Riverhead Councilman George Gabrielsen says he’s interested in running to fill the North Fork’s State Assembly seat vacant since former Assemblyman Dan Losquadro was elected Brookhaven highway superintendent earlier this month.
“At this time, I’m still up in the air, but I’m definitely interested in it,” Mr. Gabrielsen said in an interview Friday. “I haven’t officially put my name in to be screened, but I put it out there to party officials that I definitely have an interest in it. I’m moving in that direction.”
Mr. Gabrielsen, a Republican who owns a farm in Jamesport, was first elected to the Town Board in 2009 to fill the remainder of the term of former Councilman Tim Buckley, who resigned.
While the commute to Albany has discouraged some people from running for state office, Mr. Gabrielsen said he’ll familiar with that trip, since he owns a farm in upstate Summit, west of Albany.
“And my wife is actually from Albany,” he said. “What gives me a good advantage is that, in having a farm up there, I think I have a lot in common with some of the legislators from that area. I know some of them already and I would have kind of a heads up in negotiating with them.”
Mr. Gabrielsen believes the East End’s biggest issue is preserving open space and farmers are the key to that goal.
“We’ve really got to look for legislation to protect farmland,” he said. “Farmers been good guardians of the land. I think I have the background to truly represent the East End.”
The decision on whether to hold a special election to fill the seat or leave to the November general election rests with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has yet to indicate his preference.
The Assembly district covers Southold, Riverhead, Shelter Island and northeastern Brookhaven.