Islip Democrats have named a Brentwood business owner to run against a Republican volunteer firefighter for a new town council seat created to represent majority Latino communities.
Democrat Jorge Guadron and Republican Manuel Troche of Brentwood will vie for the 1st District council seat in November, in Islip's first election since a settlement last year ended a federal voting rights lawsuit brought against the town by Latino residents. The settlement called for the creation of four council districts, including one representing majority Hispanic communities Brentwood, North Bay Shore and part of Central Islip.
Hispanic residents had argued that the town's at-large voting system made it virtually impossible for them to win townwide elections. The last minority to win an Islip Town election was Republican Town Clerk Joan Johnson, a Black woman who served from 1991 to 2007.
Guadron, president of the Central Islip-based Salvadoran American Chamber of Commerce, said in a news release he would "hold the line on taxes, encourage economic development, protect our environment, improve our infrastructure, and improve our quality of life." Attempts to reach Guadron were unsuccessful.
A biography released by his campaign said Guadron immigrated from El Salvador and founded a marketing company, Guadron International.
In testimony in federal court last year, before the settlement was announced, Guadron said he had found it difficult to run for Islip town offices in previous campaigns because of prejudice he encountered in majority white communities.
Troche, 58, a production manager at a Shirley manufacturing firm and volunteer Brentwood firefighter, said he understood the district's needs and would work to solve problems.
"I’m bilingual. I think and I know how they feel," said Troche, who moved to Long Island from Puerto Rico with his family when he was 5. "We need someone who has the voice … who knows the language and knows how to do things."
He added that he knows Guadron and would not run a negative campaign. "I respect him, and I know he respects me," Troche said. "I won’t say anything bad about him."
The 1st District seat is one of two seats that will be on the Islip ballot in November.
Incumbent Republican Councilwoman Trish Bergin, who must leave office in December because of term limits, has announced she plans to run for the Suffolk County Legislature seat held by Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore), who also is term-limited.
In Islip's 2nd council district, Democrat Darrin Green will challenge Republican incumbent James O'Connor. The district covers most of Central Islip and nearby communities such as West Sayville, Oakdale and Hauppauge.
Elections for council districts 3 and 4 are to be held in 2023, after district boundaries are set based on 2020 census data, officials have said.