New York State Assembly, 2nd District

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Anthony H. Palumbo
Republican

Background: Palumbo, 48, of New Suffolk, is making his fourth bid for Assembly after winning a one-year term to fill a vacancy in 2013. He is running on the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines. Since 2004 he's had a small law practice in Mattituck, and before that served six years as an assistant Suffolk County district attorney, including as trial supervisor for the office's East End bureau. He also served on the Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library board of trustees. He earned a bachelor's in government and law at Lafayette College and a law degree at St. John's Law School. He is the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee. He is married with two children.

Issues: Palumbo said he is running on his record. "I've been there long enough to build some good relationships and work with other legislators to accomplish goals." He pointed to the North Fork Mental Health Initiative, which got $175,000 in funding to help provide school counselors for students, as well as the set-aside of almost 900 acres near Shoreham for inclusion in the Pine Barrens, where a solar farm had been proposed, assuring that future development will be done in what he called an environmentally conscious manner. The loss of revenue from National Grid taxes will be offset by the state, he said, with zero net effect on the Shoreham-Wading River school district. He said he does not support the New York Health Act single-payer health plan, calling it cost prohibitive, but said he would support a plan for adults similar to the state's Child Health Plus program that provides health coverage to uninsured children up to the age of 19.

Rona Smith 
Democratic

Background: Smith, 73, of Greenport, is making her first bid for office. She writes case studies for the Columbia Business School, was head of an investment development group specializing in multifamily housing and served on the mentor board for Columbia's entrepreneurial program. Smith began her career as an English teacher in Queens before moving into real estate. She earned a bachelor's degree in English from Queens College; her master's in linguistics and a doctorate in communications theory at New York University; and an MBA at Columbia. She is chairwoman of the town of Southold's Housing Advisory Commission, a member of its economic development committee and vice-chairwoman of the Southold Local Development Corp., which helps nonprofits get bond financing. She has an adult daughter.

Issues: Smith said her analytical approach will help her solve problems as she works to provide stability for those whose lives are greatly affected by a lack of affordable health care and student loan debt. "These 'skinny health care plans' are skinny in what they offer the insured. It's going to be a shocking thing if the people get sick," she said. "They're pushing something that will disappoint holders in spite of the fact they're paying a premium." Another issue that affects many people is outstanding student loan debt, she said. Now estimated at $1.5 trillion by the Federal Reserve, Smith noted that, nationally, student loan debt is higher than credit card debt. Smith said she would work to mandate that students and their parents get objective advice before taking on student loans to avoid situations in which the company making a loan is the one giving the advice, which now happens frequently, she said. "We need to make things predictable for people," she said. "Predictable things lower stress, and that is important to people's stability."

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