After a combined total of seven years serving as NYS assemblyman in the 3rd District, Assemb. Dean Murray (R,C,I,Ref-East Patchogue) has decided to run for Sen. Tom Croci’s (R-Sayville) vacated seat. Croci decided to re-enter the Navy and
will not be seeking re-election.
After working on local political campaigns, Murray was elected to the state Assembly in February 2010 and re-elected in November 2010. He took office again in 2014 after a two-year absence. He has since served on several chamber of commerce chapters throughout Suffolk County, worked with Patchogue-Medford Youth and Community Services, and has served as a member of the Focus East Patchogue Civic Organization.
Murray, 54, currently lives in East Patchogue with his wife, Amy and two dogs. Together they have one adult son living in Maryland with their 2-year-old grandson. Murray grew up in Maryland, working in radio and television news, and moved to the area about 25 years ago to own and run his own advertising business. D&S Advertising now publishes small specialty publications across Long Island, employing about a dozen people.
“As a small business owner, there was a push to get into politics. I saw how difficult it was and that the government didn’t understand the impact mandates had,” he said as to why he originally ran for office. “As a business owner, I feel it gives you a greater understanding when spending taxpayer money. It really makes you think fiscally harder.”
He said by supporting local businesses, they can expand into more opportunities for the community, allowing for job opportunities and, ultimately, preventing the next generation from leaving.
“We lead the nation in out-migration. The tax burden is so high, but if we reverse that trend and keep people here, it can be spread out,” he added.
He launched his campaign for Senate in May at the Suffolk GOP convention. Suffolk County Republicans tapped both Murray and Assemb. Andrew Garbarino (R,C,I,Ref-Sayville) for the Senate seat, but ultimately avoided a primary. November’s race will be key for Republicans, who hope to retain a majority in the state Senate. But even if Dems take control of the Senate, Murray says his experience in the minority conference in the state Assembly has given him invaluable experience working across party lines.
“The issues are generally the same from Assembly to Senate, but on a much larger level,” he said.
If elected, Murray will have expanded his service area to Islip below Montauk Highway, Brentwood, Hauppauge and Islandia, and as far east as Shirley and Mastic Beach with parts of Ronkonkoma to the north.
As for taking over Croci’s seat, he said they have worked together and have carried a lot of the same bills, including those preventing NYS from becoming a sanctuary state and his pending sex offender legislation. A few things he hopes to focus on, should he be elected, are childcare and continuing to push the sex offender legislation.
As for his sex offender bill, he said he has been working diligently for six years to have it passed in the Assembly, but is has been stuck in committee. His “dream” bill is to both set residency restrictions and lengthen the amount of time level one offenders are on the registry — from 20 to 30 years — but his “compromise” bill is to solely pass tighter residency restrictions.
“The bill would return the power to the counties to set reasonable restrictions as to where a convicted sex offender can reside,” he said. “I will continue to push that and makes sure it still moves through the Senate.”
He also looks to continue the push against Common Core and the annual teacher performance reviews, coupling state tests with performance reviews.
“Reviews based on test scores are ridiculous. We are stifling teacher creativity and basing them on test scores,” he said. “I will continue to push against Common Core and the one-size-fits-all method.”
As for the Patchogue, Medford, Bellport and Shirley areas, he said he would continue to bring state money back.
“If we elected Democrats to the Senate, Long Island will suffer greatly,” he said, mentioning the left movement and a potential shift in city control of educational funding. “If that happens, we will be crushed with school taxes.”
Murray also referenced helping pass the I-STOP (Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing), an online database for tracking painkiller prescriptions, as one of his top accomplishments, as well as his bill allowing fantasy sports to legally operate in NYS. The I-Stop law was hailed as the toughest in the nation when it went into effect in 2016. He also mentioned the ugliness of campaigns as being “frustrating” and said that despite allegations, he has supported common sense gun laws including those which would keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
“Of course, I support common sense gun bills. I voted for five of them. I just refuse to vote for omnibus bills,” he explained. “I am for taking guns away from domestic abusers, offenders and the mentally ill, but I will also fight with my very last breath to keep the Second Amendment for law-abiding citizens.”
Murray has since been walking door to door and attending community forums. He said it is important for constituents to get out and vote and to help keep the Senate in Republican control.
“It’s not a partisan thing, it’s a need for balance in government,” he said, referencing the Democratic control over the Assembly. “One party rule isn’t a good thing. We need checks and balances in order to keep our Long Island suburban way of life.”
As to why voters should vote for him, Murray said he has spent seven years in the Assembly representing the people and fighting for their needs.
“I have given my heart and soul into my district because I love what I do and I want to continue to represent and fight for them,” he added.
Murray will face off against current Suffolk County Legis. Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood) in November’s race.