The recently elected Huntington Town supervisor, two council members and the highway superintendent took their oaths of office Sunday afternoon, pledging to expand open space, foster employment opportunities, work in harmony and make the town a safe place for residents.
Despite the icy weather, hundreds of residents, a choral group, an honors ensemble, a color guard and public officials gathered in the Elwood-John H. Glenn High School auditorium to fete the politicians.
Each one had his or her own badge of honor.
Supervisor Frank P. Petrone began his sixth term and is the longest-serving head of the town, which was settled in 1653.
Councilwoman Tracey A. Edwards took her first oath of office in the school she attended, where she met her husband and where her children attended.
Councilman Mark Cuthbertson started his fifth term.
And newly elected Highway Superintendent Peter S. Gunther started his first term after what was called a baptism by blizzard.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) congratulated the four and their families for doing a public service that can require attention at all hours.
"The quality of life here is outstanding and elected officials have to be vigilant to keep it that way and they will," he said.
All of the politicians thanked voters and promised to make their actions worthy.
"Thank you for whatever you did for me," Gunther said. "Everybody worked very hard for me and your vote counted. It counted. And I won't let you down."
Edwards, sworn in by Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), said she was prepared and determined, promising to be accessible and to work on expanding employment options. "I truly am grateful to be here today," she said.
Cuthbertson urged disparate parties to work together on what they agree on and to raise the civil discourse on topics for which they do not.
Petrone said he would enhance the town's network of park and recreation sites; support the community being a model of intelligent commercial development; revitalize Huntington Station; and keep taxes stable, while maintaining services.
"I want to complete the unfinished business," he said.