Jim Heath, a 63-year-old Democrat from Ronkonkoma, works for the Suffolk County Veterans Services Agency and is passionate about the needs of those who serve the nation. He is convinced the county needs to take care of its most challenged citizens, and support its police officers. Heath is also refreshingly honest in admitting there are county issues he doesn't know much about, like how to deal with the challenges of the Health Services Department and the Foley nursing home. He's wise to be honest about his lack of knowledge, but understanding these issues is important.
Incumbent Republican Thomas Cilmi, 47, of Bay Shore, is seeking his second term. One of his priorities is getting some transparency into the county budget process, so that the public knows what is happening and can comment on the spending plan before it is finalized. He also wants the Health Services Department's permit processes streamlined, the nursing home privatized and more cops on the streets, and says the county cannot raise taxes right now. Cilmi is still learning the ropes, but he's also spearheading some important issues. Newsday endorses Cilmi.