Rob Calarco (D,I,WF) - Suffolk Legislator District 7
Suffolk County Legis. Rob Calarco, 40, is seeking re-election to his fifth term, running on the Democratic, Independent and Working Families Party lines.
Looking back on his time in government, with two more possible elections left — this one and another — before being term-limited, Calarco said he is most proud of moving the Health Center off East Main Street in East Patchogue, which will be completely renovated and occupied by NY Blood and Cancer, and the Carnegie Library’s orchestrated move from Lake Street to a county parcel of land.
Also in East Patchogue, he worked with the Industrial Development Agency and the local civic to develop a plan for the corridor, which was announced earlier this year. He is excited about the new proposal for the corner of Grove Avenue and Main Street, which should eventually provide affordable housing as well as some retail shops, and possibly partner with the Plaza Cinema and Media Arts Center to relocate back to their original location next to the proposed site, which is currently owned by Brookhaven Town.
“I really think these two projects are going to create a domino effect for the area,” he said of revitalizing East Patchogue.
He has also recently acquired for preservation the long-sought-after lot that once housed the Famiglia Motors car dealership, as well as three other lots in Blue Point and Patchogue.
As for Patchogue, he hopes to see the Waverly Avenue spur project break ground soon, as well as see through the parking garage planned for behind the county court on West Main Street, for which he has acquired just over $1.6 million.
Up in Medford, he said, he is on the cusp of breaking ground on the new bandshell at Medford Memorial Park, which will be the new home to the summer concert series next year. He has secured about $18,000 in downtown revitalization funds for that project over the past few years.
In North Patchogue at Canaan Lake, Calarco has also been working hard to return the lake to its glory. A machine is currently in the lake pulling up the lake bottom, which will eventually be dried and removed, for which he is waiting on DEC approval. During his most recent term, he initiated the Canaan Lake project to rid the waterway of invasive species.
“It has been challenging, but once we are done, we are going to have a beautiful lake for our residents with park access,” he promised.
Calarco said he is also proud to be part of the county’s overall efforts to clean up our local waterways. He said he has been focused on progressing the over $29.6 million for sewering south Patchogue. Once all is said and done, 500 homes in south Patchogue will be hooked up at no cost to the taxpayer.
In Blue Point, he has furthered the construction of a park at the old laundry property by securing $1 million in county funding and partnering with Sen. Monica Martinez for an additional $500,000 grant. Soon the lot, which will now be called Roe Park, will feature swings, a basketball court and access to the water stream.
Calarco was elected to office in November 2011. In his second term, he was voted in as majority leader, heading up 10 Democrats in the Legislature. Then in 2016, he was elected in a bipartisan vote to become deputy presiding officer.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from Dowling College, he went on to earn his master’s degree in public administration from SUNY Stony Brook at night while working full-time. He then spent over 14 years working in Suffolk County government. He and his wife Laura have three children and live in Patchogue Village.
While in office, he said, the county has operated without raising general-fund property taxes and lowered the county jail population with the lowest ever-recorded crime rates.
“That saves taxpayer money and creates a safer community with people who can become successful members of society,” he said.
If re-elected for another two-year term, he said he would continue to focus on protecting the environment and investing in the community. His ultimate plans are to see through his current projects like the opioid lawsuit, which is coming to a head. For now, you can find Calarco walking door to door campaigning. He says it’s the only way to hear what the people want.
“I think my record speaks for itself and, honestly, we have been doing a really good job for the residents of the district,” he said, explaining why he deserves your vote. “It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to represent my district.”
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