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Sep 5, 2012 10:07 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Suffolk County Employees Union Endorsement Goes To Altschuler Over Bishop

Sep 5, 2012 11:13 AM

The Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees has endorsed Republican Randy Altschuler over Democratic U.S. Representative Tim Bishop in this year’s race in the 1st Congressional District.

The union endorsed Mr. Altschuler in part because of his stance against Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s plan to sell the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility in Yaphank to a private buyer for $23 million. The union represents more than 8,500 full- and part-time municipal employees working for Suffolk County.

“Randy Altschuler portrays the signs of a true leader—someone who is prepared to step up and fight, even when the odds are against him,” Daniel P. Farrell, the president of the union, said in a prepared statement. “When pressed by our union this year to take a more public position against the sale of the infirmary by the county executive from his own party, Randy’s opponent would not.”

The move marks the second time this year Mr. Altschuler snatched an endorsement that belonged to the longtime incumbent two years ago. The Independence Party—representing more than 7,000 votes that buoyed Mr. Bishop to victory in a nail-biting race he won against Mr. Altschuler in 2010 by 600 votes—also endorsed Mr. Altschuler this year.

Jon Schneider, the current deputy county executive for intergovernmental affairs and former district director for Mr. Bishop, said the federal government doesn’t have anything to do with the nursing home issue. He pointed out that Mr. Bellone “inherited a deficit that was north of $500 million,” and that the county lost $14 million on the facility this year. He also pointed out that all the employees at the facility will be offered jobs if it’s sold.

“Selling this home is a critical part of balancing the budget this year,” Mr. Schneider said.

He added that he doesn’t think the endorsement will negatively impact Mr. Bishop at the polls in November. “I think this should have a good impact for Congressman Bishop, because what voters can see is that Tim Bishop is someone who’s got character and is essentially someone willing to put Suffolk County taxpayers above his own self-interest,” he said. “And that’s why the guy gets reelected year after year.”

Robert Pierce, the communications director for Mr. Bishop’s campaign, echoed Mr. Schneider’s sentiments. “For the most part, his position on it is this isn’t a federal issue,” he said. “I guess my question is why on earth is Randy Altschuler getting involved in this issue if isn’t solely essentially to pander for an endorsement?”

Meanwhile, Mr. Altschuler said the endorsement was “critically important” to his campaign, according to a statement he issued this week.

“I am honored to have received this endorsement,” he said. “If I am fortunate enough to win in November, I will work with common sense people in both parties to revitalize our economy and bring good jobs back to Long Island.”

In a letter to local media, Mr. Bellone denounced the union’s endorsement of Mr. Altschuler and touted Mr. Bishop’s pro-labor background. He was also critical of Mr. Altschuler’s political motivations in accepting the endorsement.

“Randy Altschuler is a self-proclaimed Tea Party Conservative,” he stated. “… Altschuler tells Tea Party groups he wants to cut the size of government, and then tells public sector unions he opposes efforts to reduce the size of THEIR government. He claims to respect local government, yet when his own self-interest is at stake, inserts his opinion into a non-federal issue.”

But the union commended Mr. Altschuler for his stance.

“This endorsement is not about party or politics, but instead it is about protecting jobs,” Mr. Farrell said. “Randy stepped up when many others would not to say no to the sale of the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility, and he continues to fight to protect Suffolk’s taxpayers from a bad deal.”

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The fact is that Republicans have consistently worked against organized labor, while Democrats have consistently worked with organized labor. For a union to endorse Republican Randy Altschuler, who buys into all the regular GOP anti-union stuff (like the Walker Wisconsin coup), just because of his position on the Foley nursing home, makes no sense.

Don't they know that under County Executive Steve Bellone's plan, any sale of the home will require the buyer to preserve their jobs? Don't ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Sep 5, 12 10:57 AM
Oh, give me a break, Capt'n Crunch! If Bishop had said keep it in public hands you would be the first to cry that he was in bed with the Unions! Randy is pandering to the unions just to get an endorsement from them. If elected, he would destroy the very same people. Short-sighted move by the union and cheap ploy by the outsourcer.

If capt'n loony had any integrity he would attack Randy for siding with the unions.
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Sep 5, 12 1:44 PM
2 members liked this comment
"If capt'n loony had any integrity he would attack Randy for siding with the unions."

