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Riverhead Democrats nominate all-female candidates slate

Laura Jens-Smith is at the top of a

Laura Jens-Smith is at the top of a ticket of Riverhead Democrats, who named an all-female town board slate on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Jens-Smith, will take on Republican incumbent Sean Walter. Credit: James Escher

Riverhead Democrats on Tuesday night named an all-female town board slate headed by supervisor candidate Laura Jens-Smith, who will take on Republican incumbent Sean Walter.

“They are all bright, educated women who want to see change in Riverhead from the current town board, which is stagnant,” said Marge Acevedo, Riverhead Democratic chairwoman. “They know the issues and have solutions.”

The slate was nominated formally at the town party’s convention at the Polish Civic Association Building in Riverhead.

Jens-Smith, 53, a retired nurse who lives in Laurel, is president of the Mattituck-Cutchogue School board.

Joining her as running mates are Catherine Kent, 61, of Baiting Hollow, a retired Riverhead elementary school teacher who worked for the district for 31 years, and Michele Lynch, 66, of Riverhead, a Working Families Party member, a retired health care worker and former political director for SEIU Local 1199.

Acevedo criticized the current board for failing to develop a solid plan for EPCAL, the economic development project for the former Grumman test site, and to move forward with downtown redevelopment.

Also on the Democratic slate is incumbent highway superintendent George “Gio” Woodson, 55, of Riverhead, who is seeking a third term, and assessor candidate Sue Ambro, 58, of Wading River.

Remy Bell, Riverhead GOP chairman, said Democrats were a “little bitter” because Republicans have been in power so long.

“We made great strides downtown with new businesses coming in,” Bell said. Noting that Jens-Smith ran unsuccessfully for town board two years ago, Bell said “When Democrats lose they promote their candidates to run for higher office.”

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