2016 Elections

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker is running against Republican Gary Pollakusky to represent the 6th District. Photos by Alex Petroski

A Town of Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency volunteer and small business owner is challenging incumbent Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) as she vies for a fourth term to represent the 6th District.

Gary Pollakusky, a Rocky Point resident since 2012 who graduated from Baldwin High School and Cornell University, said he wants to bring more fiscal responsibility to the county while working to keep young people living on Long Island. He moved to Rocky Point from Long Beach following losing his home to Hurricane Sandy.

“You have to force the government to work within its means,” he said during a recent debate at TBR News Media’s office. “We need to treat the public’s purse like we treat our own. You don’t borrow from Peter to pay Paul.”

“I will continue to provide leadership in our county government by prioritizing fiscal responsibility, public safety and protecting our health and environment.”

— Sarah Anker

While Anker, a resident of Mount Sinai for more than 20 years, who previously lived in Middle Island and Coram, said she is fiscally conservative, Pollakusky pointed to Suffolk’s recent practice of borrowing to make payroll. He criticized Anker for calling for a traffic study following the release of a red-light camera program report and for voting for the $700 million contract between the county and the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association. Though he was critical, he ultimately admitted he would have voted in favor of the contract as well, citing public safety as the primary reason.

“Each year our budget is going up $50 million and $48 million is going toward the police contract,” Pollakusky said. “We have to create sustainable contracts, we need people who understand business and have business acumen and financial acumen in government.”

Anker defended her track record on the Legislature. She voted against the controversial fees, which many have referred to as “backdoor taxes.” The legislator voted to reduce Suffolk County’s pipeline debt by closing out unused funds for unrealized capital projects; against the increase in mortgage recording fee, which would have gone up $300; against the alarm bill fee; against increased fees for Suffolk County parks; and against the proposed plastic bag fee that would charge 5 cents per bag at the grocery store.

“I also feel if you don’t have the money don’t spend it, but unfortunately, you have to provide services, it’s mandated by the government,” Anker said, adding that she took a pay freeze and also voted to freeze other legislators’ salaries. “We combined comptroller with treasurer’s office, saved $23 million by privatizing the health care centers, sold the Foley Center, reduced staff by 1,000 people, cut county services costs by 10 percent and I think we still have a lot to do.”

Democrat incumbent Legislator Sarah Anker is running for her fourth term as the 6th District representative in the Suffolk County Legislature. Photo by Alex Petroski

She fell in agreement with her challenger regarding the SCPD contract, as she said it’s important to have boots on the ground amid the opioid crisis and rise in gang violence, but said she’s still hoping the county can make cuts at the negotiation table next year when the existing deal expires.

“We have a new police class which contributes to 15 percent of their health care,” she said. “It takes them longer to reach the highest pension payout; we’re revamping the whole system once these senior officers retire. Overtime should not be included in pensions, and the best thing I can do, and I’ve done this for 20 years, is to advocate strongly — shine a light and let the county executive and police unions know that this needs to be done. I can be one of many voices to direct them to do the right thing; to have a bully pulpit and use it effectively.”

The legislator highlighted her sponsored legislation passed to create a permanent heroin and opiate advisory panel, re-established from a temporary 2010 panel, created to ensure a continuous and interdisciplinary approach to help mitigate the issue. Her challenger cited the panel’s few recommendations the last time around and said he has a more active approach he would take.

“I want to identify programs, like the Given a Second Chance program developed locally four years ago, and keep the heroin crisis more consistent in curriculum and assemblies,” Pollakusky said, also highlighting his panel work with his organization, North Shore Community Association. “We need community coalitions to push law enforcement to close down drug-dealing homes and more drug reform on the supply side.”

While Pollakusky said his organization, which is not a registered nonprofit, was created in 2013, there is no mention on the website or Facebook page prior to June, when he announced his run against Anker.

“We need to look at storefronts that left and see why, see what true development we’re doing and how it’s being led.”

— Gary Pollakusky

“The association began with a small group of community advocates who felt there was a void in their local civics organizations,” he said in response. “No money flows in or our of our group. When we raise money it is through and for 501(c)(3) organizations in need, and much of our work has no events
associated with them.”

The challenger said he is more business friendly than Anker, and his time working with the town IDA has helped him. He said by retaining talent and creating jobs, keeping residents on Long Island is more attainable.

“We need to look at storefronts that left and see why, see what true development we’re doing and how it’s being led,” he said. “I act. I create jobs.”

Anker questioned his businesses, saying he outsources jobs to countries other than the United States for Media Barrel LLC and Travel Barrel LLC. Pollakusky responded that they are support teams not employees, to which Anker responded: “Do they do your work for you? Do you have [products] that are made in the United States? That’s all I’m asking.”

