Assemb. Charles Lavine and challenger face off to represent the 13th Assembly District, which encompasses Glen Cove, Sea Cliff, Glenwood Landing, Bayville and Old Bethpage, as well as residents in parts of Glen Head, Locust Valley, Mill Neck, Oyster Bay, Centre Island, Cold Spring Harbor, Syosset, Woodbury, Plainview, Bethpage, Farmingdale, Hicksville, Westbury/New Cassel, Jericho, East Hills, Greenvale, Roslyn, Roslyn Heights and Roslyn Harbor.
D - Lavine, the incumbent candidate, supports the MTA tax as a means to keep LIRR and bus rates down, consolidation of courts and prisons, the right of women to make their own reproductive choices, marriage equality and no-fault divorce. He is Chair of the Jewish Association.
R - Germino, an Iraq War veteran, is running on the Republican ticket for the Assembly's 13th District seat against Democratic incumbent Charles Lavine. If elected, Germino said he will call for a repeal on the MTA tax and help grow the economy by reducing the tax burden and excessive regulations placed on job creators—the private sector of the community.
Candidate Charles Lavine Robert Germino
Age 64 30
Residence Glen Cove Glen Cove
Political Party Democrat Republican
Family Married, two children Married
Lavine earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a J.D from New York Law School.
Germino is a Glen Cove High School graduate and he holds a Bachelor's degree in philosophy from Hofstra University.
Lavine has held the 13th Assembly District seat since 2004 and served was appointed as a member of the Glen Cove Planning Board in 2003 by Tom Suozzi. In 2003, Lavine was elected to the City Council. He previously practiced law, specializing in defense and criminal litigation.
Germino enlisted in the Marine Corps a year after the Sept. 11 attacks, shortly after his college graduation. He underwent training at Parris Island, an eastern region Marine recruit depot in South Carolina, which was followed by Officer Candidate School in Virginia in 2005, where he earned a second lieutenant ranking. He was deployed in Iraq for more than a year in 2007. In 2009, at the suggestion of Tom Suozzi, Germino joined Warriors to Work, a program aimed to help returning veterans find jobs. Through the program, Germino became the Special Assistant to the Chief Deputy County Executive.
Here is what each candidate has said on a campaign trail about a few key issues. Questions are in bold, and candidate responses are beneath them.
What, in your view, are the major issues in the 13th Assembly District?
Lavine - Among the major issues facing the 13th Assembly District, New York, and the United States is economic expansion. The way we will accomplish that in NYS is by employing at least four separate features.
- Nothing constructive can happen unless members of the legislature and the governor can deliver an on-time budget. That is because, as occurred this year, when there is a failure to deliver an on-time budget, every other major issue is relegated to the back burner.
- NYS must control spending. That's going to require making difficult decisions, a perfect example of which is the suggestion by Judge Judith Kaye, former chief judge on the state's highest court and someone who is universally respected. She has called for consolidating the state's 11 separate state court systems. This would bring about an immediate savings of one-half billion dollars.
- Our prison population is down by 25,000 people, less by nearly a third as compared to three years ago. We can save a lot of money by shutting down unused jails.
- Revising Medicaid spending. We have to seriously consider and implement recommendations made by Lieutenant Governor Ravitch in a report issued on September 20. He calls for reorganizing the Medicaid system so that it is not decentralized as is presently structured; he further calls for a NYS director of Medicaid, a move that has the potential to save New York multiple billions of dollars.
Germino - The economy is the major issue, specifically, people need jobs. They also want tax relief. They need affordable housing. In order to get these we have to look at the way Albany is managing our local economy. They've placed an MTA payroll tax on local businesses, municipalities and school districts in the whole metropolitan area. This tax harms our area and is not placed on the communities of upstate NY. I'm calling for a repeal of the MTA payroll tax. In its place, I'm supporting a freeze of MTA wages and also reform of MTA pensions.
Where do you differ with your opponent?
Lavine - I neither have nor want Tea Party support. I support human rights, including the right of women to make their own reproductive choices. I support marriage equality and no-fault divorce. I believe that government has a role in providing public education, health care and public transportation. This leads us to the MTA. My opponent would have allowed the complete failure of public transportation in this area by refusing to acknowledge that the MTA, including the LIRR and Nassau Bus, faced a budget crisis that would have been devastating for our community. He would have voted not to provide the essential funding to maintain the railroad and Nassau Bus. The railroad, because of the faltering economy, was running a deficit of an astounding 20 percent. To survive without state help, LIRR fares would have gone up 50 percent or more. Railroad service would have been cut drastically. With a reduction of rail service, the values of our homes and businesses would have rapidly depreciated. And with a substantial increase in fares, many of our friends, neighbors and family members would have lost their jobs because they would no longer have been able to afford to get to work.
Germino - My opponent supports the MTA payroll tax. He was the only non-NYC representative who sponsored and voted for the MTA tax legislation.
I also differ from him in that I think we need to help grow the economy by reducing the tax burden and excessive regulations placed on job creators—the private sector of our community. He was one of three assembly members from LI who received a zero percent job growth rating by the Business Council of New York State and he's publicly stated that he wears it as a badge of honor. He stated this at the News 12 debate we had both participated in.
Where do you agree with your opponent?
Lavine - We both agree that America needs a strong military.
Germino - I think we agree that we have to pass a property tax cap and provide mandate relief for school districts and local governments so that we do not receive state mandates without state funding to meet those mandates.