Blind to the irony of your own hypocrisy, where's your praise for Altschuler siding with the unions?
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Sep 5, 12 1:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
All organized labor has done is raise prices. The era of the sweatshop is gone and so should be unions.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Sep 5, 12 3:29 PM
2 members liked this comment
If the Democrats said raise taxes to 90 % Turkey Bridge would agree. What has Tim Bishop ever done in his life that has helped the East End? He was the person most responsible for destroying Southampton College. He likes doing political pay for play schemes. I am so disgusted by these career politicians that continue business as usual, and doing nothing for taxpayers.
Why don't voters look at Randy and see he is a self starter who had nothing growing up and made a fortune at a young age. ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 5, 12 5:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
As much as I hate to, I have to agree with TB on this. I can only assume that the new leadership of the union is so new to the process they will make mistakes like this, but this is a whopper.
Randy has absolutly NO impact, influence or anything to do with running the county.
Total foolishness on their part.
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Sep 5, 12 11:06 AM
4 members liked this comment
Congressman have always worked with local officials to act as a conduit between the Federal and local governments.

Soon to be ex-congressman Bishop put out a press release every time $2 of federal funding was directed to Suffolk Country.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Sep 5, 12 2:06 PM
Congressmen have impacts on Federal income tax collected by county union members, they have an impact on how county union members' tax dollars are spent (and misspent), they have an impact on Federal aid to local communities in the County where county union members live, they have an impact on the future Federal debt and deficit which impacts the local economy that impacts county union members, and on and on. Rather than foolishness the union shows good sense in endorsing the candidate whose positions, ...more
By hohum123 (91), springs on Sep 5, 12 8:07 PM
This is like PATCO ( remember them?) endorsing Ronald Reagan.
That would be Ronald Reagan the candidate, within no time, they met President Ronald Reagan. Who, with good cause, fired them.
Difference being, Reality and hohum, a congressperson will have NO influence on the nursing home being sold or not. Please don't try to twist this. You're not up to the task. The issue is the nrsing home, not income tax, not the federal budget, not Federal aid or anything else.
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Sep 8, 12 10:17 AM
Its very disappointing to see the Suffolk County Municipal Employees Union endorse Randy Altschuler. Don't forget that Mr. Altschuler out sourced over
15,000 jobs. The union should be ashamed of itself! What are they thinking?
They need to leadership!
By Jimion (129), Hampton Bays on Sep 5, 12 5:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
Any reputable organization, individual, Union etc. should not contribute to corrupt politicians. The Union is doing the right thing even if it's not for that reason. Tim has showed his true character and it's not good!
By kpjc (161), east quogue on Sep 5, 12 8:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
Mr. Altschuler created thousands of U.S. jobs. One of the companies that Altschuler created almost 1000 U.S. jobs and was a multinational company which of course means jobs in the U.S. as well as other countries --- like General Motors, Mobil Oil, McDonald's, Starbucks, etc. The outsourcing issue is the sum of Bishop's campaign. There is nothing else. No accomplishments, no ideas, nothing! The outsourcing issue is bogus and the local public sees right through it, just like the nation sees through ...more
By hohum123 (91), springs on Sep 5, 12 8:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
Desperate times call for desperate measures.Decisions made under such circumstances often turn out wrong. Randy would outsource his mother's job if he could make a buck.Don't expect an ounce of compassion from him.He'll be tied to the Koch brothers and doing their bidding
By TianaBob (256), S.Jamesport on Sep 6, 12 9:50 AM
Reminds me of the time AFSCME DC 37 in New York went for Rudy Guiliani over David Dinkens - Dinkens ticked off the union by having some minor layoffs and contracting out and giving the UFT a little more money. In the second faceoff between the candidates DC37 endorsed Rudy and this effectively denied Dinkens access to the union's phone banks - probably more of a hit than the loss of the endorsement itself. Rudy won - and immediately offered a severance agreement to union members, who did not sign ...more
By North of Highway (280), Westhampton Beach on Sep 6, 12 12:04 PM
Wow-Tim Bishop might as well give up now. For a democrat to lose a union endorsement is unheard of. This election is over.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 6, 12 12:27 PM
2 members liked this comment
Only a guy as dim as Tim could manage to self-destruct like this. Glad to see the folks are wising up to what a pariah he has been for all of us, no ideas, no leadership, no jobs, no ethics, all we ever hear from Tim is about 'outsourcing', when his own congressional voting record over the past 10 years has outsourced MILLIONS of U.S. JOBS!! I'll take Altschuler any day!
By shampton (30), southampton on Sep 12, 12 1:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
Tim Bishop needs to go. The East End needs jobs. Families are hurting out here.
By Leon789 (50), westhampton on Sep 12, 12 2:53 PM
the East End or the Far East? Randy is great at providing the latter - not so much at providing the first.

Please explain how Randy will bring jobs to the East End?
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 12, 12 3:11 PM
if randy is an outsourcer the Dim Wit Tim must be a INSOURSER
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Sep 13, 12 7:14 PM
That's not a word??
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Sep 14, 12 11:04 AM