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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Local Elections

    Officeholders in political districts that encompass Stony Brook University trounced their opponents on Election Day.

    New York State and congressional elections that impact the university ended with incumbents making a strong showing at the polls. Congressman Tim Bishop, State Senator John Flanagan and State Assemblyman Steve Englebright all won re-election bids by hefty margins, as neither candidate faced a challenger that seriously threatened to wrest control of office.

    Congressman Tim Bishop (D.-Southampton) won re-election with 58 percent of the vote, defeating 28-year-old Iraq war veteran and GOP challenger Lee Zeldin (R.-Shirley) in a campaign that featured plenty of sparring. Throughout the campaign, Zeldin railed against Bishop for voting for the $700 billion federal bailout and for supporting the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, which would grant legal status to some working immigrants that entered the country illegally.

    Bishop called many of Zeldin’s policy’s “hopelessly naive,” while maintaining his office has done a “first rate” job of providing for constituents.

    “Pick any one bill I’ve voted for — any one — and debate me on why it wasn’t the best thing for this district,” the congressman said, as quoted in the Times Beacon Record.

    Zeldin did not offer voters a compelling reason to oust Bishop. In his six years as a congressman, Bishop has delivered $135 million in funds to his district, including over $50 million “for roads, bridges and other local transportation priorities,” according to Bishopforcongress.com. In 2008, Bishop also helped block Broadwater Energy’s plan to build a liquefied natural gas terminal in the Long Island Sound.

    In the New York State Senate race, John Flanagan(R.-East Northport) sauntered to victory in the second district. Flanagan won a fourth term by finishing with 63 percent of the vote against his challenger, Michael DePaoli (D.-South Setauket).

    Flanagan is popular among constituents for several reasons. He helped create the STAR rebate program, which provides tax relief for constituents bogged down by some of the highest tax burdens in the nation.

    In 2006, Flanagan squashed construction plans to redevelop the former Kings Park Psychiatric Center into housing, and secured $25 million in state funding to transform parts of the forlorn property into Nissequogue River State Park.

    The loss was DePaoli’s fourth State Senate defeat. He has also lost campaigns for Brookhaven Highway Superintendent and the Three Village school board. DePaoli is a Vietnam War veteran and former Suffolk County emergency services director.

    State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D.-Setauket) will not vacate the seat he has held since 1992. Englebright walloped opponent Bruce Bennet(R.-Centereach) in what was the most lopsided victory among the three races. Englebright, who won 68 percent of the vote, said he would make conserving Long Island’s pine barrens region and creating a web site to track school expenditures his priorities.

    These incumbents will grapple with difficult problems at Stony Brook in their upcoming terms. Gov David A. Paterson announced the state is facing a budget shortfall of over $4.6 billion.

    This statewide cut may translate to a $25 million budget cut at Stony Brook, said Dan Melucci, associate vice president for Strategy, Planning and Analysis, in a recent issue of The Statesman.

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