2021 Elections

Photo by Julianne Mosher

By Nancy Marr

What can we say about our recent election?  In Suffolk the loss of their seats by many local Democratic legislators was a surprise. Although a majority of voters in Suffolk County tend to vote Republican, Democratic legislators had been doing well for many years with little opposition. Was it because voters were critical of the dissension among the Democrats in Washington, as many analysts said? 

Editor and columnist Ezra Klein quoted data scientist David Shor, who said that the Democrats lost many lower income voters, particularly Hispanics, because of their emphasis on issues like defunding the police. Shor also said they should have talked up the issues that were the most popular and kept quiet about the others. Or did the struggle between the parties cause a lot of “no” votes on principal? 

But, coming back to Suffolk County, why were three of the five NYS ballot propositions defeated so profoundly? Many voters reported robocalls urging them to vote “no” for propositions one, three, and four. Proposition #1 would have removed a requirement included in the amendment of 2014 (that first created New York State’s independent redistricting commission), which said that there must be at least one vote from the minority on the maps that are submitted. (The League of Women Voters opposed Proposition #1, believing that it was important to give both parties a chance to have meaningful participation in redistricting).  

Propositions #3 and #4 would have made voting much easier. #3 would have it possible for a citizen to register closer to the day of the election, instead of having to register ten days before the election, as specified in the NYS Constitution. And proposition #4 would have removed the restrictive requirements to get an absentee ballot, allowing voters to vote at home if they wished, or if their work schedule interfered with the election schedule. 

Were Suffolk voters agreeing with voters in many other states who didn’t seem to want to make voting easier? Were the election results just an example of the flow of history? Perhaps the election was the natural response of Republican party leaders who found ways to convince voters to fight to gain control, while the Democratic leaders did not effectively work to get out the vote. There were issues that voters were concerned about: educational issues around teaching black history; privacy issues around mandated vaccinations; and the dilemma of schools being closed for much of the year, that Republican and Conservative campaigners emphasized to build support.   

Many voters may not know how, or do not make the effort, to evaluate the candidates who are actually running and instead rely on information on flyers and social media. The League of Women Voters, which is nonpartisan and never supports or opposes any candidate or party, sponsors candidate debates, on zoom and in person when possible, where candidates introduce themselves and answer questions. 

The League provides information from all the candidates in an online database, VOTE411.org, which provides information to each voter about their registration status, where they will vote, and their entire ballot, including all offices and any propositions.  Newsday and most of the local newspapers also print information about all the candidates and their experience and opinions, explaining why they are endorsing them, if they do.  

Voters who are informed are better able to select candidates who will represent their interests. Voters will now also have a chance to ensure that the election districts for New York State Assembly and Senate and the United States Congress are fair, representing their community and its population. 

Prior to the 2020 Census, the changes in district lines were drawn by a legislative committee, representing the political parties. In 2014, a Constitutional Amendment was passed creating an independent redistricting commission (NY IRC) for New York State. It is charged with revising the district lines to accord with the findings of the United State Census in a manner that is fair and nonpolitical. 

On November 23, the IRC will hold a hearing for Suffolk County at Stony Brook University’s Wang Center. To learn more about the new district lines and how to attend or testify at the hearing, go to https://nyirc.gov/ and review the current maps and the revisions. The testimonies at the hearing will influence the New York State Legislature, which will either accept the maps or send them back for revisions. If after two revisions no plan is approved by the IRC, the redistricting will go back to the Legislature to be drawn.  

The IRC hearings offer every citizen the opportunity to give input about how they will be governed, just as casting a vote in an election will help select a candidate who represents you. 

Nancy Marr is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of Suffolk County, a nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Visit www.lwv-suffolkcounty.org or call 631-862-6860. 

Photo by Rita J. Egan

One Democrat is declaring victory after many of her fellow party members were swept away by the “red wave.”

County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), who was seeking her sixth term in the Legislature, declared victory last week in a press release.

While the Suffolk County Board of Elections is still counting write-in votes, based on the numbers of ballots left, Hahn has claimed she has an insurmountable lead. According to her camp, she stands at a 752-vote lead with only 52 provisional ballots left to count. Her total vote share is over 52%.

“I’m honored to have the ongoing support of the community where I grew up and have served for the last decade.” Hahn said. “I look forward to continuing to deliver results on issues that can make a meaningful impact in the day-to-day lives of working families in this community.”

The 5th Legislative District includes the Three Village area, Port Jefferson, Port Jefferson Station and Terryville.

By Rita J. Egan and Julianne Mosher

Election night, Nov. 2, found many Democratic candidates gathering at the IBEW Local 25 union hall in Hauppauge, while Republicans attended a get together at Stereo Garden in Patchogue. The Hauppauge event was a more somber one as some Democrats in the county lost their seats, while other races were close ones.

Rich Schaffer, who heads up the Suffolk County Democratic Committee, said Tuesday night’s results spoke more about what was happening on the national level than about the candidates.

“This was just, as you see, a big wave that took out some really good elected officials, and if you were a challenger, you had even a steeper row to hoe as opposed to an easy time, like we’ve normally been able to do,” he said.

While candidates and supporters eagerly awaited the results of in-person votes, the final tallies may not be known in some races for a few weeks due to the Suffolk County Board of Elections still needing to count absentee ballots. Results are as of the morning of Nov. 3.

Suffolk County district attorney

The race between county District Attorney Tim Sini (D) and prosecutor Ray Tierney, who ran on the Republican and Conservative lines, was a contentious one. At the forefront, Tierney questioned whether Sini has been as tough on crime as the DA himself has said, especially regarding the MS-13 gang.

At the end of the night, Tierney emerged the winner with 154,569 votes (57.34%). Sini garnered 114,943 (42.64%). Sini was first elected to the position in 2017.

“I am proud and humbled to stand before you here today,” Tierney said during his victory speech. “Despite being running against an incumbent, despite not having a lot of money in the beginning, despite not having the support of a lot of institutions — not for one day did I feel like an underdog, because of you guys.”

Tierney added his goal is to “fight every day to keep the citizens of Suffolk County safe.”

“I will reach out into the community to develop relationships so we can all have faith in our district attorney’s office,” he said.

Suffolk County sheriff

Errol Toulon Jr. (D) has been county sheriff since 2017 and was seeking his second term this election season. His opponent, William Amato, who ran on the Republican ticket, was not actively campaigning.

At the end of the night, Toulon was declared the winner with 142,510 (54.28%). Amato received 119,947 (45.69%).

Toulon Tuesday night was overwhelmed as he thanked those in attendance at the union hall.

“I do want to thank all of you for your constant support, not just your support now, but over the last four years of talking to me and encouraging me during some difficult circumstances in taking over the sheriff’s office, and I hope to do a better job over the next four years than I did over the last four years,” Toulon said. 

Suffolk County legislators

County Legislator Nick Caracappa (R-Selden) won his seat for the 4th Legislative District with 8,748 votes (71.52%). Caracappa took on the role during a special election in 2020 following the death of Legislator Tom Muratore (R-Ronkonkoma). The incumbent’s opponent, Dawn Sharrock, on the Democratic ticket, had a total of 3,476 votes (28.42%).

