The seat for New York’s 2nd Congressional District became a very hot commodity once Representative Peter King announced last year that he was retiring from Congress after wrapping up his 14th term. His old district stretches in the west from Levittown and wends east through North Wantagh, Seaford, South Farmingdale and Massapequa right into a number of Suffolk County communities including Amityville, Copiague, Lindenhurst, Brentwood, Babylon, Oakdale and Ronkonkoma.
In the election, Sayville resident Andrew Garbarino, who was tapped to run by Long Island Republican leaders, is squaring off against Democratic nominee Jackie Gordon. Garbarino has been a four-term assemblyman since 2013, while Gordon recently resigned her seat to run for Congress, after having served on the Babylon Town Council since 2007.
Garbarino is a third-generation local businessman who works at his family law firm in downtown Sayville. During his four terms in the Assembly, he has taken on several positions of leadership. He is the Ranking Minority Member of the Committee on Insurance and also sits on the Codes, Health, Higher Education, and Racing and Wagering Committees. Garbarino has also been heavily involved in the work of the National Council of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL), where he is a member of the executive committee.
Q: How is the race going so far?
AG: It’s going really well. Since the primary, we have secured so much support from local organizations, law enforcement groups, fire fighters, the National Federation of Independent Businesses. It’s a very big tent that we’ve got going. The response we’re getting on the ground—we’re being told that we have the right message.
Q: What is the message?
AG: It’s a Long Island First message. Pro-public safety. Pro-protection of the Great South Bay. Pro-infrastructure spending. It’s all the things I want to focus on. It seems to resonate with people. A lot of these Congressional races take a very national tone. We’ve been focusing on what I’ve done for Long Island as an elected official and what I can continue to do. These are the people that send me to Washington, so my focus should be on them first before everything else.
Q:What would you say is the biggest difference between what you are running on versus what your opponent is running on?
AG: We have a pro-public safety and pro-law enforcement message regarding what’s going on with bail reform and what’s going on with criminal justice reform. We’re promising to stay on the side of public safety and not pro-criminal. We’ve been focusing on my opponent not taking a public stance on any of those issues. She’s been asked about defunding the police and to my knowledge as of today, she doesn’t want to repeal bail reform. She’s running more on her résumé than what her plans for the district are. We’re talking about the future—in addition to public safety, we’re talking about an infrastructure bill and a student loan interest bill that I’d like to work on.
Visit www.garbarinoforny.com to find out more about Andrew Garbarino.
Gordon is a 29-year career veteran who served in the United States Army Reserve, where she was part of the military police battalion and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She is also a former guidance counselor at Farmingdale’s Wilson Technological Center and served on the Babylon Town Council from 2007 to 2020.
Q: How has the race been going for you so far?
JG: The race has been really going well. I think what’s really important is what I’m hearing from voters is a change in representation from someone who can identify and understand the challenges they face and the need for affordable and accessible health care. I think it’s looking really good. So many people want to be a part of this movement. They want to help with the campaign and in spreading the word. People are interested in the process of voting and how we vote. There is an excitement about the process, the issues and the idea of representation that is connected to them.
Q: What are some of the issues that people are bringing up to you out there on the campaign trail?
JG: The important issues I’ve heard about from voters is making sure health care is affordable and accessible and taking care of our veterans. Here on Long Island, we have the largest concentration of veterans. So we need to serve them as they’ve served us. We have to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and make sure we have protection in place for people with preexisting conditions, particularly with what’s going on with this novel virus. I am a combat veteran and I know how difficult it was for me when I got back home to re-assimilate back to the life that I once knew or as close to it as possible. So we have to make sure those resources are there for those veterans like mental health services and that they don’t end up homeless. And of course, we have to make sure the VA health care system remains intact because they get good quality health care through it. We also need representatives in Congress who are going to prioritize climate change and understand the science is real and make it a priority.