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Islip Town Democratic chairman Jerry Pallotta has endorsed Monica Martinez for the Ninth District seat now held by veteran Suffolk Legis. Rick Montano (D-Brentwood).
Pallotta praised Martinez as a “positive and effective force in the community” who has “touched the lives of countless young people as an educator and school administrator” in the past decade.
The town leader’s move breaks with the official stance of Suffolk County Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer, who says he is backing Montano. Democrats designated Montano as their candidate at a convention last month. Schaffer is also Babylon Town supervisor.
Martinez, a Brentwood middle school assistant principal, is the sister of Tony Martinez, Schaffer’s deputy supervisor and a town board member in Babylon. Tony Martinez also was co-chairman of County Executive Steve Bellone’s transition team.
Critics say Bellone backers are behind Martinez’s challenge, a claim Bellone aides deny.
Montano could not be reached immediately for comment but has said he does not know Martinez and will withhold comment until she files petitions to qualify for the ballot.
Martinez said she’s honored to have Pallotta’s support and said if elected, she will only back Democrats for legislative leadership positions