“I’m looking forward to​​ making real changes,” Caracappa said. “All the families here work hard and they deserve this victory — not just for the Republicans, this is for everybody. It’s a victory for Suffolk County — it’s a victory for the hardworking middle class.”

Sharrock said Tuesday night she sees herself running for office again.

“I honestly feel like I’ve learned so much,” she said. “I’ve grown so much. I’ve learned even just so much about myself. It’s been an experience that I’m so glad I was able to have. I’ve been surrounded by so many wonderful people, so many people who have supported me, never doubting my ability. It’s inspiring, and it’s uplifting. I have two daughters, a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old, and they’re so inspired by my journey and that means so much.”

Caracappa said he hopes that Sharrock continues to serve her community.

“It’s not easy to do that,” he said. “I respect anybody who wants to make positive change.”

The race in the county’s 5th District, which includes the Three Village Area and Port Jefferson, is a tight one. County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) was in the lead with 7,582 votes (50.25%). Salvatore Isabella, who ran on the Republican ticket and did not actively campaign, had 7,508 votes (49.75%).

The night was a nail-biter for Hahn, who is up for her sixth term.

“I am cautiously optimistic that once all the votes are counted, voters will return me to office and I’ll be honored to continue to serve my community,” Hahn said in a statement Wednesday morning. “I look forward to continuing my work to protect our Long Island way of life and make a difference for our working families.”

County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) was seeking her sixth term in office. The incumbent trailed with 7,141 votes (42.10%). Town of Brookhaven employee Brendan Sweeney won the race with 8,329 votes (49.11%). The newcomer ran on the Republican ticket. Conservative candidate Anthony DeSimone garnered 1,488 votes (8.77%).

Sweeney declared victory during Tuesday night’s event.

“It feels so good,” he said. “The voters spoke. They want change for this county and now with me and the rest of the newly elected legislators, we can do what’s best for the people.”

Anker said she was hoping to continue as she has many projects she would like to complete.

“I’ll continue to do something to stay in the area of helping people, that’s my goal, my priority, and I appreciate all those people that came out to vote,” she said. “But this was, I think, a national tsunami.”

The legislator added her 6th District is a Republican area, and it has always been an uphill battle for her.

“I’m just very fortunate to have served as long as I have, over 10 years, and do all the projects and initiatives that I have,” she said.

In the 12th District which includes parts of the Town of Smithtown, Lake Grove, Lake Ronkonkoma and Centereach, county Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) won her fourth term in office with 12,629 votes (74.57%). Her opponent Mike Siderakis, who ran unsuccessfully for state senator against Mario Mattera (R-St. James) last year, stopped actively campaigning this summer. Siderakis obtained 4,301 votes (25.40%).

Kennedy said during her victory speech at Stereo Garden that the win proves how well the party works together.

“We work hard, we have good values and we stand together as a team,” she said.

County Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) garnered 10,896 votes (53.09%) and won his fifth term in office. Also on the ballot were Democrat Kevin Mulholland, who didn’t actively campaign, and won 4,693 votes (22.87%), and Michael Simonelli on the Conservative ticket, who campaigned but didn’t debate Trotta this election season. Simonelli had 4,932 votes (24.03%).

The district includes parts of Smithtown as well as Fort Salonga and portions of Commack and East Northport.

Trotta in an email statement said, “I am thrilled and honored that the people of the 13th Legislative District did not pay attention to the outright lies made by the police unions, of which my Conservative opponent was the treasurer, and [the people] voted for me based upon my record of fighting for the taxpayers, working for fiscal stability and helping my constituents.”

The 18th District, which sits in the Town of Huntington, included candidates Mark Cuthbertson (D), currently serving as Huntington Town councilman, and Stephanie Bontempi, a newcomer to the political field. The two decided to vie for the seat after county Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) decided not to run this year. He is currently facing charges for allegedly trading oxycodone for sex.

Bontempi emerged the winner with 11,419 votes (53.89%), while Cuthbertson 9,765 votes (46.08%).

“Today is a new day for Suffolk County,” she said. “With this victory, we readily flipped the balance of power in the Legislature. We changed the list of priorities. Our neighbors and the community have chosen accountability, transparency and integrity. They’ve chosen a peer over an insider. I cannot wait to get started in working with my new colleagues.”

Cuthbertson said he never says never, but he doesn’t see himself going back to town politics currently. He said he was glad he ran for county legislator.

“We laid it all out there, and I’m at peace with how much we did,” he said.

Town of Brookhaven

Incumbent Donna Lent (R) faced Ira Costell (D) running for town clerk of the Town of Brookhaven. Lent, who is serving her second term as town clerk, has managed day-to-day operations such as issuing death certificates and handicap parking permits, while land-use applications are filed within the office.

Costell has taken leadership roles in environmental causes such as the Suffolk County Watershed Protection Advisory Committee and served as chair of the county’s Pine Barrens Review Commission. He has been passionate about the fight against opioid addiction and prescription drug abuse.

Lent won her seat with 54,318 votes (67.91%), while Costell had 25,642 (32.06%).

Town of Smithtown

Incumbent Ed Wehrheim (R) faced Democrat and newcomer to the political field Maria Scheuring in the race for Smithtown supervisor. The incumbent has been a part of town government for nearly 50 years. He won his first term as supervisor in 2017 after beating out Patrick Vecchio (R) who served in the position for nearly four decades.

Scheuring, an attorney, grew up in the Bronx, and moved to Smithtown in 2006 where she has a private practice dealing in matters from guardianship to visiting clients in nursing homes to looking over music contracts.

Smithtown residents voted back in Wehrheim Nov. 2. The incumbent had 20,446 votes (75.01%), while Scheuring garnered 6,806 (24.97%).

In an email statement, Wehrheim said he was humble and grateful for the support.

“Our first election cycle we set out to talk with the people in the community,” he said. “We didn’t preach or promise. We simply asked, ‘What do you want from your local leaders?’ We then devoted these past four years to delivering for the community. We didn’t kick the can and wait for help when COVID-19 inflicted its wrath upon us. We looked at every obstacle as an opportunity. I believe that the voting public visually and physically sees what we’ve accomplished in a short period of time: the parks, athletic fields, community entertainment, downtown improvements. They want more and we are eager to deliver.”

Scheuring said Tuesday night she learned a lot during the campaign and just how complicated it can be. The newcomer to the political field said she is interested in seeking office in the future, and she said regarding a position such as town supervisor the issues aren’t Democratic or Republican.

“It’s more, ‘Do we think this is the best for the town?’” she said.

Town of Smithtown councilmembers, Lynne Nowick (R) and Tom McCarthy (R), regained their seats with 19.833 votes (37.46%) for Nowick and 19,753 votes (37.31%) for McCarthy. Democratic candidates, Dylan Rice and Marc Etts, did not actively campaign and received 6,965 (13.16%) and 6,378 votes (12.05%) respectively.

