(Photo: Kathleen Rice) Republican County Legislator Michael Venditto, running for New York State’s Eighth Senatorial District, faced loud boos and jeers at a Meet the Candidates night after he answered why he embarked on a harsh mail and robocall campaign against Legislator Dave Denenberg – who pulled out of the race earlier – rather than run on his own record.
“Because he brought the publicity on himself,” Venditto fired back to a question from a man in the audience of roughly 50 on why he was sending “nasty” campaign mailings regarding recent charges against Denenberg that he had forged signatures and overbilled clients, leading him to withdraw from the race. No charges have been filed in that complaint against Denenberg so far.
Venditto Record Questioned
Venditto did tout his record in the county legislature as not having voted for any tax increase or fee increases during his less-than-two-year tenure. But a Denenberg legislative staff member pointed out that Venditto was in fact absent from the Finance Committee vote in 2014 to increase fees – which passed in the full legislature, and he voted to increase fees his first day in office in 2012.
Nassau County Legislator Michael Venditto got booed for campaign mailing tactics
No fewer than three local grassroots organizations have begun putting up new Dave Denenberg signs to remind voters that he is still on the ballot, even though he is no longer campaigning.
Meanwhile, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, a Democrat running for the U.S. Fourth Congressional District seat being vacated by Carolyn McCarthy, was asked by another in the audience whether she would seek to repeal the Affordable Care Act as being an overly ambitious tax package conjured up by Democrats.
“The availability of health insurance is a moral imperative,” she responded to some applause, and the ACA is the best way to achieve that at present. She recognized the poor roll out of the ACA, but did not consider that a roadblock to its achievements thus far of reducing emergency room costs across the nation, for example.
Regarding Common Core, she said that, while the implementation wasn’t perfect, it was important to not lose sight of the reasons for its implementation: to enable U.S. students of tomorrow to compete in a global economy in which several other countries around the world have quickly surpassed the U.S. in educational standards.
Bellmore resident Matt Walden, left, and Merrick resident Richard Landau were in attendance.
She surprised many at the end of her five-minute time limit by saying that, while she is on the Democratic ticket, the party is not supporting her campaign.
ACA Egregious Legislation
Her opponent Bruce Blakeman – who did not attend the Meet the Candidates night sponsored by the North Bellmore, North and Central Merrick, South Bellmore and South Merrick Community Civic Associations – told Your NewsMag in an interview this month [see www.yournewsmag.com, past issues, October] that the ACA was one of the most egregious pieces of legislation ever enacted.
He agrees that all should have coverage to health care, but through an assigned risk plan, for example, such as a sliding scale measurement where those with pre-existing conditions who could afford it would pay a higher premium, and those who could not afford it would receive government subsidies to pay for it.
Honorable County Court Judge Terrence Murphy, left, and Honorable Family Court Judge Helen Voutsinas pose with Merrick resident Robert Young.
He said on gun control that he was for national background checks, but that it was also a mental health issue in which federal, state and local officials all had to devise a system that could identify at-risk people from committing mass murders with guns.
Veteran State Assemblyman Dave McDonough for the 14th Assembly District opened the Meet the Candidates Night saying what most in the audience knew: taxes were too high and they were driving away not only the young and the bright from Long Island, but senior citizens as well. He called for more tax breaks for small businesses to be able to hire employees to give them a future, and warned against MTA-style taxes on businesses that could break their backs.
He also called for more state aid coming back to Long Island – whose lack has increased school taxes, claiming the Republican-led Long Island contingency had secured $2.1 billion for aid across the Island, up from New York Governor Cuomo’s original budget of 14% for Long Island aid. He said he had also worked to get NYRising aid to families by cutting through the layers of programs that were implemented on top of the program by the state.
Honorable County Court Judge Steven Jaeger
McDonough’s Democratic opponent Gaspar Tumminello told those in attendance that McDonough had only sponsored one recent state bill, that to get red-light cameras for Nassau County to increase the county’s coffers. He said money for red-light cameras was only “picking money out of our pockets.”
Instead, he called for tougher measures against municipalities that go over the tax cap limits to live within their means. He said New York State could bring good jobs to the region with green industries. “Why not bring Google to New York,” he said.
When a woman in the audience asked how, as a new assemblyman, he would be able to bring monies to Long Island, he answered that, as a member of the majority assembly, he would naturally be able to secure more funding for the district than McDonough could because the majority gets more funding.
