Longtime Huntington Town Board member Mark Cuthbertson said he will not seek reelection, but instead vie for the Suffolk County Legislature seat now held by William "Doc" Spencer, who will not run for another term.
Democrat Cuthbertson, 54, who has served on the board since 1998, said it was one of the toughest decisions in his public service career.
"I love local government and there are facets of county government that I’m not involved with, among those are public health, social services, and things like that, that I think you can have a very meaningful impact in the lives of people," Cuthbertson said Tuesday. "It’s a great way to continue my public service at a different level."
Cuthbertson is running for a two-year seat in the 18th District that is held by Spencer, who was arrested last October on charges that he traded oxycodone pills for sex. Spencer’s seat is up at the end of 2021.
Anthony La Pinta, the Hauppauge-based defense attorney for Spencer, said Wednesday his client will not run for reelection.
"A decision was made to devote all of his time and efforts to defending his pending criminal charges," he said.
Suffolk County Democratic Committee chairman Richard Schaffer in a new release touted Cuthbertson’s popularity.
"Councilman Mark Cuthbertson has been consistently re-elected to the Huntington Town Council because of his record delivering for the families of Huntington," Schaffer said. "We're excited to work with Mark to keep our Democratic Majority in the Legislature so he can continue working to improve the lives of Suffolk County families."
Cuthbertson said he counts among his accomplishments spearheading efforts in Huntington Station to shut down Melissa Tavern, which was notorious for gang and drug activity; sponsorship of two open space bond acts that resulted in the preservation of hundreds of acres of sensitive land; and using his background in real estate law to spur economic development, including attracting major corporations to relocate to the Route 110 corridor, such as Canon USA.
Huntington Town Democratic chairman and former Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said Cuthbertson will be an asset to the county legislature.
"It will be a loss for the town board, but it will be a gain for the town’s relationship with the county," Petrone said.
Cuthbertson’s Republican town board colleague Gene Cook said he plans to make an announcement of his future political plans — possibly a run for town supervisor — at a fundraiser on Feb. 18.
The Suffolk County Republican Party has not announced a candidate for the 18th Legislative District.