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NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
Two-year term, full-time
2014 salary: $79,500 plus per diem
Party lines: Democratic,
Independence, Working Families
About him: John McManmon, 28, was raised on Eastern Long Island and is a graduate of Riverhead High School, Tulane University and Columbia Law School. Since law school, he has been an attorney in private practice.
His pitch: Mr. McManmon recalls his experience in New Orleans as a student when Hurricane Katrina hit – namely seeing the role government played when disaster struck – as an inspiration to run for public office. He says he wants to ensure that Eastern Long Island is a place where middle-class people can find decent jobs, afford homes and build their lives, offering a plan he says will reduce the tax burden and attract jobs.
The Aquebogue native most recently worked as lawyer for a New York City law firm and cites his pro bono work as a source of pride.
In his words: “My campaign is founded on the idea that honest and hard work can make a real difference in people’s lives. In the Assembly, that’s precisely what I intend to do.”
Hamlet: New Suffolk
Party lines: Republican, Conservative
About him: Mr. Palumbo, 43, a lifelong Suffolk County resident, worked for the New York County District Attorney’s Office after college and attended St. John’s University Law School. In 1998, he joined the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, eventually becoming East End trial supervisor. In 2004, he entered private practice in a small Mattituck firm.
His pitch: Mr. Palumbo lives, works and has raised his family in the 2nd Assembly District, investing his time, business and family’s future here. Returning effective government to the people begins with a no-nonsense approach to governing and Mr. Palumbo said he intends to use his prosecutorial experience to tackle corruption head-on and restore the public trust in public service. He is dedicated to strengthening New York’s public corruption laws, protecting small businesses from the rising costs of big government, reducing spending and controlling our property taxes.
In his words: “Residents are tired of countless stories of corruption.”
This year’s special election for state Assembly features two formidable candidates in John McManmon, endorsed by the Democratic, Independence and Working Families parties, and Anthony Palumbo, running on the Republican and Conservative lines.
Both are newcomers to politics, having never held public office before. Both believe towns should have more control over how to regulate the deer population. They’re both lawyers. And both cite high property taxes as a main reason they are seeking the Assembly seat, though unfortunately, neither offered much in the way of cost-cutting ideas to offset the tax cuts they propose.
But each candidate offers a different set of strengths and weaknesses.
We believe Mr. Palumbo is better suited to represent us in Albany.
Mr. Palumbo is quick to note he has “skin in the game” as a candidate for public office. The phrase sneaks in through the back door to allude to the fact that his opponent did not live in the district full-time, residing in Brooklyn when he announced this May that he wanted to represent the people who live and work here.
While we don’t doubt Mr. McManmon’s desire to improve the quality of life for district residents, we do think there is some truth to the point that it seems rather presumptuous for someone to announce their candidacy for public office while living somewhere else five out of seven days a week.
Mr. McManmon is smart, and having a Democrat in the Assembly majority could prove valuable for area residents. But a lot has changed since the 28-year-old graduated from Riverhead High School. He needs some time to figure out exactly how it has changed — and precisely how he can be of service to taxpayers.
Mr. Palumbo moved to New Suffolk 13 years ago to call the 2nd District his home. The Patchogue native has since worked as an assistant district attorney and currently runs a local law practice with his wife.
In the wake of state legislation creating fast-track opportunities for businesses looking to locate at the Enterprise Park at Calverton, we see Mr. Palumbo as someone who could complement his colleague in the state Legislature, state Senator Ken LaValle, in crafting further legislation to bring high-paying jobs to the East End. The 43-year-old is an effective communicator — even after being brought off his talking points.
Sending a freshman legislator of the minority party to Albany is a risk. The question arises: How much can someone in such a position accomplish? But playing politics in choosing public officials raises a whole other set of questions. We don’t see Mr. McManmon as someone who is able – at least, not yet – to legislate effectively at the state level. If his interest in serving the public is as real as he says it is, he’ll stick around, further acclimate himself to the issues at hand and work from the ground up to make the East End a better place to live.
Mr. Palumbo, meanwhile, has his work cut out for him should he make it to Albany. We’ll see if he’s up to the task.
There will be no Democratic primary in the fall to determine who will face Republican Tony Palumbo in the race to fill the North Fork’s vacant State Assembly seat.
Rocky Point attorney Jennifer Maertz, who after failing to receive the Democratic nomination that instead went to John McManmon, an Aquebogue attorney, had vowed to force a primary. But on Friday Ms. Maertz announced that she instead has her sights set on running for either State Senate or Assembly in 2014.
She said she did not submit the required nominating petitions to the Suffolk County Board of Elections by the July 11 deadline because she expected a challenge to her petitions from the McManmon camp. Mr. McManmon is the son of deputy Democratic Board of Elections commissioner Jeanne O’Rourke.
Ms. Maertz said she raised what she believes is a conflict of interest, but neither the state nor the county BOE took the matter further.
“It’s not worth the time and expense of litigation, particularly where there are conflict of interest issues that have not been addressed,” she said.