Nowick thanked voters for putting their trust in her in an email statement.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Town Board to keep Smithtown the alluring town that it is,” she said. “Quality of life in Smithtown is the highest priority. We will all continue to preserve our beautiful parks, beaches, golf courses and clean up any eyesores to keep Smithtown beautiful.”

McCarthy said in an email statement the voters sent a loud and clear message, and “it was a great night, not just for us but for all of Long Island.”

“I am extremely grateful to the Smithtown voters for their continued support and am eager to devote these next four years to delivering for the constituency,” he said. “We’re on the cusp of some big improvements coming to Smithtown, with a timeline to sewering Smithtown in place, a shovel in the ground in Kings Park, slated for January and St. James has never looked so good. We’re going to finish what we started and then some, creating an ideal community for our young professionals, families and seniors to call home indefinitely.”

Vincent Puleo ran unopposed for town clerk, and Robert Murphy was also the lone name on the ballot for superintendent of highways.

Town of Huntington

Two councilmen and a newcomer were on the ballots for Town of Huntington supervisor after current town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) decided not to seek reelection. Councilmen Ed Smyth (R) and Eugene Cook, who ran as a third-party Independent candidate, gained 25,409 (56.34%) and 1,746 (3.87%) votes, respectively.

Democratic candidate Rebecca Sanin, president and CEO of nonprofit Health & Welfare Council of Long Island, had 17,940 votes (39.78%).

With councilmen Cuthbertson running for county legislator and Smyth running for town supervisor, two seats were up for grabs on the Town Board. Candidates David Bennardo and Sal Ferro ran on the Republican and Conservative party lines, while Joseph Schramm and Jennifer Hebert ran on the Democratic ticket. Bennardo and Ferro emerged the winners with 26,669 (30.46%) and 25,206 (28.79%), respectively. Hebert had 18,335 votes (20.94%) and Schramm 17,328 (19.79%).

Andre Sorrentino beat out incumbent Kevin Orelli for superintendent of highways with 25,565 votes (56.69%). Orelli garnered 19,524 (43.29%).

Stock photo

Polls closed at 9 p.m. and TBR News Media will update the results throughout the night.

The following are not the final election tallies, as the Suffolk County Board of Elections still has to count all absentee ballots starting. All current results can possibly change in the next few weeks, and those finding themselves in even moderately close races could see a shift.

As of  12:30 a.m:

Suffolk County District Attorney

Tim Sini (D) – 108277 votes 42.69%

Ray Tierney (R) – 145292 votes 57.28%

Suffolk County Sheriff

Errol Toulon Jr. (D) –  135162 votes 54.39%

William Amato (R) – 113285 votes 45.58%

Suffolk County Legislator, 6th District:

Sarah Anker (D) – 7141 votes

Brendan Sweeney (R) – 8329 votes

Suffolk County Legislator, 5th District:

Kara Hahn (D) – 7582votes

Salvatore Isabella (R) – 7508 votes

Suffolk County Legislator, 4th District:

Dawn Marie Sharrock (D) – 3066 votes

Nicholas Caracappa (R) – 7702 votes

Suffolk County Legislator, 16th District:

Susan Berland (D) – 5640 votes

Manuel Esteban (R) – 6165 votes

Suffolk County Legislator, 12th District: 

Leslie Kennedy (R) – 6754 votes

Mike Sidekaris (D) – 2411 votes

Suffolk County Legislator, 13th District: 

Rob Trotta (R) – 5761 votes

Kevin Mulholland (D) – 2564 votes

Michael Simonelli (C) – 2675 votes

Suffolk County Legislator, 18th District:

Mark Cuthbertson (D) – 9765 votes

Stephanie Bontempi (R) – 11419 votes

Brookhaven town clerk:

Donna Lent (R) – 54085 votes 67.89%

Ira Costell (D) – 25546 votes 32.07%

Huntington supervisor:

Rebecca Sanin (D) – 17782 votes 39.90%

Edmund Smyth (R) – 25057 votes 56.22%

Eugene Cook (Stop LIPA) – 1727 votes 3.87%

Huntington town council member – two seats:

Jen Hebert (D) – 18174 votes 21.01%

Joseph Schramm (D) – 17171 votes 19.85%

Dave Bennardo (R) – 26300 votes 30.41%

Salvatore Ferro (R) – 24835 votes 28.71%

Huntington superintendent of highways:

Kevin Orelli (D) – 19338 votes 43.39%

Andre Sorrentino (R) – 25216 votes 59.58%

Smithtown town supervisor:

Ed Wehrheim (R) – 20446 votes 75.01%

Maria Scheuring (D) – 6806 votes 24.97%

Smithtown town council member – two seats:

Thomas McCarthy (R) – 19753 votes 37.31%

Lynne Nowick (R) – 19833 votes 37.46%

Dylan Rice (D) – 6965 votes 13.16%

Marc Etts (D) – 6378 votes 12.05%

Smithtown town clerk:

Vincent Puleo (R) – 18537 votes 99.80%

Smithtown superintendent of highways:

Robert Murphy (R) – 22231 votes 99.80 %


Stock photo

TBR News Media published its endorsements in the Oct. 28 editions of our papers, which run from Wading River in the Town of Brookhaven to Cold Spring Harbor in Huntington along the North Shore. As always, these are only our opinions, and we urge you to learn about the candidates and make your own decisions as to whom you will give your vote. We merely share our impressions with you, feeling it our duty since we have personally interviewed them.

Sini is leading DA’s office in the right direction

Photo by Rita J. Egan

We were impressed with the passion of both Tim Sini (D) and Ray Tierney (R), and they both brought good ideas to the table during the recent TBR News Media debate. They also were ready to back up what they said during the interview with documentation.

While Tierney has more experience in the courtroom, Sini made a good point during the debate that being DA is more than being a prosecutor, it’s also about managing the office. This is an important fact as the DA’s office, like many in Suffolk County, has a great deal of taxpayers money to manage. We felt that the current DA has more of a sense of the overall responsibilities.

The relationships Sini has forged through the years with fellow elected officials in the county are also important. Being voted into office after Tom Spota (D) was removed as DA, Sini was tasked with revamping the office. We think he has done a good job in doing so, and we would like to see him continue in the office.

We hope that Tierney, who said he never thought he would be involved in politics, will stay in the arena. He has a lot of good ideas and the passion behind them to fight for the public.

Toulon the only pick for county sheriff

File photo by Kevin Redding

With current Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr.’s (D) only opponent effectively just a name on a ballot box, as he is not actively campaigning, Suffolk voters only really have one choice come Nov. 2. However, we can still give our sincere endorsement to Toulon, who for the past four years has been a pillar of integrity in law enforcement and beyond.

Our interview with Toulon also revealed just how hard change can be regarding Suffolk’s jail system. Despite inroads with trying to help the county’s nonviolent jail population, especially with great ideas like the sheriff’s START Resource Center, a lack of adequate funds for more in-house psychologist staff means it remains tough to give people aid before they reenter society. We agree with Toulon that mental health remains a constant problem in society. The nonprofit advocacy group Prison Policy Initiative reports that more than 44% of locally run jail populations are diagnosed with a mental illness. It only makes sense to get them help when in jail before they have another encounter with law enforcement.

