Saladino, Young spar in Assembly race

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ALBANY -- A verbal war heated up Tuesday in a Republican primary for an Assembly seat that straddles southern Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Assemb. Joe Saladino (R-Massapequa) said "it's the height of hypocrisy" for his foe, Richard Young, to campaign on a theme of reducing government spending while collecting police retirement payments. He accused Young of trying to get "as many [government checks] as he can" and criticized him for going on an African safari.

Young's campaign manager fired back, calling Saladino's claims "preposterous" and "ludicrous."

It was the latest volley in the lone Republican primary on Long Island for a state legislative seat this year.

Saladino, a four-term incumbent, is facing Young, a retired New York police sergeant who now runs a West Islip law firm. Young, who has criticized Saladino for not being conservative enough, is backed by the Conservative Society for Action, a Brightwaters-based tea party-style group.

Young, according to his website, suffered job-related injuries in 1988, was forced to retire from NYPD and became an attorney.

Saladino said Young wants to be a "double dipper," eyeing an Assembly check to complement his retirement payments. The incumbent said it was "hypocritical" for Young to be appealing to tea party members and claiming "he's looking out for government spending.

"How many different paychecks does he want from government? Apparently, he wants as many as he can get," Saladino said. "It's just not right."

Saladino continued, criticizing Young for going on an African safari.

"He's well enough to hunt down animals," Saladino said. "It's outrageous."

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Stephen Flanagan, Young's campaign manager, said the notion that Young was financially motivated to run was "preposterous."

Flanagan, also head of the CSA, said Young "honorably served. He was injured on the job and forced to retire. Is Saladino suggesting that he retire and live on a partial pension check the rest of his life? That's what it sounds like."

Flanagan acknowledged that Young is currently on safari, but that the trip was booked about six months ago -- before he decided to challenge Saladino. He said Young, while injured, is not incapacitated.

"He's really trying to stretch things here," Flanagan said of Saladino. "The whole thing is ludicrous."

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