New York State Senator, 1st DistrictPosted: Updated:
Gregory John Fischer
Background: Fischer, 61, of Calverton, is a consultant to businesses, nonprofits and governments, is running for the Democrat Party line in the 1st Senate District. He lost his bid for the seat to Republican incumbent Kenneth LaValle in 2016. He received a bachelor's degree from SUNY New Paltz in 1980 and an MBA in operations management from the University at Albany in 1982. He also has an associate degree in general management from City University of New York. Hepreviously ran for Riverhead Town supervisor, councilman and assessor, as well as the Riverhead school board. Fischer has four children.
Issues: Fischer, citing a rising cost of living and flat wages, said he believes the economy is the number one concern in the state. "The most important issue far and away is that the New York State economy is failing and it's failing quickly," he said. What is required to create high paying jobs, Fischer said, is "the reindustrialization of the state." He has floated an economic development plan that hinges on building an underground train system powered by magnetic levitation or maglev technology. The ambitious plan would be paid for with federal bonds and run under federal right-of-ways from Ronkonkoma to Quebec, Canada. He envisions these high-speed trains connecting commuters between communities with affordable real estate and economic hubs for jobs. "I want this to be a New Deal type of construction," he said. He also favors a cross-Sound tunnel and double-decking the Long Island Expressway to alleviate traffic congestion. Fischer said if elected he would not necessarily caucus with other Senate Democrats and said his campaign hasn't received money from local Democratic committees. "I don't owe the Democrats anything," he said. Fischer supports public financing of elections, 12-year term limits for state senators and ending Common Core and standardized testing mandates for students in grades three through eight.
LaValle said he is among the leaders in the State Senate in the number of bills he has introduced and passed in the past two years. He said the state property tax levy cap has saved taxpayers in his district about $500 million, and he also supports increasing state aid for local schools. "State aid remains a critical ingredient in providing the quality education and also stabilizing property taxes for the people," LaValle said. He also has sponsored the STAR program, authored the Pine Barrens Preservation Act of 1993 and helped create a burn unit at Stony Brook University Medical Center. He also cited projects totaling about $400 million at the Stony Brook University campus that he said will create jobs. He said he supports a referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot in the five East End towns aimed at improving water quality. LaValle said opioid abuse is "devouring our society," and he backed laws aimed at making it easier for people to access rehab and insurance.
LaValle, 77, of Port Jefferson, is the incumbent and running on the Republican, Conservative, Reform and Independence lines. He is seeking his 21st two-year term. He is chairman of the Senate higher education committee and chairs the Senate Majority Conference. He earned a bachelor's degree from Adelphi University in 1961. He obtained a master's degree in education from SUNY New Paltz in 1964. While a senator, he earned a law degree from the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in 1987. He is married and has two children.