Suffolk Legis. Monica Martinez launched her state senate campaign late Thursday taking on what she termed the “Republican playbook” that she will be a pawn to New York City Democrats by vowing to protect Long Island.
“They have already played their hand” said the three-term Brentwood Democrat to a crowd of more than 150 party activities. “I will not allow anyone to tell me what to do. I will make sure I fight for Suffolk County.”
Then, alluding to the slate of other Democratic senate contenders present, she added, “we will prove them wrong . . . We are not going to be pushovers and will protect families here.”
Martinez, 40, formally announced her candidacy at the Portuguese American Center where Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, County Executive Steve Bellone and Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, all touted the lawmaker as part of the “American dream” — coming to this country at age 3, growing up to become an educator and now an elected official.
“What a breath of fresh air she is going to be . . . Change is in the air. I can feel it . . . Wait till Albany meets Monica,” said Cuomo after Martinez spoke. The governor acknowledged he personally lobbied her and most of the new local contenders, including North Hempstead Town Board member Anna Kaplan, former Suffolk Legis. Lou D’Amaro and Suffolk Water Authority chairman Jim Gaughran.
Cuomo said Democrats have to take over the State Senate because Republicans have failed to take on President Donald Trump to stop his tax plan that is going to increase federal taxes 30 percent for local homeowners and cost them $14 billion more over the $16 billion the state sends to Washington but never gets back.
“They have brought an extreme Republican-conservative ideology to Washington that we have never seen before . . . They want control, total domination and to impose their view,” Cuomo said. “That extreme conservative Washington view is now in Albany . . . They are reading from the gospel of Trump.”
But her GOP foe, Assemb. Dean Murray of East Patchogue, questioned Martinez’s claims, noting “her first endorsements are from a governor who is sprinting to the left pushing for things like sanctuary state, a state . . . takeover of health care and the DREAM Act, and Bellone who has put our county into such a financial hole our children’s children will be digging us out.”
Bill Lipton, of the Working Families Party that is backing Cynthia Nixon for governor, said his party has been battling Republicans for eight years “while Cuomo has been missing in action. We’ve seen the rhetoric before, but we’ve never seen resources.”
Even before she announced, Darrin Green, a Nassau correction officer and the party’s original choice who bowed out of the race, said he would do everything he could to help Martinez. Cuomo also said that Bellone and Schaffer would work together “harder than they have ever worked before,” adding, “I have it in writing and on a tape recording.”
Martinez vowed to walk the district and win the race: “Let do this. Let’s get ready to start campaigning because I am ready to rock ’n’ roll.”