We hope that Toulon keeps pushing for such funds. It was also concerning to hear just how understaffed the sheriff’s department currently is, and it remains incumbent on Suffolk officials along with the Sheriff’s Office to recruit staff. Unfortunately, like much of the law enforcement community, too many of the Sheriff’s Office law enforcement remain unvaccinated. Combined with them interacting with a population of inmates with low vaccination rates, the spread of COVID-19 among officers and inmates remains a key concern.

While we appreciate the COVID precautions in Suffolk jails, and while we understand there is no requirement in Suffolk that law enforcement be vaccinated, we believe top brass of law enforcement need to do more to campaign for vaccinations among staff.

Still, Toulon remains a steadfast and effective sheriff who has found support from both sides of the political divide. We hope he continues with the good work and we look forward to the next four years.

Go with Cuthbertson’s experience in the 18th Legislative District

Photo from Cuthbertson

Both Mark Cuthbertson and Stephanie Bontempi bring a lot of good ideas to the table, and we appreciated their cordialness toward each other despite their campaigns getting off to a bad start with contentious mailers. Both also seemed apologetic about the literature. It shows that both are capable of reaching across party lines and working with others. The fact that they agreed on many issues also demonstrated this character.

In this race, we endorse Cuthbertson whose approach we felt was backed by more facts and data than his opponent. The town councilman also has experience working with elected officials on all levels which would help him to hit the ground running if chosen as county legislator in his district.

We hope that Bontempi will continue to be involved in the town and seek public office in the future if she’s not elected on Nov. 2 to the county legislator seat, as she has a fresh perspective that would be an asset during these divisive times. We were also impressed with her concerns for those in the social services system.

Trotta fights the good fight

Photo by Rita J. Egan

During this election campaign, we have found many candidates who are just placeholders on the ballot. We were disappointed to find that Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta’s (R-Fort Salonga) opponents in the 13th Legislative District were not available to debate him. His Democratic opponent is not actively campaigning, and while his Conservative opponent has plenty of signs around the district, he didn’t respond to our requests to debate Trotta. We understand that he has not debated Trotta at all this election season.

We respect that, as a former law enforcement officer, Trotta doesn’t just rubber stamp pay increases for county police officers. While he believes they should be properly compensated, as do we, he doesn’t believe that pay raises should be three times the cost of living. In other words, he understands that one of his jobs is to manage taxpayers money.

He also is a proponent of sewering in the district and is ready to work with towns on this matter.

Rob Trotta has our endorsement.

Leslie Kennedy steps up to the plate

File photo by Desirée Keegan

In the race for Suffolk County legislator in the 12th Legislative District, we endorse Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset).

While some have criticized Kennedy for having a laid-back attitude at times, the legislator has shown time and time again she cares about her constituents.

She can be seen regularly at community events talking with residents, trying to find out what’s on their minds. When she has to deal with an issue, she talks to all parties involved. Sometimes an elected official doesn’t have to grandstand to make a difference.

We were disappointed that her opponent Mike Siderakis (D), stopped actively campaigning a few months ago. Last year he ran for state senator against Mario Mattera (R-St. James) and had a lot of good ideas and solutions. We would have liked the opportunity to sit down with him and hear how he felt about county issues and how to solve them, especially since earlier in his campaign he organized a few press conferences to discuss local issues.

Kennedy has shown once again that she is there to represent her district.

A tough decision for District 4

Nick Caracappa. Photo by Julianne Mosher

While incumbent Nick Caracappa (R-Selden) and newcomer Dawn Sharrock of Selden both have their pros and cons, TBR News Media will leave the choice to you, our readers.

Caracappa, won a special election in 2020 to fill the vacant seat of former District 4 legislator, Tom Muratore (R-Ronkonkoma) and for the last year has done great things.

In the short amount of time in his position, he spearheaded the removal of Stagecoach Elementary School as a voting site, assisted senior veterans with receiving the COVID-19 vaccinations early on and composed a letter to then-governor Andrew Cuomo (D) addressing the dire conditions of our local roadways — which was signed by all 17 legislators and later resulted in the state allocating an addition $30 million to roadway repairs.

However, it is concerning that he led a “anti-mandate” rally, which encourages people to say “no” to the COVID-19 vaccine. While vaccinated himself, and his family, we feel that the role of government is to protect its citizens — especially during a worldwide pandemic that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives.

Dawn Sharrock. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Sharrock is sharp and has a bright future ahead of her. Her roles working on the Middle Country School Board have been impressive. She’s good at it, and we hope she will continue doing that for now. A mother within the district, and one who is involved and caring of our children’s well-beings, we encourage her to attend meetings and get more county experience.

We want her to continue doing the great work she does with our local school district and to keep growing while doing so. With more experience, she could be an excellent candidate down the road for higher office.

Kara Hahn will continue to lead in 2021

Kara Hahn. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Hahn has proven herself over the last several years in her position as county legislator. The current deputy presiding officer, she has done wonderful things for the local community and has always been there to help her constituents when asked.

As an elected official who cares for her environment, Hahn has sponsored legislation to reduce the use of single-use plastics, ban the sale of products containing microbeads, increased fines for illegal dumping and preserved open spaces in Setauket and Port Jefferson Station.

She has improved public access to county parkland by adding parking facilities where none previously existed at McAllister County Park in Belle Terre and new amenities at Forsythe Meadow County Park and Old Field Farm by West Meadow Beach.

But she has also been an advocate for victims of domestic violence and a supporter of small business.

Hahn’s opponent, Republican Salvatore Isabella, has not been actively campaigning and refused to talk to media throughout his run.

While he may be a placeholder, we are disappointed that the political party chose not to have someone serious on the ballot.

Hahn, however, should be applauded for her constant professionalism and dedication to her community — so much so that she has announced a bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for U.S. Congress next year in New York’s 1st Congressional District.

Her advocacy for the environment, mental and public health, as well as the safety of everyone from children to first responders is admirable. We know that for her last legislative run, she will continue to represent her constituents well and be there as a helpful leader just as she has over the last six terms.

Incumbent Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) was the only one who responded to TBR News Media’s invitation for an in-person debate for the election of county legislator for District 5.

We’re looking forward to seeing what her next accomplishments for the county will be.

Anker again for the 6th District 

Sarah Anker. Photo by Julianne Mosher

TBR News Media has chosen to endorse county Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) to represent the 6th District.

Anker, who would be in her seventh term if reelected Nov. 2, proved again that she should finish all the bills and policies she has worked on throughout her near-decade career in politics.

While opponent Brendan Sweeney was enthusiastic during our in-person debate Oct. 11, we believe that Anker should follow through with her final term this year.

Over the last 10 years, Anker has shown true leadership and empathy to her constituents. An elected official who cares about the environment, children and small business, she also cares about the people in the community who might not say thank you — and even her opponent.

Sweeney, at just 28, has a great career ahead of him and has already made milestones for a millennial.

Currently working for the Town of Brookhaven, he would be able to bring that experience to the county, if elected, but we feel he needs just a little more time to truly grow.

