The Times of Smithtown circulation area includes two Suffolk County legislative districts: 12 and 13. The 12th District encompasses Nesconset and Lake Grove and extends west through portions of St. James into Commack. The 13th District extends from Fort Salonga east to St. James.
Currently, two Republicans represent the areas, Leslie Kennedy and Robert Trotta, respectively. Overall, the Democrats with an 11-7 ratio, have a majority rule in the county, as it has for the last 13 years. Republicans held the majority for 33 years prior to that.
Many analysts say that this year’s election could potentially see a shift in power or perhaps tie the representation. So a lot is at stake.
District 12: Parts of Smithtown, Nesconset, Hauppauge, Village of the Branch, Lake Grove, parts of St. James, Commack, Lake Ronkonkoma and Centereach
Smithtown resident Margot Rosenthal, a nurse-practitioner, midwife and a Smithtown Democratic Committee person is challenging incumbent candidate Leslie Kennedy. Rosenthal did not attend the debate hosted by TBR News Media. According to her online profile, she seeks to address health care, housing, education, environmental causes and improve access to mental health care. She is committed to combating the opioid crisis and teen vaping. She has worked for 39 years with underprivileged patients.
Kennedy, a Nesconset resident, has worked for 13 years as a legislative aide to both Donald Blydenburgh and her husband John Kennedy. She was elected to her seat in 2015, when her husband became the county’s comptroller.
In a one-on-one interview, Kennedy said that she loves government and policymaking but hates politics. Her background in the medical field, she said, provides the county with useful insights that contribute to the county’s response to the opioid epidemic. She is opposed to the county’s current cesspool/septic system replacement initiative to reduce nitrogen. The systems, she said, are ineffective. Peter Scully, Suffolk County deputy executive, who is addressing the county’s water quality issues, said that nothing can be further from the truth.
Kennedy opposes the red-light camera bill, stating that it mainly targets and enforces questionable violations of right turns on red. The affordable housing issue, she said, is one of her top concerns.
Some of her proudest accomplishments include the preservation of the Nissequoque River’s headwaters.