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OpinionEditorial

A guide to Newsday's 2017 endorsements in Suffolk County

There is no hot presidential election this year, no congressional or state offices with big-stake outcomes up for grabs on Tuesday.

But the many local races on the ballot are incredibly important because they impact every Long Islander’s daily life and their future.

Both Nassau and Suffolk counties are grappling with troubling finances, the opioid epidemic and the failure of public servants to deliver honest government.

In Suffolk, a new district attorney will have to clean up an office sullied by Thomas Spota, accused of helping cover up former police Chief James Burke’s beating of a man who stole items from Burke’s SUV. A new Suffolk sheriff must demonstrate independence after that contest revealed the shenanigans of party bosses trying to rig races. Legislators in both counties must work across party lines to better serve residents.

Newsday’s 11-member editorial board, which operates independently of the paper’s newsgathering operation, interviewed nearly every candidate for countywide positions, county legislative seats and town supervisor offices — nearly 100 contenders in 52 races. We met with interest groups involved in three statewide referendums.

We recommend candidates based on their ideas, their accomplishments, their enthusiasm and who we believe will best represent the interests of Long Island and their communities. Political party ideology plays no role. Nor do the business interests and ownership of the Newsday Media Group influence our decisions.

This guide summarizes Suffolk County endorsements published over the past three weeks. Click here to read Nassau County endorsements.

Now we ask you to do your part. Vote.

Suffolk County District Attorney: Tim Sini, Democrat

Timothy Sini, Democratic candidate for Suffolk County District
Photo Credit: James Escher

Pledges to clean office undermined by abuse of power. Promises to be nonpolitical, require financial disclosures from deputies and bureau chiefs, set up outside panel to review old prosecutions, hire experienced help.
 

Click here to read the full endorsement.

Suffolk County sherriff: Larry Zacarese, Republican

slVOTE: Larry Zacarese is running in the GOP
Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Outsider upended scheme by party bosses to rig election. Extensive law enforcement and emergency management experience. Has detailed knowledge of job and ideas for reform. Owes no one any favors.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

Babylon supervisor: No endorsement

Babylon Town hall in Lindenhurst, July 9, 2017.
Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Incumbent Richard Schaffer wears too many hats as Democratic party leader. GOP challenger Dan Martin not up to job.
 

Read why we declined to endorse in this race.

Brookhaven supervisor: Ed Romaine, Republican

Ed Romaine, Republican incumbent candidate Brookhaven Town Supervisor,
Photo Credit: James Escher

Unified town board, stabilized finances. Environmentalist, started single-stream recycling. Has good development ideas.   
 

Click here to read the full endorsement.

East Hampton supervisor: Peter Van Scoyoc, Democrat

Peter Van Scoyoc, Democratic candidate for East Hampton
Photo Credit: James Escher

Veteran hand, understands town’s unique challenges. Has right stance on water quality, affordability issues and storm protection.
 

Click here to read the full endorsement.

Huntington supervisor: Tracey Edwards, Democrat

Tracey Edwards, current Town of Huntington Councilwoman and
Photo Credit: James Escher

Comprehensive knowledge of town with sensible ideas to keep it moving forward. Has smart approach to resolve LIPA tax case.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

Riverhead supervisor: Laura Jens-Smith, Democrat

Laura Jens-Smith, Democratic candidate for Riverhead Town Supervisor,
Photo Credit: James Escher

Wants to subdivide EPCAL and sell smaller portions to jump-start development. Focus on the revitalization of downtown Riverhead.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

Southampton supervisor: Jay Schneiderman, Democrat

Jay Schneiderman, Democratic incumbent candidate for Southampton Town
Photo Credit: James Escher

Clear vision for town’s future includes downtown development, housing near train stations and upgrading infrastructure.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

Smithtown supervisor: Edward Wehrheim, Republican

Edward Wehrheim who is running for Smithtown Supervisor
Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Good fiscal, environmental steward. Supported workforce housing in Speonk and scooter LIRR service to Montauk.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

State Supreme Court: Robert Lifson and Richard Hoffman

judges
Photo Credit: James Escher

The editorial board makes selections in judicial races only when larger principles are in play. Send a message to political bosses about backroom cross-endorsement deals that deprive voters of real choices. Voters can chose a maximum of four of the 10 candidates running for State Supreme Court. Vote for just two, Robert Lifson and Richard Hoffmann, both running only on the Republican line, to upset the party bosses’ plans.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

