Who Is Lou Puliafito? Besides the likely successor to Rebecca Seawright in New York’s 76th Assembly District, who the heck is this guy?
By David Stone
A New York Post article describes Lou Puliafito as a “New York City doorman,” but that misses the point. A proud union man, Puliafito’s working life includes a long stint in Information Technology and a community television show.
And he’s a Republican of recent vintage, which accounts for the unusual pairing with “union man.”
Flexibility may be his strongest suit.
Who Is Lou Puliafito?
On an October morning in 2018, the candidate arrived at the Roosevelt Island subway station with Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa. Sliwa was also leading the Reform Party, and Puliafito was their candidate.
Then, as now, he challenged incumbent Rebecca Seawright, and he had no chance of winning. Getting his message across mattered more.
But now, with Seawright blocked from the ballot because of election law miscues, Puliafito has an excellent chance of winning the right to go to Albany. If he makes that trip, he’ll represent the Upper East Side, including Roosevelt Island.
““I’m tired. I’ve had enough. We need real reform,” he says, echoing a common sentiment.
But what makes Lou Puliafito any different?
Because he’s an unknown quantity for most of us, I asked the candidate to tell us more about Lou Puliafito, the man. Here’s what he had to say.
First of all, he’s a family man and a New York native. He and his wife grew up in Yorkville, although they never met until they were adults. Their mothers played bingo together at St. Monica’s but never made the connection.
He and his wife have been married nearly 39 years, now.
And speaking of being a family man, his dive into politics started when his son “told me that I needed to go out and have other people hear my views to see if they were good.”
Time spent as a census field operations supervisor gave that shove some direction.
“During 2010 census, I made friends with a Manhattan Neighborhood Network producer,” Puliafito recalls.
That led to Decent Life, a show he’s hosted since 2011.
Recent Clip: Lou Puliafito on Hudson Power Broker
“One of my guests was a reform party candidate. So, the following year I ran as Reform candidate.”
And as possibly the most fortuitous move of all time, Puliafito moved over to the Republican side, just this year.
Today, as the Post pointed out, Lou Puliafito is a doorman, but that’s by night. And it’s far from the full story.
At least as importantly, he commits his days to looking after his four grandchildren, ages 10, 3, 18 months and 6 months. That enables their parents to pursue their careers.
At the same time, his wife is a full time caregiver for her own mother in their home.
Family values permeate his life.
Way back when, Puliafito graduated LaGuardia Community College with an AAS in computer science and a 3.95 GPA.
Although he interned with the NYPD and IBM, his big break came at Merrill Lynch where he landed a job in the mailroom.
“I developed a PC based system for charging back departmental mailing costs and learned all facets of development.”
After moving on as a PC programmer at Peat Marwick, Puliafito made his major mark in IT over 20 years at New York Life.
“I went from staff to Management at NYL, working in Corporate Financial and Corporate Information and as lead for the NYL Foundation.”
He developed an electronic signature system and an imaging system to store and approve financial records. He oversaw PC front end to company-wide applications.
But he says, “My major value to the company was my network of people and resolving problems,’ both talents that play well in politics and government.
Lou Puliafito, Politician
We asked him how New York recovers from the ravages of the pandemic.
“It all starts with the budget,” he said. “Cut waste and corruption. A 10% cut means approximately $17 billion in savings.
“Support small businesses,” he adds, “and people. No cuts in core services”
If elected, Puliafito would become a member of an almost certain Republican minority. How would he manage to get things done for the district?
“I believe that I will be able to approach both sides because my views will build a coalition. I believe politicians on both sides are afraid to go against their party. Hopefully, I can be the focal point to facilitate bi-partisan legislation.”
That would be a welcome relief.
Lou Puliafito lists these as projects he’ll pursue in Albany:
- Protect seniors and children
- Climate change
- Getting rid of dark money in politics
On a practical level, I asked what strengths he brings with him into office.
- Leadership through empowerment and empathy
- Not afraid to speak my mind
- Problem-solving and streamlining operations
- Management and Budget skills
- Meeting deadlines
So, there you have an introduction to Lou Puliafito, the likely next New York State assembly member for the 76th.
He comes off as a lot like a lot of good people we know, and whether he wins or not, we wish him well, going forward.