“For you to perpetrate these lies I not only find disappointing, I find that shameful,” Pollakusky said, asking Anker if she owns a car, television or phone made in the United States. “I am a local businessman. I work within our local economy, I have local clients.”

Republican Gary Pollakusky is running to represent Suffolk County’s 6th legislative district. Photo by Alex Petroski

Travel Barrell only lists some of the events that Pollakusky discussed, many of which are unclickable. The website’s About Us, Our Brands, Testimonials and Contact Us tabs also do not work. Anker questioned her challenger about an event called Boobs & Tubes, also listed on the website, which he referred to as a charity event that donates to breast cancer research. Based on online photos and videos of the event, referred to as “the most fun you can have with (some of) your clothes on,” it is marketed as an exclusive weekend summer event of camping, tubing, barbecuing, music and relaxation. The 2017 New York trip was canceled. Pollakusky’s last name is the only last name not in the About Us and the only mention of charity is deep in the About Us: “After Scott lost his friend Marcelo Vandrie to cancer in 2009, Boobs & Tubes began donating a portion of its proceeds to a different charitable event each year.” There is no mention of how much or to which charities the organization contributes anywhere on the website.

Anker cited several initiatives she’s proud of contributing to locally, including land acquisition with the Little Portion Friary in Mount Sinai and Cordwood Landing property in Miller Place to preserve more open space, a single-stream recycling program and work with veterans and seniors.

“I will fight for lower utility costs and continue to educate residents about common scams,” said Anker, who used to serve on the Mount Sinai Civic Association and worked on major projects like the construction of Heritage Park and ongoing Rails to Trails recreational path. “I will continue to provide leadership in our county government by prioritizing fiscal responsibility, public safety and protecting our health and environment. I will stand strong to support our veterans who have defended our nation. I will do everything in my power to protect our children. I will use my extensive experience in public policy to create safer communities for families and to improve the overall quality of life for Suffolk County residents.”

This version was updated to correctly identify what year Gary Pollakusky moved to Rocky Point and the names of his companies. The version also adds what university he graduated from.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin speaks during an interview at TBR News Media. Photo by Kevin Redding

By Alex Petroski

From the podium at The Emporium in Patchogue Nov. 8, 2016 after his race against Anna Throne Holst (D-Southampton) was officially called and his near-20-point victory was secured, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) said he was looking forward to the opportunity to “make America great again.”

Zeldin has become synonymous with President Donald Trump (R) locally, and though he said during an exclusive interview with the Times Beacon Record News Media editorial board he still supports the president, just short of 10 months removed from his re-election, Zeldin also said he is not a “proxy” for Trump, or anyone else. During the 90-minute interview, the congressman preached bipartisanship, addressed the future of health care, discussed Trump’s Twitter account and inflammatory speeches like the one he made in Arizona Aug. 22, criticized the president for his response to the Charlottesville, Virginia, protest and addressed the state of his support for Trump going forward.

Zeldin celebrates his 2016 election night victory in Patchogue. File photo by Alex Petroski

“I don’t give anyone my proxy.”

Despite being a strong supporter of Trump during their parallel 2016 campaigns, Zeldin had a strong response when asked if the president had his unequivocal support.

“I don’t give anyone my proxy,” Zeldin said, though he did say he supports the president and wants him to be successful. He added if he had to vote for Trump again today, he ultimately would. “It’s not 2020, but if you asked me Aug. 25 of 2017 if I was casting a vote right now and he was running unopposed, yeah. If he was running against someone else and there was a compelling reason to go some other direction, then you factor into it.”

Zeldin pushed back on the perception of a large group of his constituents who believe he is the local embodiment of Trump. He cited several examples in which he has been critical of the president, including when Trump made a Holocaust remembrance statement that made no reference to Jewish people, or when he voted in line with many House Democrats against a bill that would roll back internet privacy protections, which Trump ultimately signed into law.

The congressman also reiterated a statement he has made publicly in the past, that the meeting between Donald Trump Jr., other members of the Trump administration and people with ties to the Russian government alleging they had damaging material on Hillary Clinton in June 2016 should have never taken place.

“If you really wanted to ask yourself, is this guy just going to be or has he been some proxy or some stooge who is refusing to say where he disagrees, you would have to ignore like 20 different examples where it’s not even taking my word for it, this is stuff that I’ve said on national TV,” Zeldin said. He surmised the perception he is too tightly connected to Trump comes from people who can’t wait for the day Trump is no longer in office.

Zeldin added although he disagreed with former President Barack Obama (D) on issues, at no point did he view him as anything other than his president.

