Today’s news:

Milano lobs attack at Gary Ackerman

A Roslyn, L.I., doctor seeking to oust U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) in November called the congressman an out-of-touch elitist during a meeting of the Queens Village Republican Club last week in Bellerose.

Dr. James Milano, 42, said Ackerman “has drifted so far along with the riptide that he is now at the point where he is an elitist.”

Milano, an ER doctor at St. Francis Hospital who is making his first run for elective office, said he supports changing the country’s tax structure, saying it allows the wealthy to become wealthier and encourages high earners to seek alternative means to shelter their money. He said the tax structure is “destroying our manufacturing base.”

On immigration, Milano said he supports building a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border. He said illegal immigration “goes against the thread of what Americans stand for.”

Milano said he also would like to see term limits for elected officials in Congress, calling politicians “the most powerful executives in our country.”

“People need to understand that there is a sense of urgency for change in this country,” he told the crowd at Trattoria Lucia on Union Turnpike in Bellerose last Thursday.

Milano said the nation’s ballooning debt is a serious problem and suggested a percentage of elected officials’ salaries be put in escrow which they would get back if they balanced the budget. If not, Milano said the money should go to the taxpayers.

He also criticized some foreign aid approved by Congress, including $10 million to Lebanon and $300 million to Pakistan.

“What happens with this money? It comes back as bombs against us.”

Milano is being supported by the Queens Republican Party, but the Nassau GOP is backing Great Neck attorney, L.I., Liz Berney, who Ackerman defeated handily in 2008.

About 70 percent of the district is located in Queens and the other 30 percent in Nassau County.

Queens Village Republican Club member Phil Orenstein accused Nassau County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Mondello with picking Berney to spoil the campaign, saying he “has a habit of picking subpar candidates in order to lose the races.”

“It’s a corrupt machine,” Orenstein said of the Nassau GOP.

The club also heard from Sam Benoit, a member of the Republican club who is challenging state Senate President Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans).

Benoit called Smith “a disgrace for our district” but did not explain why.

The club said Benoit is the first Haitian American to run for the state Senate.

Benoit noted the race would be his first run for office, which he said he did not think would hurt him against a political veteran like Smith.

“I’m the outsider,” he said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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