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You're a voter. And you have issues. Lots of issues. No doubt your stand on them will help guide your choices on Tuesday, if you haven't voted already.
The editorial board has spent much of the past month interviewing many of the candidates. We evaluated 89 active contenders in 48 local races, and we learned a lot.
They come from all walks of life. There are lots of lawyers, sure, and the usual lineup of professional politicians, business people, retired police officers and firefighters. But this year's contenders also include a carpenter, a teacher, a bay constable, a secretary, a farmer, an engineer and a veterinarian. Their life experiences will inform their actions and their votes, and enrich the legislative bodies and executive chambers in which they serve.
They range in age from 24 to 88. Many are first-time candidates, some are experienced pros with valued leadership skills, and others just keep running again and again. The latter make a case for term limits. The Suffolk County Legislature has them (six terms, 12 years), and the regular changeover helps re-energize that body. The Nassau legislature does not have term limits, though some of its old-timers are starting to look at that.
More women are running. In the 37 county legislative races, 28 women represent the major parties compared with 23 in 2017.
Party affiliations can be dizzying. There are two Democrats running as Republicans and two Republicans running as Democrats. Four candidates not affiliated with a party are on Democratic lines, and one Conservative Party member is running as a Democrat. Several were participants in a failed scheme to give them both the Democratic and Conservative lines; that's like saying you're a fan of both the Yankees and the Red Sox.
The candidates span the commitment spectrum. Some are just names on the ballot, chosen because they work in one capacity or another for a party that doesn't think the incumbent can be beat. Typically, these roster-fillers are not campaigning. That's unfortunate, because this cynicism robs voters of real choices. Others are very engaged activists with specific causes stepping up to seek elective office.
So, find out who your candidates are and what makes them tick. Use this guide as a start. It summarizes our endorsements over the past month. Full endorsements can be found at newsday.com/endorsements2019. And then vote. — The editorial board
Suffolk County Executive: Steve Bellone, Democrat — Work on county budget problems is beginning to pay off. Next year’s spending plan largely balanced without using one-shots, pension amortization or fund raids. Succeeded in getting labor unions to agree to contribute to health care. Has strong ideas about Suffolk’s future, like building network of vibrant downtowns and linking them with public transit to attract young workers with skills, moving Yaphank train station to Brookhaven National Lab, and attacking water quality crisis.
Nassau County District Attorney: Madeline Singas, Democrat — Made good on promise to fund effort to get narcotics overdose victims into recovery programs. Worked with feds on arrests, convictions of MS-13 gang members. Her strong voice needed on making necessary changes to recent criminal justice reform.
Town Supervisor races
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor: James Altadonna Jr., Democrat — Registered Republican. Pragmatic vision for future includes mini-downtown at old Cerro Wire site. Steady hand with strong financial background promises to reduce patronage hires and increase accessibility.
North Hempstead Town Supervisor: Judi Bosworth, Democrat — Steady leader is listener and collaborative solution-finder on issues from senior transportation to veteran care.
Islip Town Supervisor: Angie Carpenter, Republican — Experienced hand shored up town finances, helped expand service at Long Island MacArthur Airport, supports innovative housing ideas.
Hempstead Town Supervisor: Laura Gillen, Democrat — Big wins include ethics reforms to reduce nepotism and conflicts of interest, online posting of town contracts, big increases in road repaving, and progress on Baldwin makeover.
Riverhead Town Supervisor: Laura Jens-Smith, Democrat — In first term, settled labor contracts, stabilized budget, shepherded downtown revitalization. Smart watchdog on EPCAL development.
Brookhaven Town Supervisor: Edward Romaine, Republican — Combines strong fiscal and environmental stewardship with call for regional solutions to big problems. Ready for big challenge of closing town landfill.
Southold Town Supervisor: Scott Russell, Republican — Right to push for more affordable housing and public transportation options. Rezoning Orient good plan to protect Plum Island.
Southampton Town Supervisor: Jay Schneiderman, Democrat — Had made progress on increasing stock of affordable housing and code enforcement. Working on solution for rising assessments.
East Hampton Town Supervisor: Peter Van Scoyoc, Democrat — Voice of reason and vision on affordable housing, offshore wind energy and coastal resilience, especially in Montauk.
Suffolk County Legislative District Races
LD1: Albert Krupinski, Democrat — Signature issues of water quality and land preservation critical to the district and the county. Good work on projects to reduce road runoff. Supports affordable housing. Farmer’s voice is unique.
LD2: Bridget Fleming, Democrat — Has done good work on clean water, tick-borne illnesses, affordable housing and public transit. Capital fund for solutions to improve coastal resiliency a good idea.
LD3: No endorsment — First-term incumbent Republican Rudolph Sunderman was indicted on multiple charges that he tried to circumvent an ethics ruling. Democrat Daryl Edelstein is not actively campaigning.
LD4: Thomas Muratore, Republican —Veteran has been a voice for responsible budgeting. Wants to reduce bonding and patronage hiring. Continues to deliver for constituents.
LD5: Karina Hahn, Democrat —Active legislator passed laws to ban or limit plastic straws and Styrofoam containers in restaurants, created parks stewardship program. Good work on opioids.
