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Huntington voters choose new direction with GOP town leader

Republican Assemb. Chad Lupinacci is elected to replace outgoing Democratic town supervisor, unofficial results show.

Town of Huntington voters decided to move in a new direction with the election of Republican Assemb. Chad Lupinacci, who promised ethics reform, term limits, lower taxes and safer neighborhoods in his campaign for town supervisor.

In the race to replace longtime Democratic Supervisor Frank P. Petrone, Lupinacci defeated town board member Tracey Edwards, a Democrat, by a 54 percent to 44 percent margin, according to unofficial results.

Lupinacci gave a spirited and sometimes emotional speech Tuesday night at the Nathan Hale VFW Post 1469 in Huntington Station, telling supporters his victory was for those residents voting for a “new direction and a message that change is needed.”

“Today you voted for a new direction, today you voted to make a break with the tired and failed policies of the past, today you sent a clear message that change is needed,” Lupinacci said.

He thanked his supporters for stuffing envelopes, knocking on doors and making phone calls. He also thanked his running mates, including Edmund Smyth, who also won his race for a seat on the town board. Edwards was one of the first people Lupinacci thanked for their hard-fought campaign.

Edwards, in a statement issued Wednesday morning, congratulated Lupinacci and all of the candidates on their victories.

“I thank the voters that participated in the democratic process and my family, friends and volunteers for all your help and support,” she said. “I look forward to the next chapter.”

Edwards is serving the last year of a four-year term on the town board. Smyth takes her seat. Democratic Town Board member Susan Berland was elected to represent the 16th Legislative District in the county legislature. She has two years remaining on her town board term, so her seat will be open after the end of this year.

Huntington Town Republican Chairwoman Toni Tepe said Tuesday night that she thinks the Republican Party was successful because Huntington residents are looking for a change.

“They are looking for a new direction,” she said. “I never believed in term limits up until the last 10 years; elected officials are not supposed to be career politicians they are supposed to be elected, get the job done, put forth our initiatives and then move on. I think that maybe with the current administration people realized and recognized they were just there for too long.”

Petrone, who announced his retirement this year, has held the supervisor’s post since 1994.

Tepe said the town’s new direction should be one where Huntington remains a more suburban community and less “citified,” and the gang and opioid crises are tackled. She said Lupinacci’s experience in the State Assembly will serve him well in securing funding to tackle those issues.

Petrone, a Democrat, said he will try to make the transition of power as smooth as possible.

“The voters have spoken and they chose Chad. He’s popular, he serves as an assemblyman,” Petrone said Wednesday. “He is the supervisor-elect and we should all get behind him.”

Lupinacci said he was optimistic and excited. He said beyond new policies and solutions, his approach will involve a return to ethics, transparency in government, listening, accessibility, accountability and compromise.

“These were all the hallmarks of our campaign and they will now be the pillars of my administration,” he said.

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