Two state supreme court candidates are Lawrence High School graduates.
Gary Carlton, a Democrat, and Republican Christopher McGrath, were cross-endorsed for the judgeships by the respective Nassau County political committees. Carlton and McGrath will run unopposed in the Nov. 7 general election, for the 14-year terms, to succeed justices Gary Knobel and Jerome Murphy.
Carlton, 69, of Valley Stream, grew up in Cedarhurst, and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1972.
“I always thought that the education I received in District 15 was a quality education,” he said.
He stayed in the area, marrying his first wife, Debby Rosenhein at Carltun in Eisenhower Park, in East Meadow in 1980. After Rosenhein’s died in 2007, Carlton married, Patty Ziplow at the Lawrence Country Club in 2015.
After a 39-year-long career in private practice, including a stint at the co-owned personal injury law firm, Goldberg & Carlton in Rockville Centre, the Democratic nominee believes he is ready for a judge position. He feels that his experience representing plaintiffs and defendants has helped in seeing all sides of a case.
He also served as deputy village attorney in Valley Stream from 2010 to 2019 and ran unsuccessfully for Nassau County 2nd district judge spot in 2017.
McGrath, 64, of Hewlett Harbor, grew up in Inwood, and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1976.
He spent much of his upbringing working at Morton’s Army-Navy store originally in Far Rockaway and a Cedarhurst mainstay, under the owner Jerry Silverman, who taught life lessons and people management skills, applicable to a career in law McGrath said.
The Republican nominee now serves as a personal injury attorney at Sullivan, Papain, Block McGrath, Coffinas and Cannavo law firm in Garden City. He has practiced for 41 years as a trial lawyer, in preparation for a judge spot.
“It’s my chance to give back with public service,” McGrath said.
McGrath lost the special and general election for state senate to Democrat Todd Kaminsky in 2016.
Cross-endorsing candidates has always been controversial. Critics claim it limits the public’s choices. Political leaders say it’s a way to help ensure the same number of party candidates for the elected positions.
Lawrence School District Superintendent Ann Pedersen said she was thrilled to hear the news of the district’s former students.
While both Carlton and McGrath attended Lawrence High before Pedersen began working for the school district, she said she believes the principles of education going back to the 1960s at the high school made for an enriching education.
She attests a portion of the two candidates success to the longstanding diversity at Lawrence High School. As of March 2023, the school’s makeup was over 60 percent Hispanic/Latino, 20 percent African-American, 15 percent white and 4 percent Asian.
“I think that is preparation for dealing with multiple types of people that you’re going to meet later in life,” Pedersen said.
The superintendent said rigorous programming, advanced placement classes and informal motto, “diversity, pride and tradition,” at Lawrence High will continue preparing students for successful careers.