“There are people who think nothing has gotten done.”

Zeldin pushed back on the idea that partisan gridlock, which has long characterized the country’s perception of Congress, is getting worse or is being amplified by Trump. He said bills are being passed and bipartisan discussions are being had everyday by members of the House.

“People have this perception that when the House is in session and we’re all on the floor together that it’s an old school Aaron Burr duel taking place amongst all members all the time,” he said. “Where everyone’s basically literally trying to kill each other on the floor.”

Zeldin said he isn’t going to sugarcoat it, or try to make the discussions sound all rosy. He pointed to the over 50 bills passed since Trump has taken office as proof of Republicans and Democrats working together to get things done.

He said these topics tend to get overshadowed by what is broadcasted on TV news.

“People get very discouraged when you put on the news and you’re only coming in contact with bad news,” Zeldin said. “It’s almost like [it’s] not even newsworthy to talk about what got done that day. What’s newsworthy is what may be the biggest, most dramatic confrontation or battle that might be going on. That’s the news everyday.”

He attributed heated political rhetoric and the notion Congress is struggling to work together to the business model of the three major 24-hour cable news stations — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.

“The information they’re coming in contact with is deliberately targeting them to stir emotion, because that’s how they get traffic,” he said.

The congressman recalled several times when he was slated to do a cable news interview on a particular topic, which the president would be happy to see gain coverage, only to be asked questions about the investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia during the campaign because of a Tweet he sent moments before the interview.

He admitted the president has the power to steer the conversation in the right direction.

“There is no person in the United States of America with more of an ability to drive the conversation,” he said. “I don’t know of the last time we had an individual in the United States of America with a bigger soapbox than the president of the United States.”

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin calls for funding for two EPA programs relating to the Long Island Sound during a press conference March 13. Photo by Kevin Redding

“He’s willing to sign 50,000 different versions of this bill.”

Common ground exists between Republicans and Democrats on the future of the federal health care law, according to Zeldin, though he said he’s skeptical of the Senate’s ability to reach a majority on a replacement of the Affordable Care Act. At no point during the 90-minute conversation did the congressman use the phrase “repeal and replace,” though he discussed, at length, some of the issues with the individual market and what it would take to repair it in a way that works.

“Beyond partisanship there’s an ideological difference on the insurance piece, and what do you do with the ACA,” Zeldin said. “They just absolutely, genuinely to their core disagree on certain components of what direction [to go in].”

Zeldin was extremely critical of the process that led up to the ultimately failed Senate vote on health care and stressed the need to return to regular order.

The health care vote revealed three Republican senators as willing to oppose the president on major legislation. As a result of that vote and other circumstances in which Republican senators have spoken out against Trump, Zeldin encouraged the use of the president’s “bully pulpit,” like the way he spoke about Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) during his trip to Phoenix Aug. 22.

When asked if the president is doing enough to grow his base of support rather than just appealing to those he already has in his camp, Zeldin was also critical.

“There are opportunities for him to do more to broaden that coalition,” he said.

He also indicated the president is prepared to compromise on a health care bill.

“He’s willing to sign 50,000 different versions of this bill,” Zeldin said.

“There is no moral equivalency.”

The congressman was most critical of the president on his response to the events in Charlottesville. He repeatedly stated there is no moral equivalency between marchers on the side of the KKK and Nazism and those who attended the rally to oppose hate, a point that was contradictory to statements Trump made publicly on the subject. Zeldin said he did agree though with the president’s point that members of the “alt-right” were not the only one’s who arrived at the Virginia rally for the purpose of inciting violence.

“If you are a good person showing up to that march and you realize once you get there that by being associated at all with that march that you are associating yourself in any way, shape, or form with the KKK or Nazism, a good person, immediately, instinctively completely disengages,” Zeldin said.

Congressman Tom Suozzi takes a selfie with his family after being sworn into Congress. Photo from Suozzi’s office

Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) has wasted no time getting to work, opening his district office at 478A Park Ave. in Huntington last week, and getting sworn into office Tuesday, Jan. 3, in Washington D.C.

The office, which opened on Dec. 27, is located at Sunny Pond Farm, inside two historic homes dating back to the American Revolution, which have been preserved and converted into an office space. The homes are located on the property of former Huntington Congressman Silas Wood who represented Long Island in the early 19th century.

Suozzi said he wanted to choose an area that would be easily available for all of his constituents.

“Getting things done for the people of Long Island is our number one priority,” Suozzi said. “This office will help us serve the district. I wanted to locate the office on the Suffolk-Nassau border, so it would be accessible, but I also wanted to locate the office on a property that paid tribute to our nation’s history.”

