LONG ISLAND, NY — This November, Long Island residents will be hitting the polls to exercise their right to vote. While voters will be electing the president this Election Day, they will also be choosing their local representatives. In New York, state and federal races will also be on the ballot.
Democrat Ann Brancato, 78, of Massapequa is running for New York's 9th Assembly District. The seat is currently occupied by Republican Michael LiPetri.
The district covers parts of both Nassau and Suffolk counties, including South Farmingdale, Massapequa, portions of Fire Island and the Great South Bay area, Massapequa Park, West Babylon, Babylon, West Islip, and Brightwaters.
She received her BA from Marymount Manhattan College and attended medical school in Rome, Italy and New School for Social Research.
For the past 20 years she has worked as a healthcare/human services executive and president of a job development and recruitment agency for Ann Brancato & Associates. Before that she worked as vice president for external affairs and strategic planning for the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary between 1993 and 2000 as well as director of the division of external affairs for the International Center for the Disabled between 1985 and 1993.
She was also previously appointed to a New York City Community Planning Board.
Her husband, John Van Gorder, is a retired Air Force Colonel and attorney. Her son, Mark Brancato and her daughter, Jennifer Bailey, both practice law and her other son, Jason Brancato, practices medicine. In total, she has six grandchildren.
In anticipation of the election, Patch asked candidates in the contested races to answer questions about their campaigns and will be publishing candidate profiles as Election Day draws near.
Check out the full Q&A below:
Why are you seeking elective office?
All of my years of experience, in health and human resources, and in job development and employment, qualifies me to be able to find solutions for the problems affecting our community. These issues include the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment and addiction.
The single most pressing issue facing our nation/state/community is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
The single most pressing issue facing us is the serious division and conflict between people in communities which is preventing us from working together to solve some of the greatest problems facing us in recent history. Economic, social, religious and cultural polarization is fracturing us. Solving issues such as loss of jobs, taxes, the pandemic, drugs, crime, education, and the environment require an ability to work together and prosper. I would work closely with the media, government officials, community leaders and organizations to recapture the spirit of being an American. Putting aside the differences and hostilities which have arisen will enable us to attack our challenges and move on. Today we are stalled! I would refuse to politicize an issue. I am not defined by a singular political party.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
I have many years of experience in healthcare/education, job recruitment and effective problem solving strategies. I have a reputation for and have been recognized as someone who can reach consensus and get the job done.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.
The following represent some of the many platform issues more fully described on my website:
Lower healthcare costs by:
Increasing competition in the insurance industry regulating their profit margins and establish non-profit insurance companies.
Cutting costs of pharmaceuticals by permitting the sale of generic and brand name drugs from approved on-line Canadian pharmacies.
Decreasing medical malpractice insurance costs by establishing strict bench marks for claims.
- Raise the Medicaid threshold for the workers who cannot afford medical insurance.
- Enable elderly patients to stay at home rather than long-term nursing facilities.
- Develop an “army” of medical reservists and first responders who will be available through a database to respond to all major medical crises.
- During a medical crisis, provide services for non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease, cancers, etc.
Economy and COVID-19:
• Increase public works building projects, such as bridges and roadways, which would be funded by a financial “Trifecta” plan supported by unions, private industry and the State.
• Increase training and create an easily accessible job portal where all employers can post their available jobs.
• Establish a micro-lending program for those not eligible for small business loans.
• Develop a safe plan to keep businesses, transportation government entities operational by social distancing; rotating shifts, teleconferencing and available PPE.
• Develop community-wide stockpiles of nonperishable and emergency foods. Local governments can collaborate with grocery stores and restaurants designating them as fresh food distribution centers averting possible food shortages.
• Implement corporate tax reform and temporarily suspend or reduce some regulations to stimulate the economy, but not those which endanger the environment
• Demand the Federal government pay New York its fair share. New York paid $26.6 Billion more in taxes to Washington than it received back. New York receives only 90 cents on the dollar as compared to the national average of $1.21 a dollar!
Drugs and Alcohol Addiction:
• In 2018, 13,460 deaths from drug addiction in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Presently, 4,200 deaths from COVID-19 in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
• Guarantee affordable health coverage to all affected by drug and alcohol addiction.
• Train primary care physicians to identify signs of addiction
• Ensure medication as a treatment be available to all who need it, including Naloxone (also known as Narcan).
• Develop a Task Force of qualified experts to research the success rate of various treatments presently being offered to addicts. This has not been sufficiently investigated.
• Encourage non-pharmaceutical interventions for pain and insist insurance companies include them as a reimbursable item.
• Expand supervised injection sites for addicts to inject themselves in medically supervised locations to help them safely wean off drugs.
The most pressing environmental issue facing my District is the Northrup/Grumman-Navy Plume. I have an extensive review of this critical problem on my website. I have concluded that additional studies and research need to be further pursued and investigated:
• What is the cumulative effect of all the chemicals in Long Island water? What effect does it do they have on the body?
• What can we learn from Long Island’s companion animals and the illnesses they develop due to the water?
• If TCE is present in the water, further research should be conducted on the consequences/effects of chemical inhalants produced in showering and other aerosol products such as humidifiers and if so, under what circumstances?
• What is the decontamination mechanism the State plans on using and why will it take more than 100 years?
• Explore the four new mechanisms of decontamination identified on my website in a realistic and scalable way?
• Are there other methods of decontamination we can explore such as the use of naturally occurring bacteria with the ability to degrade TCE?
• Is a long-term plan to use New York City water a possible option?
I will prioritize bills and policies that address the humane treatment of animals as part of my central policy platform. This includes supporting legislative action such as:
• Closing existing puppy mills and the puppy mill loophole.
• Strict criminal penalties for animal cruelty.
• Protecting endangered species.
• Compassionate and humane conditions for farm animals.
• Tax deductions for veterinarian expenses as it is for human medical expenses.
• Ban wildlife killing contests in New York State, where the team that kills the most (or the heaviest) animals win. This practice is inhumane and should be banned and criminalized.
• Encourage legislation and trade bans with countries that have no regard for animal rights.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
First and foremost, I raised three wonderful successful children as a single parent.
I have over 30 years of experience in leadership positions in healthcare/human services and education. From the time I was a teenager, I assumed positions with great responsibility and by the time I was in my late 20’s, I was directing major programs involving the community and I was appointed to a NYC Community Planning Board. I am an entrepreneur and was President of job recruitment and consulting agency. I gained recognition in my work and was appointed to a White House Blue Ribbon Study Commission. I developed and implemented an “Alternative to Nursing Home for the Homebound Elderly” program which was written into The Congressional Record. Working with The Long Island Development Council and Long Island businesses, I developed a collision avoidance wheel chair for head injured patients.
The best advice ever shared with me was:
“God never closes a Door without opening a Window”
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I am goal oriented, hardworking, passionate and care about the issues our communities face. I am NOT a career politician. If elected, I would get the job done and then hand the position to the next elected official.