The Herald Gazette endorses Democratic challenger Jim Gaughran, of Huntington, for the State Senate’s 5th District seat.
In addition to his years of public service on the Huntington Town Board and the Suffolk County Legislature, Gaughran has served on the Suffolk County Water Authority board for 10 years — eight as its chairman. In the aftermath of the 2008-09 financial crisis, the SCWA cut its payroll costs by 4 percent, and is one of the only public water authorities in the country with a triple-A bond rating.
Given the slew of problems that the North Shore faces over water, Gaughran’s experience with the SCWA would serve him well in the Senate. In particular, we believe, he could leverage his relationships with state regulators to effect change in communities like Sea Cliff, where water rates have soared, and Glen Cove, which has been dealing for years with contamination issues.
Gaughran is, we believe, devoted to increasing accountability and transparency in government. He spoke about closing the LLC loophole, which allows wealthy donors to exceed campaign contribution limits by funneling cash through limited liability corporations. He would also like to prohibit sitting state senators and Assembly members from doing business with firms under contract with the state. And he wants to restrict the types of expenditures that campaign funds can be used to finance.
For more than two decades, incumbent Carl Marcellino has served his constituents well, and has reached across the aisle on certain local issues, particularly his efforts to secure funding for a study to explore the possibility of a municipal takeover of Sea Cliff’s water utility. But as that effort progresses, the complexities of this issue will require a more intimate knowledge of water management. To that end, we encourage readers to vote for Jim Gaughran on Tuesday.