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Suffolk Notebook: Who's Next in Line for the Republicans?

Potential GOP candidates for county executive start to line up - or play the waiting game until screening process begins.

After Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, the next question for the Suffolk County Republican Party in the past week and a half has turned to, "who then, will run?" Several names have been thrown about, and one - Suffolk Treasurer Angie Carpenter - has even . While some names have proven not to be interested - a representative for Judy Pascale, county clerk, said she is, "interested in finishing her term" - a few of those who are at least on the fence spoke with Patch about where they stand now, and what they think they can bring to the table. 

Angie Carpenter - Suffolk County Treasurer

The County Treasurer for the past six years and a county legislator for a baker's dozen before that, Carpenter was the first to officially announce her candidacy for the GOP nomination for county executive. In the same place she originally announced her intent to run for County Legislature nearly 20 years ago, Carpenter spoke at La Grange Inn in West Islip on Wednesday. 

“This is not a job that affords the time for on-the-job training,” she said. “I have the background and experience in government. I was there working as a full-time legislator and now have daily oversight over county finances as treasurer.”

Joseph Sawicki - Suffolk County Comptroller

Sawicki, a Southold resident, has served as comptroller of Suffolk County since 2002, running twice since on cross-endorsed party lines. Prior to that, he served as chief financial officer of Suffolk County Off Track Betting - "back when they were making money," he said on Friday. Before his time at OTB he represented the First Assembly District from 1983-1993.

In a conversation on Friday Sawicki said he was "50-50" on whether or not he would officially throw his name into the ring to run for county executive. He cited the biggest factor holding him back would be the change in pace the high-profile position would have on his personal and family life.

"One day I wake up and I'm gung ho to run," he said. "The next day, I'll sit down over dinner with my wife and we'll get to talking and say, 'What's really good for us?' This is a decision my wife and I have to make."

Sawicki said he would like to have his decision made in the next two weeks.

Going into his ninth year at the comptroller position, Sawicki said his biggest accomplishments include recouping over $7 million from taxpayers as a result of aggressive auditing practices and - in conjunction with a Democrat-controlled Legislature - compiling a uniform manual for county government for hiring outside consultants. He added that the county spends over $53 million annually on consultants.

Michael J. Fitzpatrick - Assemblyman, Smithtown

Fitzpatrick is an Assemblyman who has represented Smithtown, and parts of Islip and Brookhaven, since 2002. Before moving to the state level, Fitzpatrick served on the Smithtown Town Council for 15 years, working in the financial services industry prior to and during his run in politics. 

Fitzpatrick touted his conservative record, pointing out that among his peers in the Assembly, he's been given the highest conservative rating by the New York State Conservative Party over the past three years. He said that landing the Conservative nomination would be key for his party's ability not just among gathering votes, but raising funds as well.

In addition to his fiscal policy, Fitzpatrick said his experience in Albany could help the residents of Suffolk.

"Having seen how Albany works, I want to use that platform to work with other county executives across the state to drive change," he said. "We are all political subdivisions of New York State, and the state has to get a hold of rising pension and healthcare costs.

"I am interested in running for the position, on the record," he said.

Ed Romaine - County Legislator, Center Moriches

Romaine, a legislator representing Suffolk's first district since 2005, was the last Republican to run for county executive when Levy defeated him by a 55-45 percent margin in 2003. He said he's going to wait and see if he'll throw his name in to be the next GOP candidate.

"It's far too early to tell," said Romaine, who served as County Clerk from 1989 to 2002. "This just opened up a week ago. But it's something I'm obviously seriously looking at."

Romaine said he "loves representing the first district," which encompasses Riverhead, Southold and a small portion of Brookhaven. And with his legislature term ending this year - legislature seats are two-year terms - he said if a better candidate were to arise, he would have no problem ceding the nomination to someone else.

But in order to find that out, Romaine said he wants to do his homework - similar to likely Democratic candidate Steve Bellone's listening tour - to see what the rest of the county is thinking.

