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Huntington candidates didn’t show at debate, civic group says

An Elwood community group says Democratic candidates failed to show up at its candidates debate Wednesday, but the chairwoman of the Huntington Democratic Party said she told them they would not be attending.

Elwood Taxpayers Association said in a news release that Democratic town supervisor candidate and current town board member Tracey Edwards, town board member and candidate Mark Cuthbertson, town board candidate Emily Rogan, Highway Superintendent candidate Kevin Orelli and town board member and candidate for Suffolk County Legislature Susan Berland were “no-shows” for the debate.

Mary Collins, chairwoman of the town Democratic Party said after receiving the invitation for the debate, she contacted the candidates, who all had “other things going on” and would not be able to attend the event.

“That was at least two and half weeks ago,” Collins said. “I spoke with Heather Mammolito and told her no one would be coming.”

Mammolito is secretary for the Elwood Taxpayers Association, a nonpartisan civic association founded in 1945. The entire field of candidates for Huntington town supervisor, town board, local Suffolk County Legislature and highway superintendent were invited to the annual forum.

Heather Ross, President of the Elwood Taxpayer Association, said the group knew the three town candidates were not coming as of last week, but up until Tuesday were expecting Suffolk Legis. William Spencer (D-Centerport), Berland and Orelli. Spencer did show up for closing comments and Ross said they allowed him three minutes to make a statement.

Berland said once Collins informed her the town candidates were not going, “I’m a team player and followed the direction of my town leader,” she said.

Orelli, who is the owner of a site improvement contracting business, said he had to work late in Glen Head and was unable to make it.

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