It’s unclear whether Ms. Maertz, who in challenging the leadership’s choice, could have filed the requisite 500 petition signatures in time. Southold Democratic chairman Art Tillman said his committee gathered 230 signatures for Mr. McManmon, but only 26 for Ms. Maertz.
Mr. McManmon called Ms. Maertz’s decision to drop out “really great news for our campaign. It allows us to move on and concentrate on the general election.”
He and Mr. Palumbo, a New Suffolk attorney, are seeking to serve out months remaining term of former Assemblyman Dan Losquadro, who left the office in March following his victory in a special election for Brookhaven town highway superintendent. A third candidate, Joan Sele of Rocky Point, filed petitions this week to run on the Independence line, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections.
More than two months after Dan Losquadro left office to run the Brookhaven Town Highway Department, local Republicans have finally identified their choice to replace him in the New York State Assembly.
Anthony Palumbo, 42, an attorney from New Suffolk, has secured the GOP nomination, according to Suffolk County Republican chairman John Jay LaValle.
“He screened very well and has a great grasp of the issues, but what really pushed him over the top is his background as a former prosecutor and head of the [District Attorney's] East End Bureau.,” Mr. LaValle said. “Considering all the corruption scandals going on in the New York State Assembly, having someone like Tony Palumbo up there sends a very strong message.
“I’m certain that it won’t be high on Sheldon Silver’s to-do list, but there is no question the state Assembly needs to enact better anti-corruption measures and ethics reforms. Corruption equals waste, and waste equals higher taxes, and people are not in the position to tolerate corrupt politicians who are going to increase their taxes.”
Mr. Palumbo said recent scandals in Albany were also his biggest reason for running.
“The primary reason is the corruption and nonsense going on in Albany,” he said. “It’s to the point here we’re all a little disappointed with them.”
A graduate of St. John’s Law, Mr. Palumbo and his wife, Tracy, live in New Suffolk with their son, Ryan, 9, and Madeline, 6.
He said the challenge of working in the minority in the Assembly does not concern him, since he senses many people are frustrated with the status quo.
“From a lot of the comments made after the recent arrests of state legislators … cleaning up Albany appears to be a universal theme,” he said. “We have to start somewhere.
Mr. Palumbo practices law in Mattituck with Bill Goggins, who earlier this week received the support of the Southold Town GOP for a run at a town justice seat. Mr. Palumbo said he believes he can bring something new to the North Fork and to Albany.
“As a new face to the whole [political] landscape, I can hopefully be a breath of fresh air to the voting public,” he said.
The Suffolk GOP had met last Tuesday in Holtsville, but held off on naming a candidate for the Second Assembly district until today.
The GOP had screened a number of candidates, including Southold Councilman Chris Talbot, former Ed Romaine aide Bill Faulk of Manorville, Southold Trustee Bob Ghosio, Mattituck attorney Stephen Kiely, Mount Sinai attorney Raymond Negron and John Kreutz, Brookhaven Town deputy receiver of taxes. Mr. Talbot opted not to seek re-election to the Southold Town Board this year.
Democratic contenders include Cutchogue winery owner Jim Waters of Manorville, Riverhead attorney John McManmon, Rocky Point attorney Jennifer Maertz, East End Arts director Pat Snyder of Jamesport, Suffolk Park Police officer Tom Schiliro of Manorville and Riverhead attorney Ron Hariri.
Suffolk’s Democrats gathered Monday night, but rather than select an Assembly candidate the party took the unusual step of putting the choice in the hands of the Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southold committees. The 2nd Assembly District extends from north central Brookhaven east to Fishers Island.
Riverhead’s Democrats met first, holding their convention Thursday night, and offering their support for Mr. McManmon.
There has been a backlash over Mr. McManmon’s candidacy based on his residency. Mr. McManmon, 28, worked for a Manhattan law firm called Millbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCoy, and his address is listed as that of his parents in Aquebogue, although some have said he lives at an apartment on Dean Street in Brooklyn.
He said Thursday that although he lives in Brooklyn during the week for work purposes, he still votes here.
Mr. McManmon’s father, James, is an attorney who works for OTB and who has made three unsuccessful runs at a state assembly seat. His mother, Jeanne O’Rourke, is a deputy commissioner for the Board of Elections.
“If you check with the Board of Elections, John has been registered from his family address since he was 18,” Riverhead Democratic committee chair Marge Acevedo said. “His job is in New York City and he travels back and forth. His residency should not be in question at all.”
Brookhaven Democrats meet May 28 and Southold’s committee meets May 29 and a candidate will not be announced until then.
Ms. Maertz, who twice ran unsuccessfully for a state Senate seat, is the only candidate with prior political experience.
Southold Democratic Chairman Art Tillman said Thursday that Glenn Friedman of South Jamesport has also thrown his hat into the ring for the Democrats’ 2nd Assembly District nomination.
Mr. LaValle said Governor Andrew Cuomo put in a certificate of necessity for a special election in New York City, but not on Long Island, so it would seem that there will be no special date for the Assembly seat and the election will be held in November.