Carpenter, Law to head new Suffolk executive's transition team
Having served 40 years in local government, Ed Romaine has a lot of friends. But there may be only one person who was first fired by him and is now a confidant. That's Kevin Law who, along with Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter, will co-chair the transition team for the incoming Suffolk County Executive, it was announced Friday.
Asked how long he knew Romaine, Law, chairman of Empire State Development, spooled out an anecdote that carbon-dates Suffolk County politics. It was Law’s sister, Susan, who worked in a Smithtown pub on Main Street frequented by the town’s Republicans including Nicky Barbato, Patrick Henry and William Carney, the only Conservative elected to the House of Representatives from New York. Susan Law let the pols know that her brother was a political science major at Stony Brook University looking to get involved in the game, which led to Law working on the campaign of Carney’s chief of staff, Rick Schmidt, who was making a run for Smithtown Town supervisor against a carpetbagger Democrat from New York City, Patrick Vecchio. Vecchio went on to hold the office for 40 years.
With no Smithtown job in the offing for the student, Carney contacted Romaine, then head of the Brookhaven Community Development office which was located in the same building as Carney’s district office. Eight days into his internship, Law said he was summoned to Romaine’s office and was told by Romaine he was being let go.
“What did I do wrong?” Law recalls asking. Romaine told him that Brookhaven Supervisor Henrietta Acampora, reviewing the paperwork for new hires, saw Law's address. “Why am I paying $4 an hour to someone who lives in Smithtown,” she said, invoking the first tribal rule of GOP patronage.
“Of course I remember the incident,” Romaine told The Point in a text. “It’s something we laugh about all of the time,” adding that since then they have had a long and close relationship.
Carpenter, too, goes back with Romaine almost four decades, first from her days with the Suffolk County Republican Women and then with their political careers overlapping when she was county treasurer and he served in the county legislature. "He's a little on the serious side, but he does have a very soft side, too," Carpenter told the Point.
Romaine met with his co-chairs on Friday and it’s expected that other members of the transition team will be announced early next week. “Angie and Kevin are only focused on what we will need to do to make sure we move Suffolk County forward,” said Romaine.
— Rita Ciolli email@example.com
Going, going, con
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Political speed bumps ahead
Among the many issues that emerged throughout the local legislative elections, one had near-universal agreement: The roads need work.
Now, a key regional advocate is already looking to next year’s elections and says roads should be a top issue in evaluating state and federal candidates, too.
And so far, no one seems to be making road repairs and upgrades the priority it should be, Marc Herbst, the executive director of the Long Island Contractors’ Association, told The Point this week.
“Who’s going to stand up and be the champion for Long Island infrastructure?” Herbst asked. “We haven’t had one since Chuck Fuschillo.”
Fuschillo, a former Republican state senator, served as chairman of the State Senate’s transportation committee. Herbst noted that since Fuschillo left the State Senate in 2013, LICA has found that the percentage of local roads with pavement ratings in “fair to poor” condition has increased from 14% to 40%.
Herbst’s frustration comes in the wake of a report from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, a Washington think tank, that found that the federal infrastructure investment act, now two years old, allocated $4.5 billion for highway and roads-related funding for New York State, but less than $2 billion of it has been allocated within the state Department of Transportation's five-year capital plan.
Long Island will receive on average $333.4 million per year between 2023 and 2027 — an increase of 1% from 2022 levels. Herbst said the region will see an approximate $14 million total increase in allocations over those five years. That’s less than 1% of the $2 billion the state has allocated — and even less when considering the $4.5 billion overall allocated to the state.
Herbst met with representatives from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office more than a month ago but is still waiting to see what local legislators do next. LICA members, he said, will be focused on the issue as budget negotiations begin early next year — and are looking for the region’s lawmakers to fill the leadership vacuum.
If they don’t, Herbst warned, the issue could become a significant one come campaign time. And LICA — and the voters who care about the roads — might make the road to reelection for state and federal officials far more rocky come next fall.
— Randi F. Marshall firstname.lastname@example.org