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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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    Political Panel Discusses Long Island Politics and Internships

    A handful of political leaders were brought together by a former Stony Brook student on Mar. 26 to discuss politics on Long Island, and how newcomers can break into the business.

    James Klurfeld, a Stony Brook University journalism professor and experienced panel discussion mediator, conducted the discussion. He began the panel by asking how and why Long Island politics have changed over the past 40 years.

    Currently, Democrats hold the majority seat on Long Island, which raised questions as to why such a change occurred. Brian Beedenbender, a Suffolk County legislator and democrat, claimed the cause to be the term limit law in 2005, that opened an opportunity for the Democratic Party to take over.

    However, Beedenbender says it is only a matter of time before the tables turn and the Republican Party is in the majority.

    It may be some time before the table does turn, though. A special election held on Mar. 31 showed that Long Islanders want to keep Democrats in power, by electing Democrat Mark Lesko for Brookhaven Town Supervisor. The political newcomer’s unexpected win allows the Democratic Party to stay in power.

    As for Stony Brook students who are newcomers that hope to break into the business, the unanimous response was to participate in an internship. By taking an internship, students learn the ropes and are able to network. “Motivation and good work ethic makes an impression,” Alan Schneider, director of Suffolk County Personnel, said. Schneider suggests working on a campaign.

    After the panel discussion, each panelist joined in a question and answer session. Stony Brook student Parker Ince thought the panel discussion helped open the doors for students. “The elected officials were making themselves accessible to everyone,” Ince said. “I thought it was productive — [the panelists] didn’t dodge any questions and gave students a sense of direction in politics.”

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