State Senate: Lavalle vs. Fischer
The first district New York State Senate race pits incumbent Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) — who is seeking his 20th two-year term — against Greg Fischer (D-Calverton), who has run for numerous elected offices in recent years, including Riverhead School Board earlier this year and in 2015, and Riverhead Town Assessor in 2015.
Mr. LaValle, 77, an attorney, represents the entire East End, along with parts of Brookhaven Town, in the state senate. He currently chairs the senate higher education committee and is tied with Hugh Farley of Schenectady County, as the longest serving member of the state senate. He will become the longest-serving member if he wins, because Mr. Farley, 83, is not seeking reelection this year.
Mr. Fischer, 59, who is on the ballot as Gregory-John Fischer, says he is an accounting, marketing and software consultant to businesses, nonprofits and governments, is also a volunteer mentor for Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE).
“I’ve found that being a representative is all about people,” Mr. LaValle said at a recent debate in Mattituck. “Working with people and listening to people, you’re able to develop a program that serves people’s needs.”
He listed a number of local accomplishments he’s most proud of, including building an alliance between Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport and Stony Brook University Medical Center.
“Hopefully, if everything works the way it should, it should take an area that is medically underserved and bring the kind of specialty care that people need,” he said.
Mr. LaValle also spoke proudly of his role in the creation of the Community Preservation Fund.
Among his accomplishments, the senator also cited the county’s farmland preservation program and the state’s Pine Barrens protection program, both of which Mr. LaValle has helped create, along with the state’s “STAR” program, which aims to lessen property tax increases.
“What I’m concerned about the most is what everybody in this room is concerned about,” Mr. Fischer said at the same forum. “The economy.”
He said he has three business degrees and 35 years of consulting experience.
Mr. Fischer said Mr. LaValle’s campaign mailings talk about a lot of issues but not the economy.
“No one is bragging about the economy,” he said. “But why are people moving off Long Island? The economy.
“The state legislature is filled with attorneys and you don’t have anybody with knowledge in business,” he said.
Mr. Fischer said he has reviewed school district budgets and found malfeasance, over-charging and no-bid contracts that go unchecked. He feels taxes are “going down a hole to lawyers.”
He also said he’d support a cross-sound tunnel in Long Island Sound and a double-decker road on parts of the Long Island Expressway.
Mr. Fischer is running on the Democratic line, while Mr. LaValle is running on the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform lines.