Seven candidates running for two seats on Freeport's village board of trustees will face challenges of developing North Main Street and improving the village's infrastructure.
The candidates in the March 18 election include: incumbent trustee Jorge Martinez and his running mate, Freeport school board member Debra Mulé; former Freeport Mayor Andrew Hardwick and his running mate, business owner Frank Rizzo; former Freeport school board president Sunday Coward and her running mate, Julissa M. Ramos; and Freeport-Roosevelt NAACP president Douglas Mayers.
The candidates are running for a four-year term to fill Martinez's seat, whose term is up, and the seat vacated by Deputy Mayor William White, who is not running for re-election.
Martinez, 52, who is a registered Republican and Mulé, 52, a registered Democrat, are running together on the Unity Home Rule party line.
Martinez has served as trustee since 2007 and is also a former vice chairman of the Freeport Zoning Board of Appeals. Mulé has served as Freeport school board president and vice president since she was first elected in 2006.
Martinez said the village is facing growth and will soon use a $5 million grant from Nassau County to develop North Main Street.
"We need to entice businesses to Freeport and entice them to stay here," Martinez said.
Hardwick, 57, a registered Democrat, and Rizzo, 59, a registered Republican, are running together on the Putting Freeport First party line.
Hardwick was elected in 2009 until he was ousted in 2013 by sitting Mayor Robert Kennedy.
Hardwick issued a statement listing pension costs, increased debt and the North Main Street project as issues facing the village.
Coward, 49, and Ramos, 41, both registered Democrats, are running on The Time Is Now party line.
Coward is a college administrator at Hunter College CUNY and served three terms on the Freeport school board. Ramos is a scholarship coordinator for a car dealership.
Coward and Ramos said they plan to focus on local businesses, improving public safety, village beautification and youth empowerment.
Mayers, 73, is a registered Democrat and Independent running on the We Are All In party. He is a member of the village housing commission and previously ran unsuccessfully for State Assembly in 2000.
"We need development in Freeport," Mayers said. "One thing Freeport is missing is affordable housing."
Voting is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Freeport Recreation Center, Memorial Library and several schools and firehouses.