By David Luces and Kyle Barr
State Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) announced he would be looking for a step up in Albany, as he’s now seeking the hotly contested State Senate District 1 seat.
The seat has opened up since 44-year incumbent Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) announced he was not seeking reelection
“It is apparent that the one party rule up in Albany is not working for those here on Long Island,” Palumbo said as to the reason he decided to run. “They have been instituting a progressive left agenda that is contrary to the way of the life here in SD1.”
Palumbo, 49, whose Assembly 2nd District runs along the North Shore from Fishers Island all the way to Mount Sinai, was first elected in 2013 with 57 percent of the vote and has easily retained that seat in the next three elections by large margins.
Suffolk County Republican Committee chairman, Jesse Garcia, was enthused to see Palumbo moving in as the Republican front-runner.
“For the people of Senate District 1, this is great news,” Garcia said. “Anthony’s record is second to none.”
Though the seven-year legislator is moving from what has been considered a safe seat into what could be a fiercely contested race, Garcia said he wasn’t concerned.
“He is giving up a safe seat and is answering to a higher calling,” the Republican chairman said. “He will listen to the people and has the experience to lead SD1.”
Palumbo, a former prosecutor, will have to take on whoever comes out on top of a Democratic primary that sees well-known names like Laura Ahearn, Parents for Megan’s Law founder and Port Jeff resident, and Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station). Also running for the Democratic ticket is Skyler Johnson, Suffolk County Community College student and Mount Sinai resident, and Tommy John Schiavoni, a Southampton Town Board member.
In a prior interview with TBR News Media, Palumbo said he originally had reservations about seeking the higher office. One was the age of his children, one 12 and the other 15. The other was his current leadership position in the Assembly.
“It was a big decision for my family and I, but it is important that we hold onto Senate District 1,” the assemblyman said.
Garcia said this race is one of the big ones of the Republican Party trying to wrest back control of the State Senate from the Democrats.
Two items, he said, are at the highest importance in his run. One is bail reform, which Republicans across the island have called for the law’s removal.
“There was need for tweaking of criminal reform, but this goes beyond safe or smart,” he said. “The new discovery reform also went too far. It will cost millions of dollars in unfunded mandates.”
Palumbo added he wants to focus on taxes and bringing in more jobs to the district.
“The county is losing people in droves — I want to do what’s right for the district — I want my kids to be able to live here.”