Suffolk County Republican Committee chairman Jesse Garcia recently announced Jim Mazzarella as the Republican and Conservative candidate for Suffolk’s 3rd Legislative District to fill Legis. Rudy Sunderman’s vacated seat.
“As a labor leader, community activist and family man, I believe I have the experience and record to fight on behalf of Suffolk’s middle-class families,” Mazzarella said at his kickoff press conference. “I’m committed to using my skills and experience to tackle the county’s finances, jump-start our economy, revitalize our downtowns, control taxes, successfully direct to completion critical infrastructure projects such as sewers, and keep our neighborhoods safe for our families.”
Mazzarella, 55, is a lifelong resident of the community and 1984 William Floyd High School graduate. Mazzarella served on the Board of Trustees of the Crystal Beach Property Owner’s Association for 15 years, and for a decade on the Mastic, Shirley Moriches Community Library, where he served as president from 2013-2018.
He has also been a member of the Rotary Club of Shirley and the Mastics since 1998 and a member of the Town of Brookhaven Board of Zoning Appeals in 2019 as well.
Mazzarella and his wife, Mary, also a William Floyd graduate, have two children: a son and soon-to-be 2021 graduate of William Floyd; and a daughter, a 2018 grad. Together, they live in Moriches. Professionally, he is a 32-year union leader and Maritime College graduate.
Though he has never run for a political position before, he said he has always been involved and enjoys the work he done in his community.
“My work on the zoning board has helped shape me into the community leader that I have become,” he said. “I now have the ability to go outside and help others who might need someone to speak out for them as a strong voice for the 3rd legislative district.”
If elected, he promises an open-door policy. His top three priorities are:
1. Forge River Sewer District
He said, “[The Forge River Sewer District] is the key to a cleaner environment and more vibrant economy in the tri-hamlet community. This project is to be funded by $190 million of federal funds, allocated after Superstorm Sandy. While this project is tied to a sewer extension in Patchogue and another project in Carl’s Path, this is the most important project of the three in terms of ecological value.
Moreover, while we discuss this project as getting completed, the county is only looking at Phases 1 and 2 at the moment. We need to commit to Phases 3 and 4 to hook up the vast majority of houses down to Mastic Beach, and the business district along Neighborhood Road.
“As the legislator the 3rd district, I am going to be looking to utilize some of the almost $600 million the County of Suffolk has gotten from the federal government. We need to invest in infrastructure.
“This work isn’t only for the tri-hamlet community, but also for the greater Bellport area. We need to commit ourselves to bringing sewers to North Bellport and also to Bellport Village. The wonderful revitalization effects achieved by the Town of Brookhaven could be magnified if the county was a partner in terms of making sewer capacity available. The same goes for the village and the good work they have done.”
2. The fiscal condition of the county
“The legislators and county executive must have an honest bipartisan conversation with the taxpayers and each other on how to truly set the county on a fiscal plan for success. If it wasn’t for the federal bailouts of almost $600 million, the county would be awash in layoffs and further downgraded debt. There is absolutely no reason why Suffolk should have the abysmal bond rating it currently holds and people should understand that such a bond rating costs millions upon millions of dollars because it is essentially the difference between borrowing with an 800 credit score and a 600 credit score. Currently, the county is two notches above junk bond status.
“There needs to be a smart consolidation of government that will ensure the jobs of those in the county, but also eliminate the duplication between levels of government. Legislators are elected to represent their districts, but to also help run the County of Suffolk, and they must play a far more active role in the process and not on vanity projects or ideas if the county is going to be set on a course for a successful fiscal future. Red-light cameras, ridiculous fees and parks entrance charges only infuriate the people we represent and do not address the problem,” he continued.
3. The district’s severe flooding problem
He said, “The people of the South Shore deserve no less protection than anywhere else in this county. Therefore, they deserve the resources to protect their communities and the use of their properties. Mastic Beach needs the resources to protect itself from floods. This will take partnership with every level of government and a willingness by the county to play an active role in ensuring that the sewer funding hooks up those in high-ground water table areas. On the federal level, we must depend on our congressman and U.S. senators to bring home funding of significant scale to ensure that our local governments have the resources available to get the job done.”