The congressman said he will also have another satellite office in Queens.

The former Nassau County executive officially became a member of the 115th Congress this week.

“It’s a great honor to be entrusted as your voice in the nation’s capital,” he said. “I look forward to working with all of you and my colleagues in Washington, from both sides of the aisle, to get things done for the families of Long Island and Queens.”

Suozzi defeated Republican challenger Jack Martins (R-Mineola) in November, and inherits former Congressman Steve Israel’s (D-Huntington) seat, who announced late last year he would not be seeking re-election.

“This race has really been about the values my dad taught,” Suozzi said during his post-results speech at The Milleridge Inn in Jericho Nov 8. “I’m going to need everyone in this room to help me because if I stick my head up and say something that’s not the normal thing to be said, they’re going to try and smack us down.”

He added regardless of the results of the presidential election, “we really need to do some soul searching,” referencing health care coverage, the shrinking middle class, immigration reform, climate chance, gun violence and the tax code. He said there’s more important work to be done.

“We have to figure out what’s going on in the country,” he said. “We need to figure out how to bring people back together again to work together.”

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, the incumbent, will continue to represent the 1st Congressional District. Photo by Alex Petroski

Results of the Nov. 8 election have America seeing red.

While President-elect Donald Trump (R) won the presidency with 279 Electoral College votes to Hillary Clinton’s (D) 228, many of the North Shore races produced Republican victories as well.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) was one of the Democrats who survived. He outscored his Republican challenger Wendy Long 59.94 to 38.26 percent, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections. New York State Sens. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and John Flanagan (R-East Northport) earned fresh terms, as the public reelected the incumbents.

“I am so gosh darn proud to be a Republican, to be here working with you,” Flanagan said. “Let’s keep pulling ahead.” He thanked everyone for joining him at Mirelle’s Restaurant in Westbury and congratulated his fellow local Republican politicians while the audience continued to cheer him on.

Assemblyman Andy Raia addresses the crowd. He will be entering his ninth term. Photo by Kevin Redding
Assemblyman Andy Raia addresses the crowd. He will be entering his ninth term. Photo by Kevin Redding

Flanagan won his race 63.57 percent to his Democratic challenger Peter Magistrale’s 32.46 percent. LaValle earned 67.18 percent of the vote to Democrat Gregory Fischer’s 32.73 percent.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), another incumbent who kept a firm grasp on his seat, applauded his opponent following his victory.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to represent the 1st Congressional District,” he said during his speech at The Emporium in Patchogue. “A powerful message was sent across New York.”

That message was the sea of red that swept across not only the state but also the nation.

“We are going to have a new president of the United States, and his name is Donald J. Trump,” Zeldin said prior to the national election results. “We’re going to make American great again.”

Zeldin defeated his Democratic challenger Anna Throne-Holst handily with 58.93 percent of the 1st district’s votes. The congressman also mentioned in his speech his desire to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Throne-Holst honored the results of the election and conceded the race.

“Suffolk County represents the very fabric of America, with hardworking men and women determined to support their families and build a democracy that moves our country forward and makes our communities stronger,” Throne-Holst said. “I’d like to thank everyone who has supported our campaign over the course of this incredible journey. It is our collective vision of a fair and unified America that will guide the road ahead and shape the future for our next generation.”

Throne-Holst said in a statement she will continue to fight for families and children in future pursuits, and added she is honored to have the faith and confidence of men and women throughout the 1st district.

“May we come together in the wake of this divisive campaign season,” Throne-Holst said, “to establish a more resilient country for us all.”

“It is our collective vision of a fair and unified America that will guide the road ahead and shape the future for our next generation.”

— Anna Throne-Holst

Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), another Democrat who won a seat on election night, will succeed Rep. Steve Israel in the 3rd district. He fell short with Suffolk County voters, 48.27 percent to Republican challenger Jack Martins’ 51.68 percent, but when coupled with his Queens votes, he bested Martins 52 to 48 percent.

“This race has really been about the values my dad taught,” Suozzi said during his post-results speech at The Milleridge Inn in Jericho. “I’m going to need everyone in this room to help me because if I stick my head up and say something that’s not the normal thing to be said, they’re going to try and smack us down.”

He added regardless of the results of the presidential election, “we really need to do some soul searching.” He referenced figuring out what will happen with health care coverage, the shrinking middle class, immigration reform, climate chance, gun violence and the tax code. He added there’s more important work to be done.

“We have to figure out what’s going on in the country,” he said. “We need to figure out how to bring people back together again to work together.”

In local races for the State Assembly, incumbents continued to sweep the North Shore.

Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) edged his opponent 58.91 percent to 41.03 percent to continue representing the 4th district. His challenger, Steven Weissbard, called the assemblyman a “goliath,” and added, “If you want to win, you can’t be afraid to fight.”

Anna Throne-Holst, Democratic nominee for the 1st Congressional District, addresses the crowd following her loss on election night to incumbent Lee Zeldin. Photo by Lloyd Newman
Anna Throne-Holst, Democratic nominee for the 1st Congressional District, addresses the crowd following her loss on election night to incumbent Lee Zeldin. Photo by Lloyd Newman

Incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick (R-St. James) outscored Rich Macellaro 69.81 to 30.17 percent in the 8th district to earn his eighth term in the Assembly. Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington Station) won the 10th district with 58.24 percent of the votes over Democrat Ed Perez for his fourth term, and Andy Raia (R-East Northport) will enter his ninth term in office after garnering 65.26 percent of voters’ support over Spencer Rumsey (D) in the 12th district.

“Chad and I — we do our thing, we go to Albany and beat our heads against the desk with the supermajority of New York City,” Raia said during his postelection speech at Huntington Station’s VFW Post 1469. “But we make sure that your voice is heard day in and day out, because you’re what it’s all about. You’re the reason we live out of a suitcase six months out of the year — because you’re the bread and butter of this.”

Robert Murphy (R) will continue to patrol the highways of Smithtown as its highway superintendent. He reigned over Justin Smiloff (D) with 69 percent of the votes.

Candidates on both sides viewed this election season as a turning point for the state and country.

“It’s not about us candidates, it is about all of you here together and fighting this good fight and wanting to make change, and wanting to make sure that we are representing the people that we know need good representation,” Throne-Holst said during her speech at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 25 in Hauppauge. “We need to bear in mind that we are about unity. We are about moving forward. We are about public service. We are about the issues that matter.”

Her opponent expressed a similar sentiment.

“When we wake up tomorrow,” Zeldin said, “we have to come together.”

Rebecca Anzel, Victoria Espinoza, Donna Newman, Alex Petroski and Kevin Redding contributed reporting.

A scene from Huntington's Pride Parade. Photo by Victoria Espinoza.

By Victoria Espinoza

Today I woke up with a stronger determination than ever to be an ally. An ally to the LGBTQ community, to the Black Lives Matter community, to the Muslim community, the Hispanic community and every other community that woke up this morning feeling scared of the future.

I had gay friends and relatives reach out to me last night as the results were becoming clearer, wondering if they’ll still be able to get married, to adopt children, to feel equal. They need to know they still have support behind them.

As much as those fears made me want to cry and shut down, the feeling of making sure they knew I was on their side and ready to fight for them was stronger.

But then came the embarrassment.

It is unacceptable to me that it took Donald Trump becoming president to feel this strongly about being the loudest ally I can for these communities. It took this dark of a cloud for me to see the light and promise to support like I never have before.

Voting against him clearly was not enough. Crying out and insulting the people who did vote for him isn’t either.

America has been called the great experiment. My God, does that feel accurate today more than ever. We need to keep this experiment moving in the right direction with inclusiveness. This is our country; we do not stop calling ourselves American because we disagree with our new leader.

That’s when we lose.

Those, like me, who feel despair after last night’s results can still win. Not can — we must. It has never been more crucial to stand up for those who have felt oppressed during this election cycle. If we don’t lend our voice to those who feel voiceless, then we are truly going backwards in this country.

Every American has the right to choose their presidential candidate. Almost every point of view is understandable from a certain angle, once you put yourself in someone else’s shoes.

Now put yourself in the shoes of the communities today who are terrified of a Trump administration. They are just as American as those who voted for him. They voted differently, but they accept the results and the new leader of this country.

And the rest of the country damn well better do the same for them, as an American.

With liberty and justice for all — not just pretty words, but a founding principle.

Victoria Espinoza is the editor of the Times of Huntington, Northport & East Northport and the Times of Smithtown.

One thing that cannot be forgotten in the aftermath of one of the most remarkable and shocking nights in American history is how we were failed by our fourth estate. Polls and projections, save a few here and there, for months gave Donald Trump little to no chance of securing the presidency Nov. 8.

This is not because of a slant or bias in polling data but, a complete lack of awareness for a ground swell of sentiment that was made very clear once actual numbers started pouring in on election night, rendering the theoretical data we’d seen for months obsolete. Donald Trump’s shocking victory was not a product of media bias but of a total media ignorance for what can now be classified as a majority of the country’s feelings when it came time to pull a lever or fill in a circle.

