Joseph McDermott, Democratic candidate for Suffolk County's 11th Legislative District,...

Joseph McDermott, Democratic candidate for Suffolk County's 11th Legislative District, on Aug. 15, 2017 Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Did you hear the one about the ironworker and the insurance salesman? It’s the story of the race for the open seat in the 11th District.

Democrat Joseph McDermott, 50, in his second term as mayor of Brightwaters, is the ironworker.

Brightwaters Republican Steven Flotteron, 55, a 12-year member of the Islip Town board, owns an insurance agency.

The race is to replace term-limited Tom Barraga.

McDermott was elected a village trustee in 2013 and mayor one year later. Brightwaters since has moved off the state comptroller’s list of villages susceptible to fiscal stress and now has a AA+ bond rating, which let it pass two needed bonds for $3.2 million for infrastructure and canal repairs. He also was part of a board majority that set term limits for village officials to bring new people with fresh ideas into public service, which describes McDermott’s pitch to join the county legislature.

Flotteron has helped improve town parks through grants and donations, like the revitalization of the grounds of Brockwood Hall. He brought to Islip an anti-gang, anti-drug initiative that uses golf to teach resiliency and decision-making skills to at-risk kids.

Flotteron decries Suffolk’s financial state but given his long town tenure is surprisingly short on ideas to fix it. McDermott proposes consolidating jobs and having more employees pay into their health care premiums.

Flotteron wants to end or roll back the county’s red-light camera program, saying it’s a hidden tax. McDermott opts for tweaks, saying it’s important for public safety.

And while Flotteron agrees that Suffolk needs more affordable housing, McDermott’s passion for the topic is palpable when he talks about his ironworker buddies, young adults and senior citizens not being able to afford Long Island anymore.

Flotteron is a political veteran, but Suffolk needs McDermott’s heart.

Newsday endorses McDermott.

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months