The Suffolk County Republican Caucus unanimously re-elected Legislator John M. Kennedy, Jr. as leader of the caucus at it’s first regularly scheduled meeting of the year.
Legislator Kennedy said, “I thank my colleagues for the opportunity to serve the Caucus as leader again this year. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Legislature and the County Executive as we tackle the myriad of challenges facing Suffolk County.”
The Caucus also announced the formation of two task forces indicative of Republican priorities for 2014.
The Republican Task Force on Budget & and Taxation, and The Republican Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Abuse, will be chaired by Legislator Thomas F. Barraga and Legislator Tom Cilmi respectively. The two commented on their respective task forces at a press conference tuesday afternoon.
Barraga said on the Task Force on Budget & Taxation — “The Task Force is looking for new ideas that are well thought out from beginning to end. We are looking for innovative recommendations that will generate new revenues for the County or approaches that will reduce current County expenses while allowing Suffolk County to continue to provide appropriate services to our residents. The Task Force wants to listen, learn and recommend but that can only be achieved with your active participation in the process of government.”
Cilmi had this to say on the Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Abuse — “We are spending tens of millions of dollars on substance abuse prevention and treatment, and on mental illness. Literally thousands of people are working hard to address these issues, yet it seems the problems keep getting worse. Whether it’s homelessness, crime, suicide, drug-related deaths, particularly associated with the heroin epidemic… the effects are far-reaching and painful, impacting families, impacting communities and our economy. The Task Force will seek to evaluate the effectiveness of existing programs on the whole and elicit suggestions on how to make improvements.”