Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone speaks at Raphael Winery in...

Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone speaks at Raphael Winery in Peconic on May 5. Credit: James Carbone

Daily Point

A new lease on (political) life

New York’s intermediate appellate court ruled unanimously on Wednesday that former Suffolk County Legis. Kate Browning is eligible to run for her old seat in the 3rd Legislative District. It was good news for her comeback effort, but it also provides an opening for plenty of other term-limited Suffolk County pols who might now consider a return to power or staying in the job, including County Executive Steve Bellone.

The court determined that the 1994 county referendum, which limited legislators to 12 years in office, only applied to consecutive terms starting with those commencing in 1994.

Browning served in the legislature from 2006-2017, then lost a 1st District congressional Democratic primary to Perry Gershon, who later lost to Lee Zeldin. But now she’s taken time off and is good to go.

So The Point got to reminiscing about who might be newly eligible, and the Newsday librarians answered the call.

So here is the list of term-limited, still-living, never-convicted-of-a-crime former legislators, the ones who can now run again, besides Browning.

  • Cameron Alden
  • Thomas Barraga
  • Jonathan Cooper
  • Lou D’Amaro
  • Vivian Viloria-Fisher
  • Brian Foley
  • DuWayne Gregory
  • John Kennedy
  • Lynne Nowick
  • Jay Schneiderman
  • Steve Stern
  • Paul Tonna
  • David Bishop
  • Angie Carpenter
  • Edward Romaine

Tom Cilmi is just finishing up his final term before he has to take a break, and George Guldi and Alan Binder are now eligible based on the term limits law but are banned because of their criminal convictions.

As for county executives, only two have served under the current law. Steve Levy only served eight years after he chose to forgo a third run as part of a murky deal with disgraced former District Attorney Thomas Spota to stand down and return $4 million in campaign contributions before the 2011 race.

And current County Executive Steve Bellone is now finishing his third term while thinking, until recently, it had to be his last.

So what does Bellone, rumored to be considering a gubernatorial run, think of the fact he can now take four years off, then try to mount a county comeback?

The close-to-the-vest Democrat chuckled and told The Point, "I think anyone talking about me coming back as county executive after a term off needs to know they’ll have to talk to my wife about it first."

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

GOP's Neil Foley mulling a possible run for CD1

A healthy crop of Democrats is already gunning for a shot at New York’s 1st Congressional District, likely to be vacated by four-time incumbent and current gubernatorial hopeful Lee Zeldin.

And we now have a Republican who’s publicly talking about his interest: Brookhaven Town councilman Neil Foley.

"I'm entertaining the idea," Foley told The Point, adding that he plans to talk to his family "and see what pathway we’ll take."

Suffolk Republicans have been a little less quick than Democrats to air their party business in the search for a possible Zeldin replacement. County GOP chair Jesse Garcia told The Point only that there are a "number of people who’ve reached out to me."

Foley, of Blue Point, has a background in pharmaceuticals and is vice president of sales at New York Cancer & Blood Specialists. His political life already has some ties to Zeldin: He was first elected to the Town Council in a special election in November 2014, along with a Republican wave that carried Zeldin to Washington and Zeldin’s former aide, Tom Croci, to Albany to fill the State Senate seat.

At the time, Foley "said he benefited from campaigning with Zeldin, Croci and Suffolk County Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset)," according to a Newsday story.

Foley said his decision to run in CD1 would be "definitely contingent on [Zeldin’s] decision going forward": If the Shirley congressman dropped back down to defend his current seat, Foley would not primary him, he said.

There’s still some time before the scope of the field on either side is set. Garcia said he expected the party to coalesce behind a candidate before year’s end.

He noted that Long Island Republicans recently had to deal with a vacancy issue with Rep. Pete King’s retirement last cycle. The party successfully threw support behind eventual winner Andrew Garbarino, although that didn’t stop former Assemb. Mike LiPetri’s primary challenge.

"You can’t anticipate every rogue out there," Garcia said.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Happy Mother's Day

Credit: Cagle Cartoons/John Darkow

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Final Point

Boyle’s interest in policy not debatable

For Republican State Sen. Phil Boyle, part of the attraction of elective politics has always been indulging his interest in policy and the arguments that surround it.

And that, he told The Point on Friday, is why he’s decided to launch a series of online debates, held approximately once a month, on topics he knows will interest him and he hopes will interest others.

The first entry, to take place at 4 p.m. Friday, is on physician-assisted suicide and the "Aid in Dying" bill that has been kicking around Albany for years. The guests are Corrinne Carey, the director of Compassion & Choices New York, in favor of assisted suicide, and Jason McGuire, spokesperson for the New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide.

"This is a topic that really interests me, and while I lean against assisted suicide, I haven’t really made up my mind," Boyle said. "I do have a bit of a libertarian streak that makes me think it might be a right. So I really wanted to hear more, and I think others will, too. And then we’ll just come up with other interesting subjects going forward, shooting for about one per month."

Actually, he knows others will, because by noon Friday, about 150 people had already registered to join the Zoom debate, and he said previous public events he’s done online have drawn 100 at most. The link can be found here.

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

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