Republican Dean Murray, who gained office in a special election in February, says his biggest surprise about the Assembly is that partisanship isn't an issue. Instead, it's upstate vs. downstate vs. the city - "and the city always wins." That's why one of his top issues is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority payroll tax. He wants a deeper look at MTA finances and to improve efficiencies before the agency gets any new state aid. In a few months, he has established himself as a vocal member of the minority.
Democratic challenger Robert Calarco, 31, of Patchogue, has worked in county government for nine years. His approach to problem-solving is to get interested parties to negotiate. As he widens his focus to broader policy issues, he should have a bright political future.
Murray, 46, of East Patchogue, has a business background that shapes his approach. An original local tea party organizer, he focuses on the key tenets of small government, fiscal and personal responsibility, and accountability.
Newsday endorses Murray.