On March 31st, voters in the Town of Brookhaven where I reside go to the polls to hold a special election to decide who becomes our next town supervisor. A little back story here; our former town supervisor, Brian X. Foley ran successfully for a state senate seat here in New York, unseating a popular state senator Caesar Trunzo. Trunzo a Republican held this seat for 35 years. An impressive feat for Brian X. Foley.
I wondered who would take the reigns of power to keep the trains running and was delighted after Foley won, Lori Baldassare who was Foley’s chief of staff was named Acting-Supervisor. While those of you who do not know of her since my pieces have been of national issues and national politicos’, Baldisarre is one of the hardest working public servants that I have come to know over the past eight years. She lives and breathes this town which is larger than the State of Rhode Island.
Baldassare, ran unsuccessfully for a town council position after Marsha Laufer the Town Democratic Chair spear-headed the move for councilmatic representation for the citizens of this town. I truly feel that the citizens in my district would have been better served had she won. You see, Lori is a fighter. After her first loss, she dusted herself off and ran again two years later. But, the loses she incurred did not stop her from serving we the people.
Upon entering town government when the Democrats were swept into power, again a victory for Marsha Laufer who is a force unto herself, Baldessare came with a list of credentials second to none. Her stellar resume includes, at one time having served as the President of the Mt. Sinai Civic Association, to any number of high profiled positions as one reads where she also served in "the Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organization. As a community leader and past President of ABCO, Lori led the fight for the creation of council district representation. She currently serves as President and founding director of the Heritage Trust, a non-profit community land trust whose mission is to preserve and enhance Brookhaven communities." Lori is a true-blue community organizer whose works are known to those lucky enough to see her work.
When it came to the recent Stimulus Package passed by both houses of congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama, Baldessare stated, “What will it mean for Long Island?: We have a number of projects, a lot of highway projects that we have put in for stimulus money...With additional funding we can take them off the shelf and get them started.” That is Lori’s can do spirit and she knows a thing or two about roads especially when the Democrats came into power in this town, she worked with the new Superintendant of Highways, John Rouse. She knows her tar and asphalt.
Personally, I have seen her work her campaigns and a term boundless energy is one that often came to mind seeing her work them. Those volunteering for her campaigns were loyal soldiers and when she suffered her first defeat a young man by the name of Kris was despondent. Tears were streaming down his face and truly it was a sight to behold. So while many over the years have only seen the negative in campaigns and those who ran for one seat or another, it touched me immensely how those working on her behalf felt a personal stake in her campaigns.
After her last defeat at the polls, she threw a thank you party to those who did volunteer for her campaign at Christmas time. It was a chance for all of us to get together to honor her. In attendance was Marsha Laufer and Assemblyman, Steve Englebright who is the people’s assembly member.
As we head into this special election, I am of the opinion, we should leave Lori Baldessare in place until the next General Election. But, reality is that we have others presently running for a seat she knows all too well, has the needed experience and has done so successfully.
Running this town which again I will remind you is larger than Rhode Island, her position as Acting-Supervisor is akin to that of a governor. The buck stops with Ms. Baldessare.
Another reason why at this moment in time I am against this special election being held is because it does cost the tax payers money as the Board of Elections must provide the poll workers and pay them to work each district within our town. They must also pay for the shipping of our lever voting machines to these districts and in these hard financial times we can certainly use that money for other purposes.
I also wonder what percentage of voters will come out on March 31st? Is it cost beneficial? Will only a few come out to the polls as opposed to a localized General Election? Please keep in mind that local elections which are the most important have the lowest turn out. It has always been a bone of contention with me and I do suspect others.
As I have always taken the direction of my town’s governance seriously, I have thrown my support behind Mark Lesko who I feel is the far better candidate. As I back this candidate a sense of sorrow comes with it since I greatly admire Lori Baldessarre.
I do not know what the future holds for Lori, but I do wish to thank her for a job well done in keeping the trains running here in my town, The Town of Brookhaven. Her governance came with a personal touch as she kept me apprised of a bluff repair near me. How many citizens in this country can say that?