(The Center Square) – The winner in New York’s Second Congressional District election next month will fill an open seat as U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-Seaford, will retire at the end of this term.
A pair of experienced politicians are vying for the post. State Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino, R-Sayville, has served parts of Suffolk County in Albany since 2013, and Democrat Jackie Gordon served 13 years on the Babylon Town Council until earlier this year. In addition, mechanical design engineer Harry Burger is running for the Green Party.
The district is considered Democratic majority but King, a 28-year congressional veteran, has represented it since 2013. Both the Cook Political Report and Real Clear Politics rate the race as a toss-up, while FiveThirtyEight.com gives a slight edge to Gordon.
Tax reform is one of the key issues in the district that covers parts of Suffolk and Nassau counties.
For Garbarino, one of his priorities would be to strike down the limits on state and local tax deductions for federal taxes, better known as SALT. That $10,000 cap was a key piece of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by a Republican-led Congress in 2017.
“Long Islanders are already burdened with some of the highest property taxes in the country,” tweeted Garbarino. “I will fight to repeal the cap in Congress alongside my fellow Long Island representatives, both Democrats and Republicans.”
On her website, Gordon says she seeks reforms that will lessen the burden on the middle class while ensuring top earners “pay their fair share.”
“Career politicians in Washington are giving tax breaks to the wealthy donors and corporate special interests that fund their campaigns and adding nearly $2 trillion to our national debt to pay for it,” she said.
The candidates are also campaigning on law enforcement issues.
Garbarino, a lawyer, has attacked his opponent, who served in the military for nearly 30 years, for not supporting local police. Earlier this month, he tweeted an excerpt of a Washington Free Beacon article that claimed a Gordon senior staffer shared social media posts encouraging violent demonstrations.
He also has the support of the New York City Police Benevolent Association, the union representing more than 50,000 active and retired NYPD officers.
On Sunday’s News 12 Power and Politics, Gordon defended herself, noting 27 of her 29 years were in military policing. She said she’s spent her adult life standing up for law enforcement, but added there’s needs to be a better dialogue between community members and law enforcement. She also supports requiring body cameras and cultural training for officers.
Gordon said her military experience taught her assault weapons do not need to be in neighborhoods. She supports universal background checks and red flag laws that can allow police or family members to seek a court order taking away weapons from individuals considered a danger to themselves or others.
While both Gordon and Garbarino have said they oppose defunding the police, Burger on his website said it’s needed as more funding must go toward social workers and community advocates.
“Most car accident reports don’t need a person with a gun & an itchy trigger finger on the scene to take photos & fill out paperwork,” Burger said.