Knowledgeable about what the town has done during COVID-19 and with other policies, Sweeney should consider looking more into county data and learn more about the constituents he would like to represent.

Anker knows her area, she has raised her children and worked here for years.

She should finish up her time with the county and, once completed, she can let a new person take the reins — maybe Sweeney down the road.

 Change is welcomed for Huntington Town Supervisor

Rebecca Sanin. Photo by Julianne Mosher

After a series of unfortunate controversies in the Town of Huntington over the last few years, change is welcomed, and Rebecca Sanin is a breath of fresh air.

While Deputy Supervisor Ed Smyth and town board member Eugene Cook are seasoned from their roles and have a wealth of knowledge devoted to the town, Sanin brings a new level of expertise to the table.

As president and chief executive of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, Sanin knows how to talk to people and listen. She said a leader needs to be empathetic and that is something she can do well.

A resident of Huntington Station, she can see all sides of the town from the safer areas to the neighborhoods that struggle with crime and could use a bit of TLC. The three runners each have their strengths; Cook is a strong individual who we admired during the debates. Smyth, an intellectual, has a wealth of knowledge and eagerness to serve. Sanin who at just 43 would be the second female supervisor in Huntington history, and for a community founded in 1653, that change is certainly welcomed.

We think that everyone on the ballot can bring something to Huntington, but Sanin can be a brand-new start for the town.

 Go with Bennardo and Ferro’s depth of knowledge

Photo by Rita J. Egan

When the four candidates for Huntington Town Board walked into TBR News Media’s offices, the atmosphere did not grow strained, as it often does for political candidate debates. In fact, a sense of decorum and comradery settled over the room.

The candidates chatted, listened to each other and complimented each other, while us reporters and editors sat stunned on the other side of the table. It’s a shame that there are not four open councilperson seats up for grabs, as we would have liked to see what could be accomplished if that spirit of compromise we saw around our newspaper’s conference table was transferred to behind the dais in Huntington Town Hall.

However, of the two Republicans David Bennardo and Sal Ferro, and the two Democrats Joseph Schramm and Jennifer Hebert, we were most impressed by Bennardo and Ferro’s depth of knowledge, as well as the more concrete plans they had to bring business to Huntington while stabilizing the tax base.

Bennardo’s experience as superintendent of South Huntington will serve him well in town leadership, and we appreciated Ferro already having a grasp of the amount of money available for environmental grants.

We wholeheartedly ask that whichever two candidates do not secure enough votes Nov. 3 should continue in public life and use that spirit to the benefit of the community at large. Some would call it naive to believe politics could return to a sense of shared bipartisanship, especially once newcomers really start to feel the sting of modern politics, but it’s still something worth trying for.

Keep Wehrheim as Smithtown Town Supervisor for continuity

Photo by Rita J. Egan

The past four years has been a time of change for Smithtown, and with change inevitably comes controversy. Despite that, change, especially regarding aiding Smithtown’s aging infrastructure and struggling small business sector, is an imperative. We here at TBR News Media feel, with the two candidates running for Smithtown supervisor, that incumbent Ed Wehrheim (R) is the best fit for pushing that revitalization.

Wehrheim’s expertise from spending years in the town parks department has paid dividends for the town’s recreation assets. He has a pragmatic sense toward development that’s seen him gain respect of elected officials from across the aisle and in higher levels of government, which is why there are big hopes for the Kings Park Psychiatric Center property to be used partially for sewage treatment. In the four years he’s been in office, Wehrheim has paved the way for St. James and Kings Park revitalization. Part of that rejuvenation is in new apartments, but those new developments have not disrupted the character of Smithtown as some people feared.

In many ways, Democrat Maria Scheuring represents the past, of a suburban ideal being threatened by the changing times. It’s a case of having your cake and eating it, too. She wants small businesses on Main Street to thrive, but she is against new apartments that would bring foot traffic into these downtowns. She agrees with the necessity of protecting the environment but shares no specific alternatives. The Gyrodyne project does require scrutiny, but there is an absolute necessity for Long Island to move away from antiquated cesspools in order to protect both the groundwater and coastal bays.

Not presenting any real answers for how to deal with these problems will only lead to stagnation. We hope Scheuring continues being involved, and that she participates in more town meetings to let her voice be heard.

Wehrheim has the right attitude and work ethic, and we hope to see more of those attributes in the next four years.

Choose Nowick and McCarthy for Smithtown Town Council

Lynne Nowick

After hearing about the vast revitalizations these two candidates have worked on together for the town of Smithtown, TBR endorses both Lynne Nowick and Tom McCarthy council.

Actively setting up a plausible solution to the sewering of Smithtown, both Republican candidates have reached milestones for the town, helping to improve not only the environment but the quality of life for residents. They are well on their way to setting up a plant in Kings Park, which will benefit Smithtown.

Both Nowick and McCarthy have been insistent that New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) helps fund the sewering of Lake Avenue, Main Street, and Kings Park, and do not stop at any obstacle in their way.

Tom McCarthy

They have also revitalized 75% of the town by funding parks, beaches and golf courses, creating a small economic engine for the town, which is something that all residents can appreciate. If elected, they will continue to finish the 25% of the revitalization work left.

TBR likes to endorse candidates that have shown their capability and willingness to live up to their promises. We believe that Nowick and McCarthy truly love their town and will go above and beyond to make sure that the Smithtown residents are happy.

Keep Donna Lent as Brookhaven town clerk

In the race for Town of Brookhaven’s town clerk, TBR News Media endorses Donna Lent (R) for the position.

We believe Lent is the right choice as her experience as town clerk since 2013 has helped the Town of Brookhaven in many different ways.

Donna Lent

Not only is her experience and realistic view of the community something we can all respect, but she has shown us she has not halted in her work when it comes to helping the community such as getting the right permits and documentation they may need.

We were impressed by her detailed responses when posed with the issue of software difficulties and the FOIL process, and we appreciate her continuing efforts to help make information readily available to the public.

Although we are inspired by the passion, vigor and refreshing ideas her opponent Ira Costell (D) has for the position, we hope he continues to use his passion toward other public services. We were especially impressed by his desire to help with mental health problems. Perhaps he could be named “mental health czar” by the town supervisor?

Costell is knowledgeable about the Town of Brookhaven and will go out of his way to help the community.

Understanding there are restrictions to the position as town clerk, TBR sees the improvements made by Lent and we hope to see her make even more if reelected.




Legislator Nick Caracappa and Dawn Sharrock during TBR News Media’s in-person debate on Oct. 22. Photos by Julianne Mosher

County Legislator Nick Caracappa (R-Selden) is on the ballot again to keep his seat for the 4th District. 

After winning his seat in a special election following the death of Legislator Tom Muratore (R-Ronkonkoma) in 2020, the 54-year-old father of five said he is “here for the people.”

“No one advocates harder than I do for the hardworking middle class,” he said. 

Previously, Caracappa was president of Local 393 Utility Workers Union of America and served as a trustee of the utility union’s national executive board. He worked for the Suffolk County Water Authority in maintenance for 34 years and was on the Middle Country school board for seven years. 

