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William Spencer to represent Suffolk's 18th Legislative District

William Spencer, Democratic incumbent candidate for Suffolk County

William Spencer, Democratic incumbent candidate for Suffolk County Legislature District 18, poses for a portrait at the William H. Rogers Legislative Building in Smithtown on July 17, 2019. Credit: James Escher

Sometimes, says pediatric surgeon William R. Spencer, you need a scalpel to fix a problem, but even then, it'll take time to heal. That's how the Centerport Democrat, now finishing his fourth term, envisions bringing change to Suffolk County — with small strokes followed by careful nurturing. 

But, he says, there's also always room for big ideas. 

Spencer, 52,  has several. He says the county could cut its health care costs by up to 20 percent by instituting a "navigator model," which guides patients to better insurance and medical choices.  

Spencer, who sponsored the county's plastic bag fee legislation, talks of Suffolk buildings  a "wintertime economy," with options like an indoor water park or a convention center. And he's thoughtful about what he could have done earlier to address vaping, which he continues to worry about. 

Lloyd Harbor Republican Garrett Chelius, who works for Huntington Town's planning department, wants to attract businesses, but he also worries about overdevelopment.  Chelius, 49, is interested in the potential for 5G wireless networks, suggesting the county charge a fee on carriers to provide new revenue and fund independent research on the networks' potential impact on residents. Chelius' enthusiasm and ideas are welcome, but Spencer has led with distinction.

Newsday endorses Spencer.