After five years in Albany, Assemb. Andrew Garbarino is looking to come home.
Garbarino, 32, was one of 18 contenders a week ago to screen for an Islip Town Board seat that is likely to become open because GOP incumbent Steve Flotteron is looking to run for the county legislature seat of term-limited Tom Barraga. The other town board seat up for election is held by Trish Bergin-Weichbrodt, who is seeking another term.
Garbarino, of Bayport, said he has been encouraged to run by many who work in Town Hall. He said he believes his knowledge of zoning and land use issues would be valuable as the board faces major issues such as the Heartland Town Square project.
He said his tenure as a state lawmaker makes him well known in his Assembly district, and that he has a proved capacity for fundraising, having amassed a $120,000 war chest for his first race.
“In a year where we don’t know the national mood, it may be helpful to have someone people have voted for three times in the last five years,” he said.
While Garbarino’s father William Garbarino is Islip GOP chairman, the lawmaker said his father may be reluctant to see him leave his state career.
The elder Garbarino said he played no role in his son’s decision to screen, and said he will leave the decision on the selection to the town GOP committee. “I only play a role in case of a tie,” he said.
The party leader, whose own election last year was initially opposed by Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter, dismissed the idea she might try to block his son. “Angie and I get along fine now,” he said. Carpenter’s spokeswoman said the supervisor did not have time to comment.
If Andrew Garbarino comes back, he would join other officials such as Barraga, who spent 24 years in the Assembly, only to return to run and win a seat in the Suffolk County Legislature, and the late presiding officer Lou Howard, who lasted one term in the Assembly before returning to county government.