This is not to say the media should have given credence to the percentage of voters who cast their ballots Tuesday with less than the purest of intentions, but instead to the political pundits like Corey Lewandowski and Sean Hannity who for weeks used their platforms to warn of a silent vote lurking, waiting to finally make their voices heard when the time was right.

What it should do is light a fire under the people now tasked with covering an administration and constituency that believes in opening up libel laws — making frequent lawsuits against journalists far more likely — and has repeatedly accused the media of trying to rig our most sacred freedom as Americans in favor of the other candidate.

Our work as journalists will never be more difficult, less appreciated or more important than it will be in the next four years. We need to fundamentally change the way the job is perceived and defined by the millions of voters who selected Trump, no matter how difficult that task may be, or how wrong we may believe they are. Unfortunately, perception is reality. I shudder to think that perhaps a chunk of voters decided to stay home Tuesday because polling numbers suggested the race was over weeks ago.

A large part of our job as journalists is covering the town, village and school board meetings that tend to have a more immediate impact on everyday life than federal politics. They are woefully vacant in most cases and admittedly covered in lackluster fashion. That falls at the feet of the media and the public. The lesson that should be gleaned across the board from this election cycle is that apathy and ignorance are not acceptable excuses.

And for those who believe there was a media conspiracy against your candidate, who simultaneously fight tooth and nail for the sanctity of the Second Amendment, don’t forget about the importance of the First Amendment. It’s what allowed pockets of Trump supporters in corners of the nation to spew their passions free of persecution, and that’s the way it should be. Images of a T-shirt worn at a Trump rally made the rounds this week. It read across the back “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.” Don’t forget, the same laws protect journalists, and there probably will be a day during this administration when you’re glad we’re on your side.

Alex Petroski is the editor of the Port Times Record.

Check out #TBRVotes on Twitter for our reporters’ on-the-ground and up-to-the-minute coverage of tonight’s election results.

National Election

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-4-41-14-pm

United States Senate

Chuck Schumer (D) v Wendy Long (R)
chuck-schumerwendy-long
      59.94%               38.26%

Following his victory, Sen. Chuck Schumer (R-NY) took to Twitter to express his reaction. “Humbled by the trust that my fellow New Yorkers have put in me to continue to do my job and represent them in the U.S. Senate. I promise to work every day to be deserving of your trust. I’ll never forget what it means that you gave me the honor of working for you.”

New York State Senate

1st District: Ken LaValle (R) v Gregory Fischer (D)
 ken-lavallegregory-fischer
      67.18%               32.73%
2nd District: John Flanagan (R) v Peter Magistrale (D) v Stephen Ruth (I) 
john-flanaganpeter-magistrale
     63.57%              32.46%

Congressional District

1st District: Lee Zeldin (R) v Anna Throne-Holst (D)
lee-zeldinanna-throne-holst
        56%                    39%
After incumbent U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) was officially declared the victor, he said, “We applaud our opponent. It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to represent the 1st congressional district.” He said while his victory is sweet, that New York is “powerful message.” He made reference to Donald Trump (R) being named president. If that were to happen, Zeldin said, “we are going to repeal and replace Obamacare. We’re going to make America great again.”
3rd District: Tom Suozzi (D) v Jack Martins (R)

tom-suozzijack-martins

          52%                        48%

Assembly

4th District: Steve Englebright (D) v Steven Weissbard (R)
steve-englebrightsteven-weissbard
      58.91%               41.03%
After hearing of the incumbent’s win, Steven Weissbard (R) said, “If you want to win, you can’t be afraid to fight. He called his opponent a “goliath.”
8th District: Mike Fitzpatrick (R) v Rich Macellaro (D)
mike-fitzpatrickrich-macellaro1
      69.81%               30.17%
10th District: Chad Lupinacci (R) v Ed Perez (D)
chad-lupinaccied-perez
      58.24%              41.71%
12th District: Andrew Raia (R) v Spencer Rumsey (D)

andrew-raiaspencer-rumsey

      65.26%              34.70%

Highway Superintendent

Smithtown: Robert Murphy (R) v Justin Smiloff (D)
robert-murphyjustin-smiloff
         69%                  30.96%

*All results are from the Suffolk County Board of Elections

Michael and Cindy Rawdin, Dix Hills residents, said they support Hillary Clinton for president. Photo by Kevin Redding

As Long Island residents get ready for election day next week, some are certain for whom they will cast their ballot, and others are still undecided.

sarahleanzaportjeffwSarah Leanza, Port Jefferson

Q: Who are you voting for?