“I’ve been involved with my community since my first child was born,” he said. “I asked myself right away, ‘How can I make my family, my children’s lives better, while at the same time making my community better?’”

And it’s been a family affair for Caracappa. His mother, the late Rose Caracappa, was a county legislator and community advocate throughout most of his life.

“She’s the reason I’m sitting here today,” he said. “Seeing her service really struck a chord with me at a young age — I’m so thankful I had that opportunity. I wouldn’t know the value of giving back to the community the way she did and it’s very big shoes to fill.” 

His opponent, Dawn Sharrock, running on the Democratic Party line, has spent the last six years on the same school board, which includes serving as chairperson of the legislative committee. 

The 46-year-old mother of two high school-aged girls has lived in Selden with her husband for 19 years.

Sharrock is also on the executive committee of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association —serving as chair of its finance committee — and is a board member of Reform Educational Financing Inequities Today, a consortium of school districts supporting equitable school funding.

“That’s really what is the catalyst to have me sitting here before you and wanting to run for county legislator,” she said during TBR News Media’s in-person debate last week. “It’s been my leadership on that committee, and the things that I was able to accomplish with working with elected officials on both sides of the aisle, that helped to get legislation passed.”

One of her greatest accomplishments, she said, was her help with getting swing-arm cameras onto school buses.

“I was instrumental in getting that legislation passed,” she said, noting that she helped work alongside both state and county officials to get the resolution passed.

COVID-19 and small business

Sharrock said that the COVID-19 pandemic divided the community and believes that it “has been politicized a lot.”

“I think as an effective leader, you are someone who has to bring people to the middle, and if you’re not doing that, you’re not being effective in the job that you’re in,” she said.

A main concern is small businesses which suffered during the pandemic.  

“We have to make sure that is something when we come to the table, we are remembering that small businesses, along with union jobs, they’re the backbone of our communities,” she added. “That doesn’t mean we don’t need big corporations, and that they’re not also beneficial to our communities, but the small businesses in particular, we really need to make sure that they’re able to strive and they’re able to continue.”

Sharrock believes that the county needs to do better budgeting, and make sure that grants are available from the federal level. She wants to make sure that “money is going where it is supposed to.”

Caracappa, a small business owner himself, agreed and noted that there were certain businesses across the country receiving PPP money that were not qualified.

“I think we need to have watchdog groups,” he said. “We need to make sure that there are advisories that are making sure that this money is being used where it was intended to be used for.”

He added that small businesses need to thrive in his district because they help grow the economy.

“The people that own the smaller businesses live within that community, as well,” he said. “So they’re giving back to that economy, they’re helping grow that economy, they’re very much active within that community and the schools.”

In the 4th District, Caracappa said that the ratio of big business to small business is greater for the small businesses — even the franchises along Route 25, which are owned by local families. 

“Our district represents probably a core of hardworking middle-class families more than anything else,” he said, adding that over the last year he has worked alongside the Town of Brookhaven, the local chambers of commerce and the IDA to help develop the area.

The two runners butt heads when it came to discussion of vaccines: Sharrock believes that the well-being of the community is important, and criticized Caracappa for holding an “anti-mandate” rally earlier this month in support of industry workers who are being let go of their jobs for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.

Caracappa is vaccinated, himself, as are his family and staff.

“I would never say do not get vaccinated,” he said. “That is your choice to get vaccinated. I stand by that — those are constitutional rights.”

Sharrock said that a role of someone in government is to be “proactive instead of reactive.”

“I think that those are some of the things that I would bring to this seat is just being proactive, not necessarily reacting to a situation,” she said. “Make sure these things are happening the way they should before they actually go wrong.”


Caracappa has been vocal in his concern for the local environment and said he has been working to get more federal funding into the 4th District. 

“I work hard with my colleagues,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if they’re Republicans or Democrats — to get proper sewage in the ground.”

An immediate concern he said is the local waterways and our coastal communities which need sewage in the ground to replace cesspools.

Aa a longtime employee at SCWA, Caracappa said that we need to protect the aquifer and if we don’t, “we’re going to be in big trouble.”

While water quality is his main concern, he added that the advancement of local roadways will continuously be a challenge. Over the summer, he and a bipartisan group of his legislative colleagues, wrote a letter to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) asking for more money to be sent to the county to repair potholes. The letter resulted in an allocation of $30 million to roadway repairs, and a change in repair timeline from 2024-25 to 2022-23, Caracappa said.

Sharrock agreed that the environment and waterways need to be fixed.

“We have no more time left to not worry about the environment or the waterways, we have to make sure that we’re putting the resources in to make sure that we are protecting the environment, that we are protecting our drinking water,” she said. “And I’m not really sure what is happening — where is this money being put? These are the types of things that I want to know, and I want to when I’m sitting on the county Legislature.”

She said that we need “to make sure we’re leaving an environment for our grandchildren and their children and their children. We have to make sure we’re putting it into where it needs to go.”

Affordable housing

When asked about keeping young people on Long Island, Caracappa said his district has the most projects being built and worked on for lower income and affordable housing opportunities. 

“These opportunities are not only for young couples, but I’d like to see the young couples move into our homes,” he said, adding that empty nesters and senior citizens who cannot take care of a large property anymore need opportunities for more affordable living. 

Sharrock believes that creating goodpaying jobs that allow young people to stay is key. 

“If we want to be able to keep generations here, I think the jobs are very important,” she said. “We need to talk about growing apprenticeship programs so that we are making sure kids who are leaving high school are on a path.”

Crime and police

Sharrock said that law enforcement is one of “the toughest jobs and most important jobs out there.”

“They’re keeping our community safe,” she said. “I think that their pay should reflect that they put their lives on the line every day for us.”

She said that she supported the reform that was recently put out and was “needed, balancing out the People’s Plan.”

Caracappa, who was endorsed by the Suffolk County PBA, said that he “absolutely supports law enforcement.”

“That doesn’t mean they’re not accountable for their actions,” he said. “There are bad cops, bad teachers and bad priests, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to brush a broad stroke over the entire department, because it’s one or two bad cops out there.”

He believes that accountability is necessary, and is a huge advocate for body cams, “not only to protect police officers and the citizens, but also protect the county.”

Sharrock also supports body cams, adding, “It’s important for them and for the community.”

File photo by Desirée Keegan

For the past six years, Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) has represented Legislative District 12, which includes the southern section of the Town of Smithtown and western Brookhaven. This year she is running once again, and while Mike Siderakis will be listed as the Democratic candidate come election day, the candidate who ran unsuccessfully for state senator against Mario Mattera (R-St. James) last year stopped actively campaigning this summer.

Before taking on the role of county legislator, Kennedy worked for 13 years as a legislative aide for Donald Blydenburgh (R-Smithtown) and her husband John Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset), who for the last six years has been Suffolk County comptroller. When her husband won his bid for the comptroller’s seat, she stepped into his former position in a special election six months before she had to run again.

“I love my job,” Kennedy said during a recent phone interview with TBR News Media.


