New York State Assembly, 3rd DistrictPosted: Updated:
Joseph P. De Stefano
Background: De Stefano, 58, of Medford, is running on the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform lines. He is a communications supervisor for the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office, for which he has worked 27 years. De Stefano also represents sheriff's and probation employees as unit president for the Suffolk Association of Municipal Employees union. He has been a Medford fire commissioner for 23 years and serves as secretary-treasurer for the Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York. This is his first run for elected office. De Stefano is married with two children. He received an associate degree in business and management from Suffolk County Community College in 1980.
Issues: De Stefano said his priorities would be taxes, quality of life issues, environmental protection, ethics reform, downtown revitalization and keeping neighborhoods safe from gangs. He said he would curb wasteful spending, citing as examples state funding for an upstate hiking trail and a gondola at the state fairgrounds in Syracuse, and financial support for the Buffalo Bills. "I could probably go through a myriad of things that Albany spends money on that aren't necessarily in the best interests of the taxpayers," he said. "We raise taxes $10 million and yet we're $14 million in the hole. Something's not right with the expenditures." He said he would ensure adequate funding for Long Island. "We need to make sure that we have our fair share and we get our money back," he said. De Stefano said ethics reform is "high up" among his potential constituents' concerns. "They're tired of the corruption in Albany," he said. "They want to see reforms done." He said he would be willing to compromise, conceding that he would be in the minority party if Democrats retain control of the Assembly. "I'm going to have to reach out to the other side," De Stefano said. "We have to reach out to the Democratic side of the aisle to get things done for Long Island."
Background: Parker, 71, of Bellport, is running on the Democratic line. He is a retired retail entrepreneur who works as a consultant. He serves on the boards of the Boys and Girls Club of Bellport and Long Island Community Hospital in East Patchogue. He attended Central State College in Oklahoma but did not receive a degree. Parker served in the Army from 1966 to 1969. He is married and has three children. This is Parker's first run for elected office.
Issues: Parker said his primary concerns are environmental protection, health care, education, and housing and homelessness. Though he said he is not sure he favors universal health care, he admires programs in nations such as Germany and Canada that seek to provide affordable health care to all citizens. "Everybody's insured. No one has to worry about dying on the street," Parker said. "It may not be perfect, but it's better than nothing." He said recycling programs should be modeled on European programs that provide receptacles for bottles and cans in public places. He said he wants to create more affordable housing to address homelessness and poverty. He said some people are "living in the woods and that just isn't right. We live in the richest country in the world and people are living in the streets. There's something not right about that." On education, Parker said he favors programs that encourage children to stay in school, and he would reduce student-teacher ratios. Teachers, he said, are "overworked. There are so many students and so few teachers." He supports consolidation of government services, pointing to such an effort underway in Brookhaven Town. Parker said he would cross party lines to work with Republicans on issues of mutual interest. "Working with people on both sides of the fence is crucial," he said. "I'm very much a believer in communication." He also hopes to build trust in government among his constituents, especially young people. "There's only so much I can do, but if I can have a voice in any of that, it would make me very happy," he said.