Assemblyman Losquadro reflects on first session in Albany

06/29/2011 2:11 PM |

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Assemblyman Dan Losquadro at his desk in Calverton. He will soon move his local office to downtown Riverhead.

As Assemblyman Dan Losquadro winds down from his first session in Albany, he told Times/Review Newsgroup he plans to turn his focus to local issues this summer, while still preparing to pick-up where he left off next year by pushing for school district relief from state mandates.

Mr. Losquadro (R-Shoreham) said in an interview that he had a “very productive” first session, because he believed Governor Andrew Cuomo “pushed the same agenda” as the freshman assemblyman and other representatives did in passing a balanced budget on-time and to control spending.

The final vote Mr. Losquadro cast after midnight Friday was in favor of a 2 percent property tax cap bill, which the governor proposed and passed in both houses. Included was about $125 million in mandate relief, a measure Mr. Losquadro described as “a good start.”

“I thought the governor gave in far too easily on the mandate relief issue,” Mr. Losquadro said. He believes key driving costs in school districts and local governments — Medicaid and pensions — will be more thoroughly addressed next year.

While Mr. Losquadro’s first session was consumed by hot-button issues such as tackling a $10 billion budget deficit and same-sex marriage legislation — which he said he voted in opposition because of his Catholic beliefs — Mr. Losquadro said he was pleased with his bills addressing local issues passed during his freshman year.

Some of those pieces of legislation include repealing the state’s saltwater fishing licence fee and restoring promotional funding to wineries.

“Tourism is such an important part of our economy,” he said. “Quality of life and the character of our communities is very important to keep.”

Mr. Losquadro, who defeated incumbent Democrat Marc Alessi in November, said that while he plans to meet with residents this summer to address their concerns and create a plan-of-action for next year, he believes some of his constituents won’t be in his district for long.

Redistricting occurs every decade following the completion of the U.S. Census. The 2010 census data shows Mr. Losquadro represents a population of nearly 149,000 residents, making his Assembly district the largest in the state.

“How that’s going to go is anyone’s guess, but it’s going to happen,” Mr. Losquadro said of redistricting process.

Another change for Mr. Losquadro will be his office, which he plans to move next week from Calverton to downtown Riverhead.

“It’s smaller, has greater access and it used to be Patty Acampora’s office,” he said, referring to the 400 West Main Street office of the former assemblywoman. Mr. Losquadro said he’ll move by Aug. 1.

While Mr. Losquadro said he’ll miss his long drives to Albany, during which he listened to Pulse on satellite radio, he’s looking forward to spending the summer with his 17-month-old son.

“That aspect of it is difficult, but the fact is everyone up there is in the same boat,” he said. “Everyone is stuck away from home. Everyone is stuck away families. So there’s a great camaraderie [and] a great friendship that you build with people.”

jennifer@northshoresun.com