Former Legis. Rob Calarco joins NYS DEC

Looking forward to helping coastal resiliency

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Former Suffolk County Legis. Rob Calarco is now serving as the assistant regional director for the New York State Department of Conservation (Region 1) after seeking reelection to his sixth and final term, but losing the election to now-Legis. Rob Thorne in November 2021.

In his new role, he will be helping to facilitate projects coming through the NYS DEC in Region 1 (Nassau and Suffolk County). He officially started the job in the new year, now working out of an office on the Stony Brook University campus.

“This is a really great opportunity,” he said, looking forward to focusing on the environment. “A lot of important projects for the region’s future funnel through the DEC. I am continuing to work on those, just from a different perspective.”

As for continuing his work in a different capacity, he explained, he is excited to continue to work on the sewer expansion project in Patchogue Village, being that a $21 million grant, and more recent $7.6 million grant, were award to the village by the NYS DEC.

“I will be helping to facilitate really important work dealing with climate change and coastal resiliency,” he said, proud of his new role. “Our region needs these projects to remain sustainable.”

“Rob brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team that will bolster our ability to meet DEC’s mission at a critical moment for environmental protection in New York State and the nation,” DEC Region 1 acting director Cathy Haas said.

He also looks forward to helping local municipalities understand their grant opportunities when federal infrastructure money becomes available.

“I want to make sure local municipalities take advantage of that,” he added.

During his time as legislator, he is most proud of the Carnegie Library’s orchestrated move from Lake Street to a county parcel of land, and rebuilding the Waverly Avenue spur in Patchogue Village. In Medford, he helped gain funding for the creation of the bandshell at Medford Memorial Park, which is the new home to the summer concert series. In North Patchogue, he helped restore Canaan Lake with additional preserved parkland for public access.

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.

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. He was also elected in a bipartisan vote to become deputy presiding officer and presiding officer.
He then spent over 14 years working in Suffolk County government. He and his wife, Laura, have three children and continue to live in Patchogue Village.

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