Former Suffolk lawmaker Vivian Viloria-Fisher has kicked off her bid for Brookhaven Town supervisor by targeting what she hopes will be a thorn in the incumbent's bid for re-election: the town's response to the February blizzard.
"We can beat the other side," Viloria-Fisher told a crowded room Tuesday night, in remarks after the Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee nominated her during its convention at the old Coram Firehouse. "We're going to think snow, we're going to think accountability."
Viloria-Fisher, of Setauket, was picked to challenge Republican incumbent Edward P. Romaine of Center Moriches in the race for supervisor. The opponents were colleagues in the county legislature before Romaine left for the vacated town supervisor seat last year. Romaine announced plans last month to seek re-election.
Viloria-Fisher's convention comments took aim at Romaine, who was widely criticized for being on vacation in Jamaica when 30 inches of snow fell in some parts of Brookhaven on Feb. 8-9. Romaine and the town highway department were blamed for the slow snow removal.
"If you're ever snowed under, we'll have the shovels because it's our job," Viloria-Fisher said. "We'll be there for the people."
Romaine shot back early Wednesday, saying, "It sounds to me like she's running for highway superintendent."
Also Tuesday, the Democratic committee chose civil rights attorney Valerie M. Cartright of Port Jefferson Station to run for the 1st District seat of outgoing town councilmember Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld, a town board member of nearly a decade who on Friday announced he would not seek re-election and is " . . . contemplating on focusing full time on the practice of law."
Last month, investigators seized three computers from Fiore-Rosenfeld's town board office. Sources say it was part of a probe into town employees and town-owned equipment being used to circulate nominating petitions, and allegations Fiore-Rosenfeld asked his employees to circulate petitions in exchange for bonuses.
Before the convention, town Democratic Committee chairman Anthony Parlatore described Cartright as "a dynamic candidate" who will follow Fiore-Rosenfeld's "commitment to the environment, land use and quality of life issues. She will be a tremendous asset to the town."
At the convention, the committee also picked incumbent council members Kathy Walsh, an independent who normally sides with the Democrats, and Connie Kepert for re-election in the 3rd and 4th districts respectively.