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Editorial: Kevin McCaffrey for Suffolk legislature's 14th District

Kevin McCaffrey, GOP candidate for Suffolk's 14th Legislative

Kevin McCaffrey, GOP candidate for Suffolk's 14th Legislative District, poses for a portrait at Lindenhurst Village Hall Thursday. (August 1, 2013) Credit: Barry Sloan

The race for Wayne Horsley's former seat features two strong candidates deeply rooted in the community. Republican Kevin McCaffrey, 59, of Lindenhurst, is president of Teamsters Local 707, representing truckers and Nassau County off-track betting workers, and has been a trustee and deputy mayor of Lindenhurst Village for 23 years. Democrat Thomas Dolan, 51, also of Lindenhurst, is a financial planner who serves on the board of the local youth football and cheerleading organization.

Both are thoughtful and in touch with their constituents. Where they differ is experience and independence. McCaffrey's municipal background has prepared him to be an effective legislator. And we question the degree to which Dolan would be independent from the Democratic hierarchy with which he identifies closely. One of his ballot lines is The Schaffer Team, a reference to current Babylon Town supervisor and county party boss Richard Schaffer. Democrats have engaged in an expensive anti-McCaffrey campaign featuring several misrepresentations. They shouldn't have gone there.

Each candidate cites his background as evidence he is best equipped to address the county's shaky finances. McCaffrey has helped balance Lindenhurst's budgets for years while Dolan's experience is more limited and outside the public sector. Dolan says the treasurer and comptroller offices should be consolidated; McCaffrey wants to look at consolidating other departments, too. Both favor privatizing county health centers.

Both extol the virtues of transit-oriented development, with Dolan pointing to the Wyandanch Rising revitalization just outside the district's borders as a great project. McCaffrey doesn't object to the project's goals, but says waiving more than $11 million in sewer hookup fees deprived the Bergen Point sewage treatment plant, located within the district, of funds for maintenance and repairs.

McCaffrey says his efforts to help residents the night superstorm Sandy hit and in the aftermath have been draining but rewarding. His passion is affecting.

In a race between competent candidates, experience tips the scale.

Newsday endorses McCaffrey.