In the February 22 edition of the Suffolk Life newspaper, a story was featured about the special election for Assembly District 8, which will be held in six days. The article prominently mentioned the PBA’s endorsement of candidate Ernie Mattace. The article is shown below, and the PBA has placed in bold the portion of the story mentioning the union.
The PBA prides itself in being a politically active union. Political candidates are coveting our endorsements and are notifying news organizations of the endorsement so that the public will be aware the Troopers union is backing their candidacy.
By Rob Busweiler
In what is being hailed as a keystone special election by both Republican and Democratic party leaders, the race for the 8th district seat in the New York State Assembly is down to its final week.
The candidates have turned up the juice on their respective campaigns, with Ernie Mattace picking up an endorsement from the 6,000-member New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association on February 14. Mattace, a political leader for the Local 338, has been drawing support from the unions since the campaign started. Mattace has stated that he plans to go to bat for the working class should he get into office.
On the other side, Phil Boyle has garnered support from the Conservative and Independence parties and picked up more than 1,000 signatures to create the School Tax Relief Party.
Both Mattace and Boyle have come out attacking the tax situation, claiming that Long Island is losing many of its residents due to them being priced out of the area. “Our biggest problem is people not being able to afford a house,” Mattace said.
Aside from taxes, Mattace is looking into different ways to bring new businesses into the heart of some of the 8th district’s towns. “There is so much potential in these downtown areas,” Mattace said. “Let’s make use of the land.”
Although this is his first time running for an elected office, Mattace has been involved in politics since the Kennedy administration, and he claims that his day job working with the 338 has given him plenty of insight into what it takes to be a politician. The Local 338 primarily represents area employees of retail, wholesale and department stores. “I believe in helping working people,” Mattace said.
Currently working for the Islip Town attorney’s office, Boyle previously held a seat in the state Assembly in the late ‘90s before the districts were realigned. Now, nearly 10 years later, he is looking to tackle some of the same issues that were around when he was first in office.
“I was one of the first people who fought for the organized STAR [school tax relief] program,” Boyle said. “And now there is a need for expansion.”
According to Boyle, his new plan for the STAR system could save the average STAR participant more than $600 a year.
“I’ll introduce it about a day after I get there,” if he wins the election, Boyle said. “I’ll talk to whoever I have to.”
Despite problems within the Republican Party that surfaced during last September’s primary, Boyle assures that they are representing a unified front. “It was just an inter-family dispute and we’ve gotten over that,” Boyle said. “Chris Bodkin and Steve Flotteron are two of my biggest supporters.” Boyle had lost to the two after they struggled to get back on the Republican ticket.
Stretching through parts of Babylon and Islip, the 8th Assembly District was previously represented by current Suffolk County Legislator Tom Barraga (R-West Islip). The area, in the past, has been a GOP stronghold, but the recent Democratic upswings in other parts of Suffolk County may be enough to sway the tide of one of the most Republican districts in the state.
The state-wide special election date of February 28 was set by New York State Governor George Pataki. Pataki, who recently had his appendix removed, has yet to appoint someone to the Suffolk County clerk position. The department itself has been under intense scrutiny after it was discovered that a vast list of residents’ Social Security numbers were available on the county’s website. The department is currently being run by Acting Clerk Judith Pascale. Whoever is appointed will need to win the seat again in the November general elections. Officials from the governor’s office are still in the process of reviewing the credentials of potential appointees.