A: Clinton. Not because I necessarily trust her like anybody else, but because he’s [Trump] a misogynist, crazy … I think he’s horrific. I’m a little nervous about her, but I think she has a lot of experience at least, and I think what is wonderful is Trump has created a situation that’s going to make her make sure she’s accountable. I think she’s going to have to be very careful while she’s in office because there are so many people behind him who are so angry, so that makes me trust her situation better. He was like a necessary evil, I think.

Roe Waltmann, Coramroewaltmanncorame

Q: Who are you voting for?

A: I like Trump. I think he’s very gung-ho and I really believe that he can do the things he says he can do — unless I’m naïve. But I don’t want Hillary Clinton; I don’t want a politician. I want somebody with new blood that’s not a politician.

Now, he’s become a politician along the way without him realizing, but I really think he can energize [the country, but] if he doesn’t get the Republican Senate he’s not going to do too much.

Even though in his mind he’s saying he could, he can’t. And my family wants Trump too because they want somebody new, and that’s how we all feel. I think he’s so energetic and he can revitalize things, and I know he’s going to surround himself with good people. But he should keep his mouth closed sometimes.

ericcorleyportjeffw

Eric Corley, Port Jefferson

Q: Who are you voting for?

A: Clinton, because she knows what she’s doing, and there may be some stuff I don’t agree with — probably a lot of stuff — but you have to think of all the people that are going to be brought in as a result of a Clinton administration as opposed to the people who would be brought in with a Trump administration. You look at all the things that have changed over the last eight years, not all of which are good, but so much has changed and that’s all the result of who we elected. We have to think beyond the personalities and beyond whatever is in the media, so that’s why I think it’s an easy choice.

Tommy Parris, Port Jeffersontommyparrisportjeffw

Q: Who are you voting for?

A: I actually truly haven’t decided yet. I mean, I was leaning more toward Trump initially. There’s not enough accurate information out there; a lot of the stuff that they’re putting out there is very vague, very generic. They’re not being too specific in their campaigns. Everyone’s spoon feeding everybody what they want to hear. They’re basically telling them “Oh yeah, we’re going to make more money, we’re going to fix the economy.” It’s all slogans and sales pitches. And coming from someone in sales, you can see right through that. What’s the plan that goes beyond that?

I like the fact that although Trump is not as delicate as he should be or as sensitive with the way he uses his words, he’s more transparent in the sense that you know who you’re dealing with for better or worse, so you can kind of know what to expect. With Hillary, she’s more quiet, cunning; you really don’t know much what’s going on. She’s a better politician when it comes down to it. I think it would be good to have a Republican state of mind back in the office just to kind of balance things out.

raymonddiazmountsinaieRaymond Diaz, Mount Sinai

Q: Who are you voting for?

A: Donald J. Trump, because of the political corruption and the political correctness with Hillary. It just kills me all the scandals and all the people covering up for her; it’s horrible. Trump says some mean things but would you rather have someone say a bunch of horrible things to your face and be your friend or talk behind your back? Oh, it makes me sick. I am such a die-hard Trump fan, and it’s not that I love Trump. We just need change. All the corruption in the government, and she’s just a liar.

Trump’s not the best guy in the world, but even if he does a horrible job, what’s wrong with wiping out the government for four years? Getting all the corrupt people out and starting from scratch.

mikebarbamalvernewMike Barba, Malverne

Q: Who are you voting for?

A: I’m actually voting for Gary Johnson, just because I don’t agree with Hillary [Clinton] on matters, and I don’t think Trump has enough political experience for it. He just talks a little too much for my liking, so I’ll be doing the alternative independent vote.

Although Gary Johnson had some slipups on his foreign policy, I still think there should be more than a two-party system in the country. In the United Kingdom, they have more than two, as well as a few other countries.

When conservatives and liberals are so far left and far right, it’s nice to have more of a middle ground and somebody who’s more bipartisan on a bunch of matters. Even though the independents realistically won’t win — him or Jill Stein — I think there will be enough independent votes that it will be a little more eye-opening for the country in general just to see “wow, maybe there should be a third candidate to be putting in.”

michaelcindyrawdinphotowMichael and Cindy Rawdin, Dix Hills

Q: Who are you voting for?

Michael: I’d only vote for Clinton. I know she’s imperfect but I would never dream of voting for [Trump] because I know him personally and he’s a disgraceful human being. I owned a website, GoTrump.com, that we opened in January 2006. We had it for 3 years with that “lovely” man. His staff was great, he was disgraceful … always.

Cindy: We brought him into the online travel industry. He wasn’t it in then in 2006. But because of his greed as well, we did not make a lot of money because Trump cut the biggest piece of pie for himself. We really know that Clinton is the brightest and most sophisticated and most experienced, and she’s an elitist. She’s intelligent.