LD6: Sarah Anker, Democrat — Prime mover behind 10-mile rail-to-trail path from Mount Sinai to Wading River. Backs walkable communities near mass transit. Knows district intimately.
LD7: Robert Calarco, Democrat — Supporter of Patchogue redevelopment, led fight for restoration of Canaan Lake. His caution regarding county budget includes a call to reduce spending.
LD8: No endorsement — Incumbent Democrat William Lindsay III part of odious cross-endorsement deal with Conservatives. Republican Anthony Piccirillo pleaded guilty in 2014 to helping run illegal poker games.
LD9: Samuel Gonzalez, Democrat — Labor union leader. Works to shield Brentwood youth from gangs, and to reduce homelessness. Wants to make sure district can access new sewer line from Ronkonkoma Hub.
LD10: Thomas Cilmi, Republican — GOP leader is strong budget scold, pushed successfully for multiyear budget planning. Proposes spending cuts in police and social service accounts.
LD11: Steve Flotteron, Republican — Conservative budget approach includes call to reduce bonding and extract more concessions from unions. Says monthly spending reports would increase accountability.
LD12: Leslie Kennedy, Republican — Worked hard on purchasing and preserving land at Nissequogue River headwaters, and on making sure high-level sex offenders can never drive for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.
LD13: Robert Trotta, Republican — Former police officer is a vital voice on policing, as when he criticized a recent promotion for its potential nepotism. Seeks to reduce spending in general, and on police contract.
LD14: Kevin McCaffrey, Republican — Steadfast supporter of fiscal restraint. Big proponent of walkable downtowns, rental housing and extra density as keys to revitalizing communities.
LD15: DuWayne Gregory, Democrat — Signature program gets opioid overdose victims into treatment quickly. Presiding officer a voice for minority residents and against nepotism and secrecy.
LD16: Susan Berland, Democrat — Common-sense approach includes call for payment plans for red-light camera tickets and pardons for first-time offenders if they take a driving class.
LD17: Thomas Donnelly, Democrat — Constituent-first approach fuels focus on quality-of-life issues.
LD18: William R. Spencer, Democrat — Big thinker. Sponsored plastic bag fee bill, touts new way to cut county health care costs by 20 percent. Supports convention center and indoor water park.
Nassau Legislative District races
LD1: Kevan Abrahams, Democrat — Minority leader calls out partisan GOP criticism of county reassessment. Good focus on public safety.
LD2: Siela A. Bynoe, Democrat — Supports development at Hub, Belmont Park. Working on community benefits package from Hub developers. Affordable housing advocate.
LD3: Nathan Wein, Republican — Newcomer, owns a carpentry business. Backs rezoning for development, affordable apartments, Belmont project, Elmont train station, vocational programs.
LD4: Denise Ford, Republican — Registered Democrat, defied GOP caucus to support five-year reassessment phase-in. Good constituent service, advocates for road-improvement projects.
LD5: Debra S. Mule, Democrat — First-term successes include Baldwin complete streets project, Styrofoam ban, and South Hempstead flooding fixes.
LD6: Laura Burns, Democrat — Not party member, espouses non-partisan approach. Gun - control activist promises regular town halls, outreach.
LD7: Debra Siegel, Democrat — Newcomer grasps issues. Backs infrastructure upgrades, economic development, and apartments to keep young people on Long Island.
LD8: Vincent Muscarella, Republican — Original legislator open to term limits and longer terms. Good focus on upgrading county sewer system.
LD9: Richard Nicolello, Republican — Collegial presiding officer, lets Democrats propose and pass bills. Important voice for transit-oriented development. Supports term limits with longer terms.
LD10: Ellen Birnbaum, Democrat — Successful push to reopen Sixth Precinct was part of her strong district advocacy. Next up: restoring Saddle Rock grist mill.
LD11: Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Democrat — Independent voice on county policy, like reassessment, and district needs, like her concerns over the fast pace of development in Glen Cove.
LD12: James Kennedy, Republican — Works on partnerships to fight opioid addiction, made push for cameras in Massapequa Preserve to reduce crime that led to big drop in reported incidents.
LD13: Thomas McKevitt, Republican — Unique GOP voice on workforce housing and building higher near transit hubs to enable more affordable units. Supports plan for Nassau Hub.
LD14: Laura Schaefer, Republican — Complements local focus with work on Hub redevelopment and getting state funding to clean drinking water of 1,4-dioxane.
LD15: John Ferretti Jr., Republican — Effective first-termer a strong advocate for district residents on issues like paving projects, rodent infestations.
LD16: Arnold Drucker, Democrat — Important voice for housing options for young and old and for density in Hicksville revitalization. Smart legislation on school bus cameras.
LD17: Rose Walker, Republican — Knows district intimately. Can lead on Hicksville redevelopment; supports four-story structures.
LD18 - Joshua Lafazan, Democrat — Not party member. Prolific young lawmaker, works on affordability issues, supports revitalization of Hub and downtown Syosset.
LD19 - Steven Rhoads, Republican — Firefighter has deep district knowledge, wants to restore bus service, pave sub-par roads, and support community groups.