Several judges were also invited to speak, but rules prohibited them from answering questions. Instead, they gave brief descriptions of their work in the courts, and their backgrounds.
The following are interviews conducted by Your NewsMag staff on the positions of the above-mentioned candidates Kathleen Rice vs. Bruce Blakeman, and Dave McDonough vs. Gaspar Tumminello:
U.S. Congressional Fourth District
Kathleen Rice: Government Plays Stabilizing Force in Social, Economic Issues
By Sharon Jonas
Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice is running on the Democratic ticket for the Fourth Congressional District seat being vacated by long-standing Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy.
When Rice won Nassau County’s District Attorney race in 2005, she not only beat a 31-year incumbent, but became the first woman in Long Island to win the position. Now in her third term as DA, Rice is best known for her effective efforts to combat drunk driving by instituting tough penalties.
Her implementation of innovative crime-reduction strategies includes targeting the causes of crime, educational programs and community involvement. She has lobbied for criminal justice reforms to prevent wrongful convictions, strengthened animal cruelty laws and bolstered protections for sex-workers and human trafficking victims.
She is endorsed by a long list of Democratic public officials, including Congresswoman McCarthy, as well as the Woman’s Campaign Fund, the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, CSEA, the New York AFL-CIO, Sierra Club, AFSCME and the Uniform Firefighters Association of Greater New York.
Her stance on the issues:
What types of efforts would you support to bolster the economy?
We start with creating more jobs. We need to focus on small businesses. If you walk down main streets in Freeport, Hempstead, Bellmore…you don’t see the big box stores, you see the mom and pop stores. We need to give them tax incentives to hire more people. That’s one way to get the economy going.
And we need to support institutions like the Export Import Bank, which just came up for reauthorization. There was this whole right-wing push to cut funding for it when it’s probably the one federal agency that makes money and pays for itself. That almost got torpedoed by partisan gridlock, but thankfully they extended it for another nine months. It allows small businesses to engage in international business by guaranteeing loans.
What is your view of Common Core/ education/student loans?
We are right now impoverishing the next generation of Americans. We need to lower the interest rates. You can finance a car at a lower cost than you can an education. It makes no sense. And, you can’t refinance them. We need to talk about letting kids make their monthly payment on their loan with pre-tax dollars. We need to give tax incentives to parents who can afford to somewhat finance so that their kids don’t need to take out monstrous loans. We need to make Pell Grants available to those who really need them, and [make grants available] at the graduate level as well. We need to be able to equip our kids with an education so they can compete in a growing global economy. We aren’t doing that right now.
What people have told me [about Common Core] is that teachers hate it, parents hate it. The way it was rolled out was problematic. What it meant to do was to set metrics in place, so that the government can ensure whatever federal dollars go to elementary education we get our money’s worth, that kids are proficient at least in math, science and English so that they can compete in a global economy. It wasn’t an attempt to tell teachers we want you to just teach for the test. I think the federal government definitely has a role in making sure that kids are meeting certain proficiencies of the stem areas, but it shouldn’t be that teachers are solely judged on how kids do on these tests.
If I’m fortunate enough to win I hope to take a seat on the Education Committee. I think that especially in this congressional district there is such a disparity in educational opportunities. In Garden City, where I grew up, 98% of the kids graduate from high school, while a stone’s throw away, in Hempstead, that rate dips to 38% – that’s wrong.
Why do you feel texting while driving is such a pressing issue?
It’s the number-one cause of death on the roads now, especially of teenagers, and the numbers are going up. But it’s not just a young person’s issue – everyone does it. It’s the biggest public safety issue right now, and we have to take legislative steps to keep people safe.
Eight years ago I took on the epidemic of drunk driving, an issue no one was talking about. The previous DA administration was giving a slap on the wrist to five-time DWI offenders, and that’s why seven out of 10 offenders came back. Now we are a national model for how to deal with this epidemic. [Texting while driving] is a national epidemic and not just a problem in Nassau County.
Just as the federal government gave incentives to states to take on the DWI issue by withholding federal highway funding unless they raised the [drinking] age to 21, the states responded. New York State recently lost out on some federal funding because the texting law they did pass did not make it part of the law … to sit at a red light or stop sign and text was not illegal. New York State can’t afford to turn away any federal money.
You were just endorsed by the Sierra Club, a leading environmental group. What environmental issues do you feel are most important and how do we address them?
