Endorsements continue to define Basile-Skoufis state Senate race
By Bob Quinn
The candidates to replace state Sen. William J. Larkin Jr. continue to attract endorsements from a who’s who of local elected officials.
In recent days, Republican Tom Basile welcomed endorsement from Village of Woodbury Mayor Michael Queenan and Orange County Legislator John S. Vero.
Meanwhile, Democrat James Skoufis received backing from both Democratic and Republican elected officials across the 39th state senate district. In Woodbury, Deputy Mayor Tim Egan was joined by Supervisor Frank Palermo, Deputy Supervisor Jackie Hernandez, Councilman Bob Hunter, and Trustee Neil Crouse; Monroe Councilwoman Mary Bingham has also thrown her support behind Skoufis. Skoufis also earned the backing of the New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
Both camps made similar announcements about endorsements last week.
Larkin’s shadowThe election is important locally because Larkin has held sway in the district since 1991. Before his election to the state Senate, Larkin was a member of the state Assembly from 1979 through 1990.
The seat also comes into play on the state level as both Republicans and Democrats seat to gain firm control over the state legislature’s upper house.
Skoufis is a three-term member of the state Assembly. Before that, the Democrat was a member of the Woodbury Town Board. Many believe he gave up a relatively safe re-election bid this year to pursue the Senate seat.
The 39th District includes Blooming Grove, Chester, Cornwall, Crawford, Highlands, Monroe, Montgomery, New Windsor, Newburgh and Woodbury in Orange County, the Ulster County towns of Plattekill and Marlborough and towns of Haverstraw and Stony Point in Rockland County.
Basile is a two-term member of the Stony Point Town Board who is running a well-heeled race where his first challenge was to get himself known. But judging by how quickly GOP leaders in Orange, Rockland and Ulster gave him their support, he is making himself quite well-known.
It doesn’t hurt that he has Larkin’s support as well.
In a press release issued by Larkin’s office, the senator shared credit with Basile for prompting the Palisades Interstate Parkway Commission to improve mobile coverage in the areas of Harriman State Park, along the Palisades Interstate Parkway and Route 6 in southern Orange and northern Rockland counties.
“Having adequate cell coverage, especially on roads that are so frequently traveled is important for public safety. My office continues to work with Councilman Basile in partnership with the Parks Commission and other agencies to advance this public-private partnership,” Larkin said in the press release. “Working together we will be able to ensure Hudson Valley motorists and residents are provided with appropriate cell phone service wherever they travel.”
SupportHere’s how people expressed their support for the candidate:
• Woodbury Supervisor Frank Palermo: “As a local resident himself as well as our Assemblyman, James has always prioritized the needs of his neighbors in Monroe-Woodbury. From state funding to local legislation to being the most visible state elected official anyone could ask for, James has been there for us in the Assembly and will continue to be our champion in the Senate.”
• Monroe Councilwoman Mary Bingham: “Even though his Assembly District did not include Monroe, James has always looked out for us because Monroe-Woodbury is his home. He has always put our community first which is why he has broad support from so many local residents of all parties. From working with his neighbors to help Hurricane Irene victims to delivering our fair share from Albany, we can always count on James to look out for our interests.”
• PEF President Wayne Spence: “Assemblyman Skoufis has dedicated his entire public service career to helping working families, ensuring our children receive a quality education and fighting for better wages and improved healthcare for all New Yorkers. At a time when anti-union forces are ramping up efforts to tear us down, we know Assemblyman Skoufis will have our backs in the New York State Senate.”
• Woodbury Mayor Michael Queenan: “Tom Basile’s experience at the state, local and national level, as well as his work in the private sector has prepared him to be a staunch advocate for our community. He understands the challenges we face and will work with local governments to ensure sustainable growth that’s in keeping with our local vision.”
• Legislator John S. Vero: “Tom Basile has a plan that will encourage our local governments to be pro-active in ensuring that development takes place in a sustainable manner. His foresight and willingness to put forward substantive proposals that assist our communities with important issues is why I’m proud to support Tom to be our Senator.”