Suffolk County Republicans have re-elected Jesse Garcia as party chairman and tapped two longtime town party leaders for party leadership roles.
About 200 Republicans filled the Islip Town Republican Committee Headquarters in Bay Shore Monday for the county party convention and organizational meeting.
Garcia was elected to a two-year term after about six months filling in for John Jay LaValle, who stepped down as party chairman earlier this year. Garcia has served as Brookhaven Town’s GOP leader for 12 years and works as a Republican Hispanic outreach coordinator for the county Board of Elections.
Suffolk Republicans, including county executive candidate John M. Kennedy Jr. and state Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport), Senate minority leader, called Garcia a leader who responds to party members’ concerns and provides guidance to candidates.
Garcia said his focus is on electing a Republican majority to the county Legislature — which has a Democratic majority — and Kennedy as county executive in November. Kennedy is challenging Democratic incumbent Steve Bellone.
“My task is to change the direction of Suffolk County, to do everything I can to save Suffolk County,” Garcia said in an interview.
While Huntington Town party leader Toni Tepe also was re-elected to secretary, there were some changes to party leadership.
Bill Ellis, Smithtown GOP leader, was elected as county vice chairman, taking over for Anthony Pancella III, who held the post for a decade. Pancella, the Babylon Town GOP leader, will focus on state party issues, Garcia said.
William Garbarino, the Islip GOP leader, was elected county GOP treasurer after he was officially nominated by his son, Assemb. Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville).
The job had been held by Elizabeth Koop, of Brookhaven, but Garcia said he did not want to stack party leadership with Brookhaven Town Republicans.