We have to invest more in renewable energy. This is also a way to jump start the economy. In the DA’s office I started a focus on the environmental crime unit, which went after polluters. We have a fragile eco system here and we need to be tough on environmental crime.
From a long-term environmental standpoint, it’s smart. Federal tax credits for using solar panels are coming up in 2015, and those are endangered. We need to do everything we can to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels, not just from an economic standpoint, but a national security standpoint, and green energy is it.
I’m running against someone who doesn’t think global warming exists. It’s a very extreme position and not many take that position.
Your opponent says it’s easier to get food stamps than a job. How does that statement strike you?
I’m not surprised because he says a lot of extreme and provocative things but doesn’t follow up with [facts]. How do you know that’s easier? I should hope that if you are a single mother struggling and you are not getting child support … that food stamps are easy to get. Not everyone on food stamps is gaming the system.
But we need to have a plan, and not just for long-term jobs but keeping kids in school and providing job training because college isn’t for everybody. One of the programs I did in the Village of Hempstead was to help people, whether they had ever been in trouble with the law or not, get job training, get drug treatment, whatever they needed to get their life on the right track. And that’s an incredibly successful program – it’s called COTA. Council of Thought and Action.
You have a strong Catholic background but are an abortion rights advocate. Can you explain?
This is an issue that’s not just about a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have a child, it’s about access, to make decisions about her own body, family planning, when you want to have children, how many you want to have, these are family decisions, not just a woman’s decision. It’s also important for woman to have access to early screening for uterine, cervical and breast cancers.
My parents felt strongly that we had a faith-based education, and we did, and it made me who I am today, in terms of wanting to go into public service. We are our brother’s keeper, and lending a hand when people are down to help them get back up is the right thing to do.
Can you explain why your opponent is attacking you for firing part-time female workers?
When I came into the DA’s office, I had maybe 13 women, all of whom had children in high school and college, and then I had all the young Assistant DAs, women who wanted to start a family but couldn’t go part-time because none of the women who were given the ability to have that flexibility would give their positions up, which I thought was horribly unfair. So I revamped the whole flex, part-time schedule to make it family-friendly. This is not a woman’s issue, it’s a family issue. You have the sandwich generation taking care of [family members] and who need flexibility to be a caregiver. And everyone in the office has it now. It’s a totally merit-based office. I did away with a 30% pay differential between men and women in my office. It turns out there was no upward mobility for women.
Where do you think our military presence is most important? In what instances do you think we should get involved?
The American people have no stomach for another war. I think the administration is doing what it needs to be doing, which is building an international coalition so it’s not just America going it alone. I think it’s wise not to commit to any boots on the ground, but certainly the issue of international terrorism needs to be under control. Whoever wins on November 4 is going to take some very difficult votes on this issue.
Bruce Blakeman: Reducing Government, Taxes Will Rebound the Economy
Residing in Long Beach, Bruce Blakeman is vying for the U.S. Fourth Congressional District running against Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice on the Republican, Conservative and Independent Party lines. His resume includes being the first presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, a Town of Hempstead councilman, a commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a professor of business law at Hofstra University and a senior fellow of homeland securities at Long Island University. He has also been lawyer and a successful businessman.
Endorsed by several Nassau County Republican leaders, he is also endorsed by Nassau County Policemen’s Benevolence Association, the Nassau Fire Marshal’s Benevolence Association, Nassau Detectives Association, New York Police Chief’s Benevolence Association, the Freeport PBA and the Lynbrook PBA.
Inferring that both the far right and far left have turned Washington into total gridlock over wedge issues such as immigration – he is against amnesty – and gun control, Blakeman steers just right of center, which he says would enable him to sit down with congressional leaders to hammer out comprises on those issues imperative toward a functioning nation. A conservative-to-moderate Republican, he is for smaller government, lowering taxes and is pro-business.
Blakeman spoke with Your NewsMag to stake his positions on several issues.
On the economy: Real unemployment is closer to 12% when looking at U6 numbers, which show who has given up looking for full-time work or has been forced to take part-time work. Stagnation of wages is really income stagnation from full-time to part-time wages so that, overall, income has gone down. We need to create good-paying jobs with benefits from the private sector, not government, which has been expanding at an alarming rate. The middle class pays for government growth. We can create more jobs by lowering taxes so businesses have more money to invest in people, equipment and technology to create jobs. We also need to start using cheaper energy. Gas has doubled and we need energy sources; we have a 100-year supply of natural gas, for example, but far left environmentalists won’t let us develop that. Lastly, let’s cut government regulations that stifle small businesses.
