Thomas E. Murray III: Democrat
Thomas Murray, a 2005 Sayville High School graduate, said his hometown is one of the reasons he’s running for public office. However, it’s not his first time. He actually was elected to the Sayville Library Board and served until he entered law school.
“I wanted to be more involved with the community,” Murray noted, adding that he has also been active in a number of local organizations including the Sayville Civic Association. Now he wants to take that desire a step further. “I want to advocate for my community,” he said.
Murray said he’s anxious to get to Albany to tackle some of the issues troubling local residents, which he’s heard on the campaign trail. One of them is to make sure Long Island gets their fair share of state funding. “We pay more in taxes than we get back,” he said.
Another issue of concern that he can identify with is looking into fixing the Oakdale Merge. He said the dysfunctional roadway has gone far too long without finding a solution to the problem, even though there have been many studies done on how to approach it. “We need more than just studies,” he said. “People suffer through it every day. It shouldn’t be that way.”
The opioid crisis on Long Island is taking a toll on families, and Murray said if elected he’d work to get the funding to provide more Narcan training programs, a drug that has been proven to reverse potentially lethal overdoses. And he’d also like to see more rehabilitation beds on Long Island for drug abusers.
As an environmental lawyer, Murray said he is very concerned about the quality of Long Island water. One of the issues that he said should be addressed is the need for sewers since many areas in the 7th District still do not have them. “We needed to already have the sewers in place. It’s only getting worse,” he remarked. In addition to working toward getting funding for sewers, Murray said he’d tackle pollution from all angles, which includes banning high-nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides. He’s also in favor of planting more indigenous trees that help to filter some of the pollution. “They serve a purpose,” he said.
The candidate wants to encourage the Department of Environmental Conservation to enforce stricter standards and allow more money for the cleanup of imperiled soil and waterways. And he’d like to see even greener infrastructure on Long Island, which “is one of the fastest-growing industries in the county,” he said.
He is not in favor of mega-developments on Long Island and has been an outspoken critic of the proposed Island Hills project in Sayville. “It doesn’t fit the area,” he said. “We need to be smart about development.”
Murray said he is not in favor of the Common Core. “Education should be local,” he noted. “Leave [education] up to the teachers and let them do their job.”
He is a proponent of welcoming in immigrant families to the area. “We need to treat everyone with respect and dignity and welcome them with open arms,” he said.
It is for that reason he believes immigrants should be given driver’s licenses so they can hold jobs and be safer drivers.
“We need to understand that these people are not our enemies. They are our neighbors,” he added.
Murray is in favor of the strict New York gun control laws already in place and supports the Red Flag bill that’s currently being debated, although it did pass in the Assembly. The bill would allow law enforcement, teachers, school administrators and families to petition the court to issue temporary removal of guns from anyone that the court has deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.
“There’s lot that needs to get done and I want to start working on it,” he said.
Murray and his wife, Caitlin, currently reside in Bayport and are awaiting the arrival of their first child, a daughter, this January.
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