Just shy of a month after winning re-election for a second two-year term representing the state’s 2nd Assembly District, Dan Losquadro announced this week that he is seeking the Republican nomination to run for Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent — a position left vacant by John Rouse, who was elected as a county court judge last month.
Losquadro, a resident of Shoreham who left a seat on the Suffolk County Legislature to run for a seat in the assembly in 2010, was screened by the Brookhaven Republican Party’s executive committee Monday night. He will be running against candidates like Suffolk County Legislator Tom Muratore but said he believes that, given his background growing up in a family in the construction and mechanic trades and recent experience in government, he’s the best candidate for a job he sees as more important than ever after Hurricane Sandy.
“The highway department plays such a significant role in one of the most fundamental services in town government,” he said. “And Brookhaven is one of the largest suburban townships in the nation.”
In the assembly, Losquadro helped rollback MTA payroll tax and pass pension reform, has been vocal about mandating that helicopters fly east over the water instead of cutting across North and South Fork neighborhoods and was key in keeping the North Fork separate from the South Fork in assembly districts.
Patch asked Losquadro more about this surprising move so soon after a successful Election 2012.
Patch: When did you first consider running for highway superintendent?
Losquadro: Any time before, during or immediately after the campaign, I had no intention of running for highway superintendent — I was entirely focused on the assembly. But after the election and seeing the aftermath of the storm, a lot of people started to call me up, constituents, leaders of different parties, all indicating their support for me if I were to run for this position. I can’t say I was ever interested in running a highway department, but when I sat down and thought about it and my own experience throughout my life — my construction and automotive experience combined with my government experience, examining budgets and the like — it’s almost like I’ve been training for this my whole life and I didn’t realize it. But I think it fits very well.
Patch: The average person who’s not embroiled in the political game day-to-day might view this as a big step backward … why would a state assemblyman want to give up that seat to run a highway department?
Losquadro: I don’t view it as a step back. The highway department plays such a significant role in one of the most fundamental services in town government — especially during and after a storm, to keep roadways passable, to work with power crews, to keep everyone safe. And Brookhaven is one of the largest suburban townships in the nation, with a half a million people, a $66 million budget and you’re responsible for 2,100 miles of roadway. The district is much larger that even a state assembly district, and Brookhaven provides great challenges, as it runs shore-to-shore. We’ll be involved in restoration efforts on both shores, and whoever wins the seat will have to hit the ground running without the luxury of a transition period.
Patch: You say part of the reason you chose to run is because of constituent support — but what about those who voted for you in Riverhead and on the North Fork? Don’t you think they’ll feel a bit abandoned if you run and win?
Losquadro: I certainly hope not. But I do want people to know that my passion for state issues has not changed. I left the county legislature to pursue the state assembly, because I thought I could do a good thing for that constituency, and I think I have left an important legacy in two short years on the state level. And if the party decides on someone else for highway superintendent, then I will continue to fight for the entire district, as I did when the assembly tried to split the North Fork in half and I got my fellow assemblyman to keep it together. That was the most important thing I did during the past two years.
Patch: So you don’t feel like you’re jumping ship too soon after being re-elected?
Losquadro: I know people are very surprised that I am pursuing this right after the election, but that is when all these calls came in and I have given it a lot of thought. It’s the nature of elected office, but it is very bittersweet, just like when I left the county. The highway position is an executive position, and if I win the seat, I will no longer be part of the legislative debate, something I enjoy so much. I really love those bigger issues and I truly believe that ideas matter.
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