Michael: She actually knows what she’s speaking about. The other one is faking it at all times. He didn’t even prep for the debates, which I found truly amazing. People are so desperate for change that they’ll vote for a psychopath. He’s really quite sick. The stupid things he says, the idiotic way he reacts, the fact that he screwed thousands of little guys out of their money. They’d go work at the Taj Mahal and just get screwed. He’s so unfit to be anything but a… make believe billionaire. He’s just a fraud.

craigmarcottwCraig Marcott, Huntington

Q: Who are you voting for?

A: It’s really an election of the perceived lesser of two evils in this case. My vote will be on the Republican ticket because I think he’s the lesser of the two evils in this one. It’s been incredible. Right down to the end, they’re just not stopping, between the email stuff on one side, the stuff on him on the other side. They’re two of the most defective candidates we’ve ever had. I’m voting more for the philosophy and for the Supreme Court justices. I don’t think our country can handle two more liberal Supreme Court justices that will rule the country for the next quarter of the century.

State Sen. Ken LaValle will build on 40 years of service with another term. File photo by Barbara Donlon
State Sen. Ken LaValle will build on 40 years of service with another term. File photo by Barbara Donlon

Voters in the first senatorial district have two excellent candidates to choose from on Election Day. Incumbent Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) was first elected to the New York State Senate in 1976 and has been re-elected 19 times since.  He prides himself on being one of its most productive legislators in terms of bill introduction, bills that pass the Senate and bills that go on to pass both houses. He calls this a record of “relevancy” and we agree. He works hard for our district, understands its problems and thinks there’s more he can do — especially in combatting the heroin/opioid addiction crisis and increasing environmental protections.

His challenger, Gregory Fischer (D) has some interesting ideas and brings the perspective of a business background to his analysis of the issues facing the district and the state. A self-professed reformer, he believes that the Senate needs new blood — and more specifically, blood of the Democratic persuasion.

We endorse Senator LaValle for a 20th term because we believe he has done great work for his constituents and will continue to do so for another two years. His seniority in a body that rewards it, makes him an even more powerful advocate for our interests.

Image by Mike Sheinkopf
Image by Mike Sheinkopf

By Elina Mukherjee

In India, 8,431 miles away and 18 months earlier, the American election campaign was an obscure topic of discussion for me. Things would not have changed much to this present day had it not been so much of a ridiculous spectacle. From the outside, when you look at how a country like America would conduct its campaign, you expect suavity for that matter. But even to a layman, what would garner attention is the total brashness of the nature of the campaign and its controversies.

For one, Donald J. Trump has been the star of the show with his specimen of utter cloddishness and hard-hearted comments as a presidential candidate on topics related to Islam, his salacious comments on women and his brashness of belonging to the elite class. Where on one hand, many eminent leaders and visionaries root for peace and unity by bridging the gap between national mind-sets and borders, Trump, in his extremist self, is advocating the very opposite. Building a wall to prevent Mexican invasion of the country or putting an extra scan on Muslims who enter the States, to only name a few, stimulate the fire. What is unprecedented is the staggering number of Trump supporters who think him to be a fresh breath of air in the race for the White House. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has come out better, maintaining a dignified stance and prompting fewer furrowed eyebrows. But overall, this election has been nothing less than a mockery to the world of what America has come to.

Dividing in the name of religion is a potential peril. The unpalatable truth for the citizens is to understand the pressure they are under, bearing the tag of being the foremost nation in the world and always being looked up to, its leader should lead the way to a promising future because the world is in dire need of help. As an Indian, it is sad to see Indian Americans — or a group of Indians back home — supporting Trump primarily on the basis of their common abhorrence of Islam. However dark it may sound, a lot of us harbor grudges or hatred against other communities or peoples or sects. But, if a world leader starts encouraging people to express their grudges overtly, that sets a dangerous example. It unites people based on a wrong cause where the effect of such ill preaching is not limited nationally but tends to go worldwide. In order to maintain a good relationship with India, his camaraderie should be toward Indians in general and not Hindus particularly, as India also has the third largest Muslim population in the world.

Unlike American elections, Indian national elections do not have debates among the candidates. In India, and in numerous other countries in the world, candidates routinely attempt to bolster their position by slandering others, by trading insults. In a democracy, I reckon, having debates between candidates is a progressive step. However, going by the nature of the last three debates, its principal purpose seems to have been defeated for the most part.

America has always led from the front when it comes to being progressive. The cornerstone of much of Trump’s election campaign has been dissemination of negativity and animosity. Many of his proposed policies are regressive to say the least. As an outsider, I — and many others like me — fear that if America chooses divisiveness over integration, it would be a harsh moral setback for many of the developing countries.

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