To celebrate National Reading Month, Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi visited Connetquot Elementary School on March 9 to read a book to the fifth-graders in Robert Chiarelli’s class.
“I love reading, and I love kids,” said Cilmi, explaining why visiting classrooms to share books with students is so meaningful to him.
Cilmi chose “Peppe the Lamplighter” by Elisa Bartone, a story set in New York City’s Little Italy tenements in the early 1900s , and described how it moved him and resonated with his family’s Italian cultural background. The rapt students definitely identified with the protagonist and his efforts to gain his family’s approval while discovering the importance of every person’s job.
After the tale was told, Cilmi took questions from the students, describing what a legislator does, how the Suffolk County legislature meets and votes, and the concept of term limits. Having won reelection to his second term last fall, Cilmi can serve for a total of six two-year terms.
Asked what he enjoys most about his job, the Bay Shore resident and owner of CTL Printing & Media in Islip simply stated, “I love helping people.” He described how residents contact him to solve their problems. His least favorite element of being a politician? “Raising campaign funds” was his quick response.
Several of the fifth-graders asked if he would consider running for president, but Cilmi dismissed the idea for the moment, instead noting that he might eventually want to be a congressman so that he could weigh in on the many national issues he mulls over frequently.