Leads by example and holds himself accountable
Serving as a trustee and later the mayor of the Village of Brightwaters, Joe McDermott is now running for Suffolk County’s 11th Legislative District office on the Democratic ticket. McDermott ran in the same capacity in 2017 and lost to Republican incumbent Steve Flotteron.
McDermott said he made hard decisions as mayor of the village and that an upcoming election cycle never had an impact on those decisions. He said that he would maintain that philosophy if he wins the county seat.
“When I knock on doors,” McDermott said, “I knock on Republicans’, Conservatives’ [and] Democrats’ [doors] because my theory is when I win — because I’m in it to win it — I have to work for everyone the next day.”
On the topic of the opioid crisis, McDermott said that increased education for youth is the key.
“It is never too young to talk about stuff, especially with the internet,” he said. “We need to invest in the future, which is the young kids.”
McDermott suggested looking into a subject in schools dedicated to educating students about drugs and gangs — moreover, a life skills course.
“You are not getting rid of gangs all the way, but we can chip away,” he said, as well as thanking Suffolk County Police Department and the Police Benevolent Association for their hard work in this regard.
McDermott also mentioned that addressing mental health issues is the core of the opioid epidemic, noting that 22 veterans die by suicide each day.
“It is the people who didn’t help them’s fault — the people who saw the signs and ignored it because they are embarrassed to talk about it,” he said. “We need to focus more on the stuff that we don’t talk about.”
Moving into traffic concerns, McDermott said he takes issue with the current red-light camera program instituted in the county, citing the statistic that rear-end collisions at intersections have increased 80 percent. However, McDermott said that trashing the program completely would be a mistake; although the program is a good idea, it needs to be reworked, noting that he has become subject to tickets from the cameras, too.
“I wasn’t a victim,” he said. “I got caught doing something illegal. And yes, it has changed my behavior pattern.”
Considering the condition of the roads, McDermott said that serious infrastructure projects are called for across the district. As mayor of the village, McDermott said he took the village to bond twice, once for $1.6 million, and received a AA rating, which directly affected the roadways within Brightwaters.