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.”