Kennedy said the last two years have been tough dealing with the issues the pandemic has presented as well as the restrictions that went along with it to curb the virus. She said the changing rules made it challenging.

“It created all sorts of new issues,” she said.

The former nurse said she believes in wearing masks and getting vaccinated, but she did take issue with the state’s shutdown orders of businesses. The legislator and her office staff were busy earlier in the year helping residents get immunized when it was first difficult to find appointments. She said they secured more than 500 vaccination appointments. “I think that our purpose should be to aid and assist human beings and not to torture them,” she said.

Kennedy also said she is concerned with some of the anti-mask and anti-vaccine rallies and some of the information and arguments that are out there, even though she respects everyone’s rights to express their concerns and opinions.

“They have the right to their opinions, but let me tell you my opinion and how I feel the way I do,” she said. “And then you can keep your opinion or you can think about mine.”

Legislative bills

Kennedy said regarding sponsoring bills she chooses wisely. “I tried to put in a limited amount of bills and just do more government,” she said.

She is most proud of her initiatives that have helped preserve land, and the legislator said it’s important to get out there and meet with all of the people involved and discuss all the options with them.

An example of her preservation efforts is the 2018 acquisition and preservation of the Hauppauge Springs that she led along with Seatuck Environmental Association. The 42-acre property is located on the south side of Route 347 in Hauppauge and there had been a builder interested in constructing eight houses on land at part of one of the headwaters of the Nissequogue River. 

Kennedy said she made sure to meet with both the owner of the property and the builder’s lawyer. It was an issue the county legislator was extremely familiar with, as she said it was on the county’s list of environmentally sensitive priority properties for more than 20 years.

“Putting up those houses would have been the end of the Nissequogue River,” she said, adding waste from them would go into the headwaters.

County budget

With more money coming the county’s way in 2022 due to COVID-19 aid, Kennedy said she agrees with paying off pension debts and other monies the county borrowed. However, she said Suffolk should also save as much as possible because she fears it will run out of funds by 2023.

“I would love to give everybody who wants things everything, but we can’t,” she said.

The 12th Legislative District includes Smithtown, Nesconset, Hauppauge, the Village of the Branch, Lake Grove and parts of St. James, Commack, Lake Ronkonkoma and Centereach. The district is bounded roughly by Route 25 to the north, Commack Road to the west, Townline Road to the south, and Oxhead Road to the east, with Veterans Memorial Highway running through the heart of the district northwest to southeast.

Photo by Rita J. Egan

The race between Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini (D) and prosecutor Ray Tierney, who is running on the Republican and Conservative lines, has been a contentious one. At the forefront, Tierney has questioned whether Sini has been as tough on crime as the DA himself has said, especially regarding the MS-13 gang.

The two sat down with TBR News Media’s editorial staff Oct. 11 to discuss several issues including the biggest ones facing Suffolk County.

Meet the candidates

Sini was first elected to the DA’s office in 2017 and is running for his second term. His background includes being an assistant attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York where he ultimately specialized in violent crimes, which included prosecuting murder trials. He went on to serve as Suffolk’s assistant deputy county executive for public safety and was appointed to the county police commissioner position in January of 2016.

“I love my job,” Sini said. “I wanted to serve in my own backyard.”

Photo by Rita J. Egan

Tierney also grew up in Suffolk County. He began his law career in the Suffolk DA’s office under DA James Catterson (R).

The challenging candidate left the DA’s office in 1999 and went on to work for a private firm and returned to the DA’s office in 2002 and remained for another six years.

He then worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York as an assistant attorney for more than 11 years.

He left the office in 2019 to become an executive assistant district attorney in the Kings County District Attorney’s office where he was in charge of the violent criminal enterprises bureau, crime strategies unit and body worn camera unit.

In order to run for Suffolk County DA, Tierney had to leave the Brooklyn office and is currently Suffolk Regional Off-Track Betting Corp.’s chief counsel for compliance and enforcement.


Sini said crime since he became police commissioner and even as DA has gone down each year. He said since he’s been in office violent crimes are down by about 30% and overall crimes more than 20%. He added year-to-date crime is down 7%.

“We’ve been very effective in keeping Suffolk safe, and also moving the criminal justice system in the right direction, but we knew that we had to reform the DA’s office and that’s why I ran initially,” he said.

Weeks before his election Sini’s predecessor, former DA Tom Spota (D), was arrested. Sini said the office has been reformed in various ways. There has also been the hiring of more than 100 people, an increase in diversity and an overhauling of the training program.

Tierney disputed Sini’s crime statistics saying shootings are up in Suffolk County, and he wants to use his experience in crime strategies to bring those numbers down.

“Statistics can be manipulated,” Tierney said. “What we’re going to do is we’re going to index the crimes.”

Tierney has criticized Sini’s approach during his campaign. He said the DA’s office will announce numerous indictments via press releases but he said the office doesn’t send out as many announcements about convictions.

“I don’t dispute for a fact that he has very splashy arrests,” Tierney said. “I’m talking about results.”

He also criticized Sini for the number of times his office has used plea bargaining, giving the example of a drug dealer that Sini charged with a top count in 2021. However, he said, a year earlier that same dealer was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance and then allowed to plea.

“If he’s a kingpin in 2021, why do you give him a misdemeanor in 2020?” Tierney said.

Sini said pleading in certain cases is not unusual, and the DA’s office may not have the evidence needed in 2020.

MS-13 gang

Photo by Rita J. Egan

Tierney said Sini talks about the biggest MS-13 gang busts and asked for defendants’ names, pleas and sentences. He also asked why not one was charged with murder. 

“If you have a crime strategies unit, if every two weeks you’re letting the statistics come out the stats will speak for themselves,” the prosecutor said.

Tierney said doing so is an example of being independent from the police and county executive.

Sini said his office has been part of one of the largest MS-13 takedowns, where 96 people were indicted in one county. The case involved three years of wiretapping investigations. The takedown netted a multitude of arrests, and Sini said his office is now prosecuting the cases and is having a lot of success.

The DA said the reason why many were charged with murder conspiracy instead of murder was because law enforcement was able to stop the killings from happening due to the wiretaps used in the investigation.

“Our detectives would go out and stop the violence, and then we charged the defendants in some cases with murder conspiracy,” he said. “We stopped 10 murders from happening that way.”

He said the office, in addition to murder conspiracy pleas, has received pleas to assault and criminal possession of weapons, which have significant sentences attached to them.

“We’re making a difference in terms of MS-13 on Long Island, there’s no denying that,” Sini said. “And it’s not just the DA’s office, and we’re not suggesting otherwise. It’s a collaborative effort from the local police department, all the way up to our federal government.”

Tierney said there were 46 gang members on the indictment, and each one was responsible for two murders, which Sini interrupted and said it was murder conspiracy.

“Now he said he thwarted 10 murders,” Tierney said. “Now how exactly did he thwart those 10 murders? By arresting them? Well, the manner in which he arrested them was, he had this big splashy takedown after two years and then he arrested all 96 at once. So, in order for that statement to be true, that would have meant that as he prepared his press release, as he called all the media, as he got everything all ready for the takedown, the night before 10 murders became apparent. And then he took those individuals down.”