1st legislative district: Al Krupski, Democrat

Al Krupski, Democratic incumbent candidate for Suffolk County
Photo Credit: James Escher

Only farmer in legislature brings a valuable point of view. Strong on water quality and land preservation.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

2nd legislative district: Bridget Fleming, Democrat

Bridget Fleming, Democratic incumbent candidate for Suffolk County
Photo Credit: James Escher

Emerged as strong environmental voice, worked on county’s septic replacement program.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

3rd legislative district: Josh Slaughter, Democrat

Josh Slaughter, Democratic candidate for Suffolk County Legislature
Photo Credit: James Escher

Smart, energetic, savvy, deep knowledge of government will be asset in solving district problems.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

4th legislative district: Tom Muratore, Republican

Tom Muratore, Republican incumbent candidate for Suffolk County
Photo Credit: James Escher

Respected lawmaker, fiscal nag, proponent of Arboretum housing development to revitalize Farmingville.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

5th legislative district: Kara Hahn, Democrat

Kara Hahn, Democratic incumbent candidate for Suffolk County
Photo Credit: James Escher

Created residents’ parks watch to help curb illegal dumping, supports more downtown development.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

6th legislative district: Sarah Anker, Democrat

Sarah Anker, Democratic incumbent candidate for Suffolk County
Photo Credit: James Escher

Tireless consensus builder, has sensible budget ideas and unparalleled knowledge of her district.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

7th legislative district: Robert Calarco, Democrat

Robert Calarco, Democratic incumbent candidate for Suffolk County
Photo Credit: James Escher

Pragmatic, wrote legislation to encourage affordable housing, ready to take bigger leadership role.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

8th legislative district: Bill Lindsay, Democrat

Bill Lindsay, Democratic incumbent candidate for Suffolk County
Photo Credit: James Escher

Thoughtful, strongly supports more housing, higher density near transit hubs and sewers.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

9th legislative district: Monica Martinez, Democrat

Monica Martinez, Democratic incumbent candidate for Suffolk County
Photo Credit: James Escher

Delivers critical services in economically struggling district, working on anti-drug and anti-gang programs.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

10th legislative district: Tom Cilmi, Republican

Tom Cilmi, Republican incumbent candidate for Suffolk County
Photo Credit: James Escher

Fiscal watchdog’s demands include multiyear budgeting, a more open budget process and less borrowing.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

11th legislative district: Joseph McDermott, Democrat

slVOTE Joseph McDermott, the Democratic candidate fo the
Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Good steward in Brightwaters, ironworker brings heart to discussion of unaffordability of life on Long Island.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

12th legislative district: Leslie Kennedy, Republican

Leslie Kennedy, Republican incumbent candidate for Suffolk County
Photo Credit: James Escher

Works hard for constituents, active in fight for clean water, focused on creating high-tech jobs.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

13th legislative district: Robert Trotta, Republican

Robert Trotta, Republican candidate for Suffolk County's 13th
Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Thorn in administration’s side, rails against budget deficits, high police pay and poorly placed red-light cameras.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

14th legislative district: Kevin J. McCaffrey, Republican

Kevin J. McCaffrey, Republican incumbent candidate for Suffolk
Photo Credit: James Escher

GOP leader, on target with budget critiques, believes in bipartisanship, pushes rentals for young adults.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

15th legislative district: DuWayne Gregory, Democrat

DuWayne Gregory, Democratic incumbent candidate for Suffolk County
Photo Credit: James Escher

 Presiding officer prefers collaboration; results include mobile app to connect drug users to treatment.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

16th legislative district: Susan Berland, Democrat

Susan Berland, Democratic candidate for Suffolk County Legislature
Photo Credit: James Escher

Experienced town board member can step up to open seat. Has wide-ranging, smart approach to opioid epidemic.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

17th legislative district: Thomas Donnelly, Democrat

Thomas Donnelly, Democratic candidate for Suffolk County Legislature
Photo Credit: James Escher

Newcomer pushing for labor concessions to address budget woes, encourages working across party lines.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

18th legislative district: Dr. William Spencer, Democrat

Dr. William Spencer, Democratic incumbent candidate for Suffolk
Photo Credit: James Escher

Voice as medical doctor important on health issues, sponsored law setting 5-cent fee on plastic bags.

Click here to read the full endorsement.

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