New York State Senator, 2nd DistrictPosted: Updated:
Kathleen Bradbury Cleary
Background: Cleary, 51, grew up in Massapequa and has lived in East Northport for the past two decades. Cleary is also running on the Women's Equality Party line. She is a horticulturist working for the state Parks Department on a seasonal basis at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in East Islip. She also spent 25 years working as a contract manager at Fortune 100 companies. She received a bachelor's degree in business administration from Adelphi University in 1989, and her associate degree in horticulture from Farmingdale State College in 2016. She was designated a master gardener with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County and runs a volunteer greenhouse at Brookwood Hall in East Islip. She is part of the Huntington Town Democratic Committee.
Issues: Cleary said she was running for office for the first time against state Sen. John Flanagan for specific policy reasons: "Because of Sen. Flanagan's holding up of the Reproductive Health Act." Flanagan did not allow the act to come to a vote last year. The act calls for removing abortion from the state penal code as a matter of public health, and also ends criminalization of abortion after 25 weeks of pregnancy if the fetus is not viable or the woman's health is at risk. Cleary has personal experience with what she called the necessity for the act, citing her two ectopic pregnancies that were not viable. "There are instances where women who have nonviable pregnancies past 24 weeks have to leave the state to take care of it," she said, which can be an expensive and grueling option for women who don't have the funds to travel. Cleary also said the Child Victims Act proposal, which would give victims more time to bring cases against their abusers, is languishing in state senate. "As senate majority leader Flanagan has the power to bring these laws to the senate," she said. "These have never been voted on in the senate and he refuses to let them go for a vote." Cleary said she supports ethics and campaign finance reform, including "banning pay to play contracts." "Constituents should understand why and where the money is going," she said.
Flanagan said he is proud of his record and is "gratified" to serve as a public official and state senator, and believes he works very hard on behalf of the people he represents by listening to their concerns and by acting on those concerns. "I want to continue to make very strong investments into aid to education. We have a lot of work that we can still do to improve upon economic development and jobs. Jobs is probably No. 1 over everything because everything else flows from that: jobs, education, taxes. We cut taxes this year and I believe we can do more," he said. "I want to work on issues that we have done a good job on but we always have opportunities to enhance what we have done, and that's quality of life stuff like breast cancer screenings, opioid and heroin addiction and things of that nature."
Flanagan, 55, of East Northport is running on the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines. Flanagan, the Senate majority leader, is seeking his eighth term as state senator. He spent 16 years serving in the Assembly before he was elected to the State Senate. He earned his bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary. Flanagan received his law degree in 1990 from the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. He is married with three children.