"I don't want to be precipitous and say I'm going to run right now," he said. "That's like diving into a pool without water. Running for county executive is almost like starting a business. You have to take a look around, look at the potential to fundraise, and gauge your support in every aspect of the county. It isn't done overnight."

John Flanagan - State Senator, Smithtown

Flanagan represents the New York's second Senate distrcit, which encompasses all of Smithtown, and parts of Brookhaven and Huntington. He was first elected to the seat in 2002 and most recently won last November's election with 63 percent of the vote. 

Prior to his time in the Senate, the East Northport resident served in the Assembly for 16 years, representing the ninth district.

Flanagan currently serves as chair on the Education Committee, and on his Senate bio page, he states that some of his accomplishments through his post have been to increase bus service for students and expanding funding for pre-kindergarten.

Flanagan did not return calls seeking comment.

Mo Neill April 15, 2011 at 05:19 PM
3) And in the midst of the fallout from the utter disaster of Bush policy, China, Brazil, India, Melasian economies were not in stall, but climbing w/ astonishing rapidity of production. Commodities were in great demand, with the rising middle classes' consumer demand. China's economic production is the equivilent of an entire yearly So. Korea GDP everyday. Oil will continue going up, not just because of the quagmire of US Mideastpolicy, but because of the huge demand by the rising economies of other nations. Prices for commodities will continue to rise as peoples economic expectations for their families climb. America will never recover its place in the world economy, because it no longer controls the destinies of other nations and all the military in the world cannot deter the expectations of people the world over for a decent life without starvation, disease, lack of electricity & clean water. We know indisputably that discredited trickle-down economic theory doesn't work, did not work after the Bush tax cuts or the previous cuts. Trickle down doesnt work in Russia any more than in the U.S. We're still a strong nation, by far the strongest, but until the avarice, greed of the few can be controlled by a consensus of the kind of society and world we want for our children, of what is fair, what is just & what is the role of government to be an honest broker, not controlled by narrow interests of corporations & the powerful wealthy few, U.S. will continue to weaken.
barry soetoro April 15, 2011 at 09:32 PM
Yes Donna you are right. If you find someone who is willing to tell us the truth, not what we want to hear, then let me know. Regarding the military budget, the greatest threat to America right now is our debt. A chinese general said if they wanted to wage war against us, they wouldnt have to fire a shot, just dump 1.1 trillion of our dollars and the rest is history. So then very high military spending will make us all less safe as crazy as that sounds. Regarding food stamps and other entitlements. The poorest Americans are the native americans living on indian reservations. That ethnic group receives the most federal dollars for food stamps, medicaid, welfare etc yet they are the poorest. Other native american tribes that are not recognized by the federal govt somehow are thriving. Entitlements cripple people. I know there needs to be a safety net for a time but not forever.
Jen LaVertu April 15, 2011 at 09:54 PM
I agree with helping people help themselves but the growth to food stamps are the old hard working Americans who are now out of work due to the economy, just sayin thats it not like we had a huge influx of Native American tribes over the last few years. We had neighbors losing work.....that safty net was created for them to begin with. But I do agree however, HELP should not be a lifetime entitlement, it should be a boost when you are down and need a hand up.
barry soetoro April 16, 2011 at 12:10 AM
Thats a harsh statement. Jobs are hard to find period. Who controls the jobs? There is reverse discrimination whereby minorities including women are given preferences over more qualified persons solely because they are women or minorities. America and especially New York is a huge melting pot. There are no excuses, immigrants come here with a language barrier and excel, yet so many of us who are educated and have opportunities fail. I wish I knew why.
Patched Out 2 April 16, 2011 at 12:17 AM
As far as military spending in the US, here is what I am talking about: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~jephrean/classweb/In%20Context.html We have something like 800 military bases around the world and a whole much of workers in DC in the Pentagon (Dept of Defense). We need to start looking at where we can make cuts in this area and we need to start talking to other countries about taking on some of the burden for military spending as the US can no longer continue at its present rate.

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