A former assistant city supervisor from Brookhaven is ready to take on Congress.
At the start of the new year, Anthony Figliola (R-East Setauket) announced his intention to represent New York’s 1st congressional district. The seat is currently held by U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) who announced in 2021 that he would not run for Congress and would instead run for Governor of New York State.
Figliola, who is running for office for the first time, said it was something he had dreamed of for a while. When he heard the announcement that Zeldin had decided to take on the governorship race, he knew it was time to seize the opportunity to run for Congress. Although this is his first time running for office, the candidate said Congress is a perfect example of his ability to be a citizen legislator.
He said he prayed for the decision with his family and reached out to people he knew in the Republican Party. The husband and father of three said his agenda is family first and he is concerned about kitchen table issues that affect the middle class.
“I decided I wanted to get into this, and mainly because, especially with COVID, the way this country was going, it was really going downhill, and one of the most glaring issues for me is the impact on middle-class community,” he said.
The candidate said that while he knows the district has always been an expensive place to live, after COVID and state mandates and shutdowns, he has spoken to various small business owners and realized the difficulty they had in staying afloat and hiring.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of families who, with inflation at 7%, the highest since 1982, literally don’t have the salary to pay all their bills,” he said. “Some prices are up 50% over last year. Something’s got to give, and people need someone in Washington who’s going to fight for them and – whether they’re Republicans, Independents or Democrats – someone who understands how government works, but also with the same struggles as them. I was tired of sitting on the sidelines, and I want to be in it, and I want to play.
Robert Cornicelli of St. James also announced his intention to run on the Republican ticket for Congress. However, the Suffolk County Legislature is currently deciding on a redistricting, so whether or not Figliola should run in a primary depends on redistricting decisions.
The East Setauket resident said he realized he had big shoes to fill in Congress if he were to win and that he would work to not lose Zeldin’s legacy of “fighting for the workers of this district”.
Figliola said taxes, inflation and gas prices are at the forefront of his mind as he runs for office. Regarding gas prices, he said he believed in opening up oil refineries so that the United States could export oil to other countries and, in turn, strengthen the American economy and bring down prices at the pump and inflation in general.
“We are now beholden to foreign governments and foreign conglomerates to tell us what the cost of gas should be,” he said. “We must stop bowing down to our enemies.”
Figliola said if elected he would work to help grow the local economy, while preserving the environment, in particular protecting the island’s drinking water. He believes his experience as executive vice president of a government relations and economic development firm, as well as his time as an assistant supervisor at Brookhaven, will be an asset.
“One of the things I’ve done in my career is I’ve worked a lot with sewers and installing sewers and building sewers,” he said. declared. “What I think is really important is that we’re working to find a way to drain more of Suffolk County into the 1st Congressional District because that’s going to do two things. This will help reduce harmful toxins, nitrogen and other elements that end up in our drinking water and streams. And second, it allows us to redevelop and reimagine many of our downtowns. »
He said he was also concerned about the current COVID mandates where he feels President Joe Biden (D) and Governor Kathy Hochul (D) are making decisions and not involving all branches of government. While at the start of the pandemic, former Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) was given emergency powers, the current governor does not have the same authority. One example he said is the mandatory vaccinations and reminders from Hochul which he said were just edicts.
“There are no checks and balances,” he said. “There’s been no debate. There’s no discussion of the question, of the science, of who this is going to impact. It’s just a day that Biden or Governor Hochul says that that’s how it’s gonna be, and if you don’t follow through, you’re gonna lose everything you know. And that’s it, and I’m not okay with that. I’m gonna fight passionately for people’s individual freedoms and for their freedoms.