Montano said his years in elected office make him the most qualified Democrat to run. “I have a history, voters know me,” he said. Campaign finance and ethics reform would be a priority, he said, including a ban or limit on legislators’ outside incomes. If, as is being considered, lawmakers receive a pay raise, he would support banning outside incomes for them. He called the MTA payroll tax, passed the last time Democrats controlled the State Senate, a “stupid move.” The concern about New York City Democrats dominating the agenda and hurting Long Island if Republicans lose control of the Senate is a “scare tactic that’s used to pit this region against the others.” He said if control of the Senate flips to Democrats this year, he would present the best chance for Suffolk to have a seat in the majority.
Montano, 66, of Brentwood is an attorney running in a Democratic primary. He served 10 years as a Suffolk County legislator until 2013, when he lost re-election. He attended Brentwood High School for two years before transferring to a school in New York City. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science and local government from the City College of New York in 1972 and a law degree from Temple University in 1975. He moved back to Long Island in 1981 and served as executive director of the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission for eight years. Montano has an adult daughter.