A former Suffolk County legislator and a longtime Huntington political hopeful will face off to fill Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci’s (R) former state Assembly seat.
Democrat Steve Stern, who previously represented the 16th District in the Suffolk County Legislature, will campaign against Republican Party candidate Janet Smitelli in the April 24 special election to fill the
vacancy in the 10th District of the New York State Assembly.
“It’s going to be a very condensed campaign, a campaign where every second counts,” said Toni Tepe, chairwoman of the Huntington Republican Committee.
Smitelli was selected by the Suffolk County Republican Committee Feb. 12 after several candidates were screened, according to Tepe, and Lupinacci was part of the screening committee.
“I think she’s an excellent choice to fight for us in the state Legislature,” Lupinacci said. “She’s very involved in the community and has a great background in terms of public service. She has the background, the fortitude and the skills needed to represent the 10th Assembly District.”
I think she’s an excellent choice to fight for us in the state Legislature.”
— Chad Lupinacci
Smitelli is a civil litigator who has lived in Huntington for more than 20 years. A member of the Republican committee for more than 10 years, she is active locally with the Boy Scouts and has served as an assistant Scoutmaster.
In 2015, Smitelli ran an unsuccessful campaign against incumbent Suffolk County Legislator Lou D’Amaro (D-North Babylon) in the hopes of representing the 17th Legislative District. If elected in April, it would be her first time holding a political office, according to Tepe.
“I believe she will run a strong campaign and she is certainly a supporter of the Republican initiatives and agenda,” the party chairwoman said. “She will be very conscientious of constituent services and saving money for the taxpayers she represents.”
Rich Schaffer, chairman of the Suffolk County Democratic Committee, said Stern won his party’s nomination.
“I think he’s an excellent candidate,” said Mary Collins, chairwoman of the Huntington Town Democratic Committee, citing Stern’s record as a legislator. “He was very attentive to constituents and he worked on many issues that were important to his district.”
“[Stern] was very attentive to constituents and he worked on many issues that were important to his district.”— Mary Collins
Stern left the county Legislature Dec. 31, term limited from office after 12 years representing the 16th District. He sat on the Suffolk County Veterans and Seniors Committee and previously touted his accomplishments to include the Housing Our Homeless Heroes initiative, a package of bills that aimed to end veteran homelessness in Suffolk, and the creation of the Silver Alert system designed to locate missing senior citizens.
Stern called himself a leading proponent of sewer infrastructure development during his 2015 campaign. He co-sponsored legislation identifying what areas would be best served by sewers and choosing how to prioritize which neighborhoods get developed first, which he said was particularly crucial to Huntington.
The party whose candidate is elected April 24 to represent the 10th District will serve approximately 130,000 residents, according to 2010 census data, which includes all or part of Cold Spring Harbor, East Northport, Greenlawn, Lloyd Harbor, Lloyd Neck, Melville, Huntington and Huntington Station.
This story was last updated Feb. 16 @ 2:05 p.m.