On sequestration and the falling deficit: The national deficit is projected to go down a ½-trillion, and I think part of that is because Republicans said government has to put the brakes on spending. I’m not for any further sequestration, but I would like to see Democrats and Republicans sit down and work out a plan to reduce the deficit further because we are mortgaging our children’s future, and it’s morally wrong to do so. We also need to reduce spending and we need to reduce size of government, it is a problem because it’s costly, it’s inefficient, it’s ineffective and the middle class has to pay for it.Who should pay for essential services if not the government, the private sector? Government shouldn’t be that big. Government needs to operate smaller and more efficiently, we need choices. Spending $2 billion on a website for the Affordable Care Act is a bad choice when it comes to money being spent. A better use would be for research for a cure for pediatric cancer, juvenile diabetes. Government has its priorities wrong, the bureaucracy is bloated and middle-class tax payers are suffering a very unsatisfying experience. They’re not getting services they are paying for. There are 17 job training programs, why can’t that be streamlined to three or four and focus on helping people transition to a new economy and new career job path?
On ISIS and the threat from the Middle East: We have to protect our national interests and our security. We have ISIS, which has taken large areas of Iraq and Syria; we have Hamas, in which American tax payers subsidized those weapons that rained down on Israel because we gave Hamas funding to build hospitals and schools and they built tunnels and bought weapons instead. Hezbollah, Al Queda, Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, they all have in common the destruction of western civilization, our way of live, and it is a larger and growing threat. It’s harder to manage them so we need to get serious about destroying them before they land on our shores. Drunk driving and texting that my opponent touts are local and state issues, not national security issues. And, we’re being soft on Iran, which is six months away from getting nuclear arms. I’m convinced radioactive material will find its way into a dirty bomb in Manhattan to destroy our economy.
Paying for new military interventions: Prioritize. We don’t have to spend more money, just prioritize. The first order of government at the national level is homeland security, it is job number one. Everything else is below that. If we don’t have security then what do we really have? We don’t get to enjoy our freedom if our people are being killed and our institutions are being blown up. Middle-class families spend on what they need first, and then on what they want. We need to take care of security first, and then take care of what we want.
The Affordable Care Act: It is probably one of the worst pieces of legislation every enacted, it is 2000 pages long and most of those in the Senate who voted on it probably didn’t read it. It’s a restructuring of our whole health care provider system, which until now may have been the greatest health care provider system in the world. And now it’s being dismantled. If you wanted to take care of 30 million underinsured or uninsured – and I wanted to take care of those 30 million, because people should be entitled to get health care – we could have assigned risk programs that took people with pre-existing conditions who couldn’t get health insurance and, if they could afford to pay the higher premium because of that pre-existing condition, they would have to pay it. If they couldn’t, then the government could step in and subsidize them. But we are taking apart a system that works well for 270 million people to solve a problem for 30 million people. This is just a pretext for a single payer system. Isn’t the ACA fashioned after Republican Mitt Romney’s Romney Care in Massachusetts? Romney Care is a totally different model. The ACA is a nationwide exchange that people are forced into and pay a penalty if they don’t join, and businesses of 50 or more employees have to be part of ACA. [Editor’s note: Jonathan Gruber, who helped develop Romney Care, was also instrumental in devising the national ACA, and maintains both systems are the same in what services they offer, medically. The two programs differ in how they are paid for.]
Common Core: Common Core is a state, not a federal issue. From what I’ve seen and read it’s a flawed system, and many people are unhappy, as many at 64% are unhappy. It’s up to government(s) to try and fix it or repeal it. If it doesn’t appear to be working for students then the government should stop it. Look at Common Core and materially change it or try something else.
Gun control: I think we have a mental health issue with regard to mass killings. We need to really concentrate on mental health issues, and how do we identify these people who are likely to commit these terrible acts of violence. I also believe that law-abiding citizens have a right to a firearm for personal protection or for sport. That right doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be regulated. I’m for background checks and I don’t think people should be able to get just any weapon, though I believe strongly in the second amendment. Gun owners have to be law-abiding citizens, mentally stable and there needs to be background checks
Federal sentencing of criminals: We need to develop a sentencing system that has some form of guidelines, so that it doesn’t vary widely based on economic status or anything else. People should be treated the same. Also, the judge should have some discretion to look at the issues on a case-by-case basis. That’s why we put judges in there, to be able to reason and think and come to conclusions. They do have some flexibility, but it’s somewhat restricted. I would like to see more flexibility but, at the same time, more accountability. At the federal level they are lifetime appointees, so how do we hold them accountable for things they might do that we deem crazy. But I more am concerned with public safety than overcrowding of jails. We have to bring down the crime rate by creating new opportunities for people who may be predisposed to doing something unlawful. If they have more at stake in the community, the consequences are tougher, and they may think twice because they have something at stake. Many arrested now have no stake on the community.
