Current New York State Assemb. Dan Losquadro, R-Shoreham, is running on the Republican ticket for the vacant post of highway superintendent in the Town of Brookhaven. Current Councilwoman Kathy Walsh is running as an Independent who has been endorsed by the Democratic party.
And there's at least one more person who's attempting to throw his name into the ring: Michael DePaoli, a Vietnam veteran and a former director of emergency preparedness for Suffolk County, who is hoping to collect enough write-in votes to secure a win in the race.
In a recent interview with Patch, DePaoli said while seeking write-in votes is an uphill battle, he believes it's important to give the voters a choice beyond the traditional political parties. He said he was dissatisfied when the town's most recent highway superintendent, John Rouse, ran unopposed in the 2011 election cycle.
"I want to make sure the people know they have someone they can trust in the town government," he said.
DePaoli, a Lake Grove resident, has Master's degrees in human resources and in social sciences and education from Stony Brook University. He said he served as director of emergency preparedness for Suffolk County approximately between 1989 and 1991, and also said he has a teaching certificate in social studies and business education. In 2008, he was endorsed by the Democratic party to run against John Flanagan for the State Senate's 2nd District seat, and has previously attempted running for various political offices in Brookhaven and in Suffolk as a write-in candidate.
If elected, DePaoli said he would call for an independent audit of the highway department; institute emergency preparedness protocols; serve as a watchdog when it comes to employee efficiency and business with contractors; and better manage all town highway resources and maintenance.
If either Losquadro or Walsh wins on March 5, yet another special election would follow – what would be the third special election in the last several months, after Ed Romaine was elected to the post of supervisor in November and residents in the eastern-most areas of Brookhaven elected Al Krupski as a county legislator to replace Romaine on Jan. 15. A win for DePaoli would eliminate the need for another special election.
The vacancy was created when Rouse was voted in as a Suffolk County judge in November of 2012. Romaine set the special election for March 5 in accordance with a town law requiring a minimum of 60 days to a maximum of 90 days for a special election following a vacancy in office.
Marc Alessi, chairman of the Brookhaven Democratic Committee, said DePaoli had reached out to the party for consideration as a candidate but that the committee had already finished the screening process and announced Walsh as its endorsement.
When asked for comment, Jesse Garcia, chairman of the Brookhaven GOP, said: "The only thing we control is the message to our voters, and I feel very confident that with Dan Losquadro we have a transparent, efficient plan to bring the Brookhaven Highway Department into the future."
The winner of the highway superintendent race will serve the remaining year of Rouse's two-year term that began in January of 2012, meaning the seat will be up for grabs again in November.
Town of Brookhaven officials could not immediately confirm whether a write-in candidate has successfully won an election.