintendent, leaving a vacancy that may be filled by a special election.

I find it disturbing that Mr. Losquadro did not even serve out his term, a reflection of either lack of interest in his constituents, or personal ambitions fulfilled by becoming highway chief for an adjoining town that is, for the most part, out of the Assembly district in which he served. At the very least, one has to be cynical about his motives.

Now Phil Cardinale, a former Democratic supervisor in Riverhead, says he has to assess whether or not he has “enough interest” to run for the position vacated by Mr. Losquadro, balancing his desire to maintain an enjoyable retirement with the responsibility of being a public servant.

While his candor is commendable, this isn’t a position approached with wishy-washy indecision.

The North Fork needs an assemblyman with the passion and commitment of Fred Thiele of Sag Harbor or Senator John Flanagan of Smithtown, a person who will represent his constituency with all the energy he or she can muster.

In particular, someone has to step to the plate and be a voice for our senior citizens, business people, property owners and taxpayers who are underrepresented in state government. After all, those already in the public sector have strong unions and the government behind them. But the rest of us out here have no voice or authority, especially with the abdication of our assemblyman.

Harry Katz, Southold

To read more letters to the editor, pick up a copy of this week’s Suffolk Times or click on the E-Paper.

03/18/13 1:09pm
03/18/2013 1:09 PM
Phil Cardinale eyes Assembly seat

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Former Riverhead supervisor Phil Cardinale still has more than $20,000 left in his campaign fund from his Town Board races.

Riverhead Councilman George Gabrielsen — who on Friday expressed interest in running for the state Assembly seat recently vacated by Dan Losquadro — said Monday that he has decided not to run.

Meanwhile, former Riverhead supervisor Phil Cardinale, a Democrat, said he has interest in running for the post.

But Mr. Cardinale plans to wait until the governor decides if there will be a special election before making any decision, he told the News-Review Monday.

“I have some interest in state office,” said Mr. Cardinale, a real estate attorney who lives in Jamesport. “I’m going to consider whether I have enough interest to throw my hat into the ring by talking with town leaders and others, but I haven’t done so yet.”

So far, it’s not known if Governor Andrew Cuomo will declare a special election to fill the Assembly seat or leave the seat open until the November general elections.

A spokesperson for the governor has yet to return a call from the News-Review on that question.

“There may be no special election,” Mr. Cardinale said. “Once it is clear if there will be a special election, I will make a decision. However, if the governor decided to wait until November, I will have time to consider my options.

“I don’t know if I have enough interest, and you need to have great interest to toss your hat into the rink.”

Mr. Cardinale, who served three two-year terms as Riverhead supervisor from 2004 to 2009, said he still has about $20,000 in unspent campaigns funds left over from his last race for town supervisor in 2009.

The Suffolk County Board of Elections indicates he had exactly $18,524 as of January.

Mr. Cardinale says that’s still not enough for an Assembly run, and he would also want to be sure if he has solid financial and party backing.

“I would want considerably more in that the bank than that,” he said of the figures.

The former town supervisor said he is intrigued by the possibility of  state office, because there are certain issues, like pension reform for government employees and mandate relief, where a state official can be more effective than a town official.

He also believes a Democratic Assembly member can work effectively with the Democratic governor and Democratically controlled Assembly.

The enrollment breakdown in the first Assembly District is just about even between Republicans and Democrats, he said.

Board of Elections statistics from November show 29,762 registered Republicans, 28,273 registered Democrats and 24,643 blanks (not registered with a party) in the district.

“On the other hand, I’m enjoying life,” Mr. Cardinale said. “I know first hand that when you’re in office, you’re on duty all the time. You really are a servant of the people.”

As for Mr. Gabrielsen, the councilman said he “went over the whole thing” in his head over the weekend.

“The bottom line is, I just got elected and I’ve still got  almost three years to serve in this term,” Mr. Gabrielsen said. “I have an obligation to the taxpayers. They elected me to serve four years. I feel I’ve got to do the job I was elected to do.”

He said he will not screen for the Assembly nomination, as he believes the Enterprise Park at Calverton subdivision is so close to completion, and he wants to remain on the Town Board to see that process through.

“There’s still unfinished business I feel has to be done,” Mr. Gabrielsen said.

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