Northport resident Jim Gaughran celebrated two milestones in his hometown this past weekend.
Gaughran was sworn in as New York State senator representing the 5th District at the John W. Engeman Theater Jan. 6, the day after his birthday. He will be one of six Democrats who travel to Albany to represent Long Island’s interest in the state Senate as it kicks off its 2019 session.
“I am humble and honored to represent our district in the state Senate,” Gaughran said. “I am excited for the opportunity to help end the dysfunction in Albany and finally pass critical legislation that New Yorkers have been demanding.”
The newly elected senator upset longtime incumbent Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) in November winning by more than 12,000 votes, according to New York State Board of Elections. While this is Gaughran’s first state office, he is no stranger to politics.
“Jim has been a leader here in this town, county and on Long Island for decades now,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said. “He was a pioneer in Democratic politics when he was the youngest town board member elected in Huntington in 1983.”
The attorney has previous served terms as a Huntington Town councilman and in Suffolk County Legislature. He focused on ethic reforms, campaign finance, criminal justice and public safety issues while serving Suffolk, according to Bellone, in the 1980s and early ’90s. Gaughran has been serving as the chairman of the Suffolk County Water Authority.
“Jim has got the experience, he’s got the intelligence and he’s got the disposition to be a fantastic senator,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran (D) said.
‘You will see a state government that will deliver more for Long Island than New York City has ever delivered for Long Island.’
— Andrew Cuomo
As Gaughran takes office, he will serve as chair of the Senate Local Government Committee. As representative of the 5th District, he will have to juggle representing the interests of constituents in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, covering the North Shore from Glen Cove to Commack.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) administered the oath of office to Gaughran as he stood alongside his wife, Carol, and son, Michael.
Cuomo, who said he’s known Gaughran for more than 30 years, assured those attending the swearing-in ceremony that their new representative will stand strong and not be pushed around by his Democratic colleagues from New York City.
“You are going to have the strongest delegation you will ever have,” the governor said. “You will see a state government that will deliver more for Long Island than New York City has ever delivered for Long Island.”
As the Legislature convenes Jan. 9, Cuomo said top priorities on his agenda will including passing the Reproductive Health Act to ensure women’s health care rights, legislation to create early voting in New York, campaign finance reform, more funding for environmental protection, and increasing government transparency through the Freedom of Information Act for state government
Gaughran said he supports the governor’s initiatives and hopes to focus on criminal justice reform, ensuring health care for all and improving the performance of the Long Island Rail Road.
He made a specific promise to Dix Hills residents Linda Beigel Schulman and Michael Schulman, whose son, Scott Beigel, was killed in the Parkland, Florida high school shooting.
“I want to tell Linda and Michael, in honor of Scott, if we get nothing else done, we’re going to pass the red flag law,” Gaughran said, drowned out by thunderous applause. “Never again, never again.”
The proposed red flag bill would increase gun control by permitting police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.