The 3rd District is among the most distressed in Suffolk County. It needs strong, savvy representation to take on the complex issues of zombie homes, absentee landlords overstuffing houses with tenants, and social services agencies concentrating transient people here.
This is an open seat, as Legis. Kate Browning exits under the county’s 12-year term limit. The legislative aide running her office, Joshua Slaughter, wants to continue their work cracking down on sober homes, getting people into permanent housing and creating incentives for owner-occupants. Democrat Slaughter, 34, who lives in Shirley, gets these issues intuitively; when he was a child, his family lost its home to foreclosure.
Republican Rudolph Sunderman, 48, of Mastic, is a 30-year volunteer with the Mastic Fire Department, where he now serves as chief, and the fire district manager in Centereach, overseeing 80 staff and volunteers. His work brings him close to the streets and he speaks passionately about vacant homes, drug overdoses, squatters and residents who have emergency needs but are afraid to call first responders because they don’t have citizen status.
In many situations, Sunderman would be a terrific choice. He knows the district down to its streetlights and has ideas to encourage homeownership for first-time buyers and veterans. He’s had an admirable career in public service, and we hope he will work with Slaughter to contribute his street-wise expertise.
Slaughter is smart and energetic, and brings skills to begin representing this district at full speed. He’s had 12 years of experience teasing apart the layers of government that aggravate the district’s problems. For example, Slaughter objects to the state Department of Corrections directing ex-inmates with no outside support to specific addresses in the 3rd District. While individuals can choose to live anywhere, dumping too many high-needs people in one neighborhood is unhealthy. Slaughter already understands the nuances and public policies to fix things.
Newsday endorses Slaughter.