By Tim Harfmann
Michael Long is an active, Catholic leader in Brooklyn; and he’s making a big change in his life. After three decades, Long’s giving up the job as chairman of New York State’s Conservative Party. “I intend to stay involved. I just don’t want to drive the bus. I’m going to get on the bus and go for the ride. I don’t want to steer the bus anymore,” said Long. That bus includes almost 160,000 passengers — New Yorkers registered in the Conservative Party. “My hope is that the Conservative Party will continue to be the common-sense voice, certainly here in New York. If there was ever a time that the conservative voice is needed in New York State, it’s now.”
A former United States marine turned business owner, Long’s public career also included representing Brooklyn on New York’s City Council. He first caught the political bug in 1964. “I was standing on street corners giving out literature. I was driving my car with bullhorns on the top, urging people to vote for Barry Goldwater,” Long said.
Now, Long looks forward to spending more time with his family: wife of 54 years, Eileen; their nine children, 23 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Eileen Long said that while politics put a crimp in celebrating family events, she was always behind her husband. “(Mike) believed in what he was doing. It was not for any financial gain, no heroism or anything else. He believed in it.”
For Mike Long, nothing is more important than his Catholic faith. He’ll continue to stay on as Chairman of the Board at Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He grew up in Queens and was a parishioner of Holy Child Jesus Church in Richmond Hill. That’s where his strong Catholic roots were planted. “I’m not afraid to annunciate my views. I’m not forcing those views on other people; but I think the views the Catholic faith professes, especially on life issues, is very important,” said Long. A champion of the sanctity of life, Long has always been forthright is sharing what the Church has taught him with friends and family. “He always said to them, ‘you have to do what’s right. Whether anyone’s looking or not, that’s what you have to do,” said Mrs. Long. And that’s how Mike Long hopes people will remember him. “A person who stood up for principle, who was reasonable, was willing to be flexible and compromise; but not at the cost of losing one’s values and belief system,” said Long.