New York State 14th Assembly District
Incumbent Dave McDonough Touts Constituent Service
by Sharon Jonas
What do you think have been your latest accomplishments?
“We’ve had a fairly good year in legislation. We’ve delivered four consecutive on-time budgets. But my biggest accomplishment is constituent service. I help people with situations even out of my district…I don’t look at people’s politics. I always tell them, I will get you an answer, it may not be the one you want but I’ll always get you an answer. If people have a problem or an issue they want to discuss…even if it’s not something I’m in agreement with, I’ll call them back.
On what issues have you broken with party lines in the last few years?
I don’t think I’ve broken much with the Republican and Conservative lines [but] I’ve broken a lot with the more liberal stuff… If something seems like a very liberal issue, but it helps people, especially children, and I can justify the cost of it, I will support it. I vote for what is right and sometimes I vote against what the conservatives might not like. Years ago we passed a bill called SONDA, Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act – that meant that gays, lesbians…you couldn’t discriminate against on any basis. What was left out of that bill that nobody realized was transgenders. It came up a year or two later to amend the SONDA bill to get in transgenders. I voted for it to be added and the conservative party didn’t like me for it.
But you recently voted against GENDA -Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act designed to protect the transgendered population. Why?
The debate is this: [transgenders] could use either bathroom. A lot of guys will say they don’t want some guy walking into the girls’ room, because he expresses himself as a female now. I did vote against that. With the addition to the SONDA bill…whether I agree with it or not isn’t the important thing. When I get overwhelming emails, letters and phone calls from people in my district, I have to consider that because I represent them.
Medical marijuana – how do you stand on it?
I’ve previously voted against it but not this year. It’s got a lot of good restrictions in it that it didn’t have before and it seems to be the only thing that prevents the seizures [for that little girl]. They finally got her on the medical marijuana and her seizures were only twice a year then.
How do we control property taxes? Isn’t it NY State’s lack of funding to schools and expensive mandates that make them so high?
Property taxes here in Nassau County are absolutely above the wall. School taxes are about 65-75% of your property tax. Of that school tax most of it is for administration of personnel. We need more for education. My fight is that we have too many unfunded mandates. We have a bill we recommended but it didn’t get any place. Any mandate that costs more than $10,000, the state would have to pay for. The state should pay more towards education. That’s my biggest criticism of the governor is that in Long Island we have 17% of the students and we get about 12-13% of the aid, and we produce the best students in the state. We’ve never gotten our fair share. If [school taxes] keep increasing because the local schools vote for those budgets…it’s expensive. We can change it if the voters will approve it. If the school taxes keep increasing because the local schools vote those budgets…it’s expensive.
What is your position on Common Core?
The real problem is that we are damaging the children. The educational standards they put out are way above their capabilities. The story is we are not as good as [other countries] and that’s true, but schools already had programs to improve the standards. The implementation was immensely flawed. They did not ask educators how to do it. Who knows the students better than the teachers? And the parents weren’t involved at all. Two percent opted out of testing in my district. I support the APPLE Plan (Achieving Pupil Preparedness & Launching Excellence). (APPLE calls for a review of Common Core Standards/ assessments, funding equality, teacher preparedness/involvement, restricted use of student data to third parties, equity for Special Ed students, alternate pathways to a high school diploma, and Board of Regent changes that impose unfunded mandates on schools be approved by the State Legislature and Governor.)
As the Chairman of a Task Force in Albany on public safety, what do you feel are the most pressing security issues we face in New York?
I work directly with the US Homeland Security, the FBI, Secret Service, local law enforcement, firefighters, and sex offenders watch. I’ve held a conference, ‘Behavioral Indicators for Potential Violence’ … because there are numerous school shootings involving only one person and they never even get reported. It’s all about prevention. Nationally, nothing’s being done. Locally, it’s not under public safety but I deal a lot with it and that’s identity theft. It’s the fastest growing crime in the United States. I do a lot [of educating about it] because it especially hits seniors.
