Once again, this is Suffolk's most-contested legislative race. It's the district of Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone and party leader and Babylon Town Supervisor Richard Schaffer. But the seat is held by a Republican, Kevin McCaffrey, 61, of Lindenhurst, who ended years of Democratic control in 2013.
McCaffrey faces a formidable opponent. Timothy Sini, 35, of Babylon Village, a former federal prosecutor, is assistant deputy county executive for public safety. He's made an impression in 16 months on the job. He developed programs to allow pre-trial release of poor people charged but unable to make bail, and his work on alternatives to incarceration was critical in getting the state to drop its mandate that Suffolk build a $112 million jail addition. He deplores the poor relationship between county police and the U.S. attorney's office and has ideas to make policing more efficient and cheaper, including allowing crime victims to file reports online.
McCaffrey has a deep understanding of his district. He's worked hard on behalf of Sandy victims, and advocates for more money for education and prevention to fight the heroin epidemic. He worries about the future for young people and senior citizens, and says Suffolk must help make life more affordable by getting its financial house in order. He wants to reduce the number of political appointees, and advocates sharing information with school officials on illegal multifamily houses so they can be taxed based on their local impact.
Alas, Sini's campaign is repeating the intense focus of two years ago on blaming McCaffrey, who also is president of Teamsters Local 707, for what it calls mismanagement of his union's pension. The criticism ignores the impact of the recession, the fact that McCaffrey is one of four voting trustees, and that other multi-employer pensions have suffered similar hits. It's a cheap shot and simply out of line.
McCaffrey is a capable legislator. Sini is well suited to the job he's got.
Newsday endorses McCaffrey.