If the senate and the assembly go to the Democrats, what do you see for New York?
If you have a one party government – Republican or Democrat – it’s not good because there are no checks and balances. If the Democrats take over the senate I see school aid being reduced even more and spending galore.
Gaspare Tumminello: Opponent is in the Minority
Gaspare Tumminello, a Merokian and deputy chief of staff of the Nassau County Legislature’s Democratic Party minority, is running against state Assembly incumbent Dave McDonough for the 14th Assembly District. The 14th AD encompasses the Bellmores and the Merricks, much of Wantagh, and parts of Seaford, Levittown and East Meadow.
Tumminello attended St. John’s University, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in government in politics, and a master’s degree in public administration. In 2008 he worked within Tom Suozzi’s administration as deputy commissioner of purchasing, to reduce county surplus to raise revenue. “I put items online, and in auctions, surplus items such as extra dump trucks, piping, lawnmowers, pianos, anything in duplicate that wasn’t needed.” He raised $23 million in money saved and generated over a two-year period.
“I also developed an internal online inventory system so all the 56 departments knew what supplies each department had, and they didn’t need to order anything new that might be found in another department.” When Suozzi lost in 2009, Tumminello created his own company in 2010 called Worldwide Product Access, which worked with community residents to sell their surplus, and share in the proceeds.
Meanwhile, in January he was appointed to be deputy chief of staff for the minority at the Nassau County Legislature.
More Passion in Government Needed
In an interview with Your NewsMag, Tumminello said he is running for the 14th AD because there needs to be more passionate representation in the state Legislature. “Officials who have been in office a long time begin to lose those grassroots initiatives, which include meeting and greeting your constituents at every opportunity, and knocking on doors.” As these officials get re-elected “over and over, many people, not all, but many people, including my opponent, lose touch with the people.”
Regarding his opponent’s latest annual school supply drive, which gathered hundreds of school supplies for the John Theisssen Foundation, was more a “blip on the screen” than community involvement, Tumminello said, “Running for office is a privilege,” not simply another election cycle to get through.
McDonough Minority Status Hurts District
Tumminello remarked that his Republican minority opponent wasn’t in a position to bring home the “bacon” for his constituents, because he was in the minority. “When Senator Fuschillo would hold a conference to announce having received funding for projects, he would bring in Dave McDonough to stand next to him, as though McDonough had something to do with getting the funds.”
Tumminello said his opponent “didn’t develop relationships that mattered with members of the Assembly majority.” Instead, Tumminello wondered where McDonough would be able to secure funds for his constituents if there is no Senate Republican majority – or even shared balance under the Independent Conference. “His minority status hurts people of this district,” he said.
“I see it all the time in the Legislature, where the Republicans as the majority” get to decide what districts get what, what gets to be passed. He said the same procedure is being played out in the state Legislature, where the minority – the representative of the 19th Assembly District – gets little.
“With a Democrat in the 19th Assembly District seat” he said there was a far better outlook for funds finally coming back into the district. “We may be able to receive more state aid with a Democrat in the 19th Assembly District seat working alongside a state Senator such as Dave Denenberg,” Tumminello maintained.
He dismissed the Republican notion that Democrats in the Legislature are New York-centric and advocate for New York funding almost exclusively .“I will have the ability as a member of the majority to build a better relationship with Assembly Majority Leader Sheldon Silver and other majority leaders.”
Tumminello further refuted the Republican message there is need for checks and balances in the state Legislature, saying those same Republicans are silent when asked about the checks and balances in the Republicans’ century-old grip in the Town of Hempstead, or about the checks and balances in the cash-strapped one-party rule in the Town of Oyster Bay.
Regarding unfunded mandates, a strong issue of Tumminello’s opponent, Tumminello said that, while unfunded mandates have increased, “Our assemblyman has not brought back any funding from the state to help pay for those mandates” because he is in the minority.
He supports Common Core education reform, though he is in disagreement on how it should have been implemented. He says administrators and teachers should have been given more time to develop a solid framework in which to apply the new standards. “In the assembly I would advocate for the schools that Common Core is necessary, but the implementation needs to be changed in our school districts.”
He agrees with Governor Cuomo’s approach to the medical marijuana law, “so long as patients have been evaluated that they need it by medicaland they have medical prescriptions for it.”
He is also for full equal marriage rights and rights for the LGBT community. “I’m for those rights. I feel people are allowed to build relationships with who they want to build them with. Who are we as a governing body to judge on their actions.”