Tierney said he has a problem with that style as “that’s not how it works when we do our MS-13 indictments.”

“We take them down as soon as possible,” he said. “We don’t care about the indictment. We care about the results, and you can’t thwart 10 murder conspiracies, all at once, it’s an impossibility. There’s no way that 10 murder conspiracies come to fruition at the exact date of the takedown.”

Tierney said Sini seals his cases because he doesn’t want the public to see the plea bargains that he has given.

Sini said that was false since indictments are public, except for certain cases that may need to be sealed due to cooperators or under certain circumstances, and it’s appropriate to do so.

Drug epidemic

Sini said the drug epidemic has been one of the most significant public safety problems for more than a decade. He said the approach is investing in prevention, treatment, recovery and law enforcement.

“Law enforcement even plays a role in treatment, too, because you can create and implement diversion programs, where you get low-level offenders who are suffering from addiction into treatment programs,” he said.

He added drug offenders also need to be aggressively investigated and prosecuted.

“We’ve done that,” he said. “I’ll give you two examples, both in terms of bringing operators and major trafficker charges the top felony counts, these are significant prosecutions, and we’re leading the state on doing that.”

He said the sentences can be 25 years to life. 

Tierney said he feels the most significant public safety problem is the rise of crime in the county, whether gun violence or the opioid epidemic.

He added it’s important to keep an eye on the U.S. southern border as powder fentanyl is being brought into the country. The powder form is sprinkled into cocaine unbeknownst to the buyer.

Summing up

Sini said that Tierney has criticized him for not having as much trial experience as he, and said that’s just an issue of age, since he is younger than the challenger. The DA said that while prosecuting is part of the job there is more to it.

“We’re running to be a CEO of a major law firm,” he said. “I have significant managerial experience with a track record. He has zero.”

Sini said he believes his office has done “great work on a number of different fronts,” and he’s running on his record.

“We brought some of the most significant cases in the region on a variety of public safety fronts — the drug epidemic, gang violence, human trafficking, environmental crime.”

Tierney said he never thought he would get involved in the political process.

“I think what we’re seeing is our leadership is gaslighting us,” he said. “We’re being told everything’s great, everything’s wonderful. They are talking points.” 

Tierney said the main function of the office is to prosecute.

“We are dismissing cases,” he said. “We’re not indicting cases. This is the management of the office, but to say you’re a CEO and a manager’s office, it is the prosecutor’s office. We need someone to prosecute those cases.”

The winner of the DA race will hold office for the next four years.

Kara Hahn. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Running for her sixth term in office, Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) said she wants to finish all that she has started if reelected Nov. 2. 

On the Republican ticket is Salvatore Isabella, who is not actively campaigning and did not respond to a request for a debate with the legislator at TBR News Media offices. 

Hahn, 50, said this is her last chance to run for her seat, where she has productively worked on a variety of issues throughout the county. 

“I love what I do,” she said. “I feel like I make a difference.”

Over the last several months, Hahn — who serves as the county’s deputy presiding officer — has helped during the county’s experience with the COVID-19 pandemic and its continuous aftermath. 

“The pandemic really kind of opened up some old wounds from our health care perspective,” she said. “I think it’s clear — there’s more to do to make sure that our health department is ready for next time. I don’t think we’ve done a full-on analysis of how things went, because we’re still facing it.”

But the county legislator believes there needs to be a serious review so we as a whole can be better prepared for the next time. 

COVID-19 also halted several projects Hahn began working on before the pandemic such as the county’s recycling taskforce and emergency room opioid protocols — two of which she hopes to see through if reelected. She currently has two bills underway, one making sure that the county spends its opioid settlement money appropriately. 

“I feel really strongly that because we have [more than] $100 million, that will be coming to be spent over varying degrees, some of it can be spent immediately,” she said. “There’s time but I don’t think we should be reimbursing ourselves for expenses — I think that opioid settlement money should be spent on treatment and services for prevention.”

She said that by creating programs for people with addiction, it could help get a handle on the drug epidemic that skyrocketed during the pandemic and quarantine.

Hahn is also an advocate for the COVID vaccine and has been pushing the health department to help get the public vaccinated against the coronavirus. She said that while close to 80% of adults haven gotten their full vaccine, we do not know what percentage is needed across the full population to reach herd immunity, and lower the transmission rates in schools.

Chair of the parks and environment committees, Hahn said she hopes during her next term to see federal funding to go toward infrastructure in her district. She also said she wants to get “a task force going” as the Town of Brookhaven Landfill closes and changes happen with waste removal. 

Throughout her entire political career, Hahn said she has advocated on the importance of transitioning away from septic systems and how they impact Long Island’s drinking water.

While Hahn is seeking her reelection for what would be her last term as legislator, she has also announced she will be campaigning for U.S. Congress next year. 

“I am running for Congress because I think there’s an opportunity to further help this community by getting someone from here there,” she said. “And I think that could really help.”

While opposers might question Hahn’s devotion to her seat if reelected as she seeks higher office, she said she knows it will be difficult, but she is ready. 

“I know it’s going to be hard, but I’m very committed to this job,” she said.

 “The reason for me running is to just find yet another way to continue to help and work for this community, and I wouldn’t take that on if I didn’t think I could. I love this community, and this comes first, of course.”

Photos by Julianne Mosher

Residents in the Town of Huntington will have three options for their new supervisor Nov. 2. 

Two councilmen and a newcomer are on the ballots, each bringing their own expertise to the table. 

With current town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) not seeking reelection, Huntington will have a new supervisor in January. Two town council seats are also up for grabs in next month’s election.

Ed Smyth (R), of Lloyd Harbor, has served as town councilman for four years and is now seeking the top position, while councilman Eugene Cook, of Greenlawn, is running as a third-party Independent candidate. Cook is a former Republican who unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for supervisor. 

Democratic candidate Rebecca Sanin, president and CEO of nonprofit Health & Welfare Council of Long Island, is seeking supervisor and said her years as a public servant can bring a new perspective to Huntington. 

Eugene Cook

Eugene Cook. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Cook has been a councilman in the town for the last 10 years and is running for supervisor on a Stop LIPA Party line. 

A businessowner of more than 40 years, Cook said he is “strictly business and it’s all about money.”

“We have to run each town and municipality as a business,” he said. “And that hasn’t happened.”

Cook said he has been “very disappointed to see the last four years” because things “haven’t gotten done” during Lupinacci’s term. 

“There is no transparency, and there’s some real problems with that,” he said. 

Cook’s idea for the future of Huntington is working it as a business.

“We have all these great ideas that people want to do, but it costs a lot of money to do that,” he said. “You have to manage the money to get it done.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Cook closed his construction business and retired. 

“I’ve never been happier,” he said, “And I’ve never been busier.”

As councilman, Cook has “fought tirelessly to hold the line on taxes and spending while maintaining balanced budgets.”

He said that if he takes on the role of supervisor, he will “continue to champion the cause of a better Huntington for the future, while respecting Huntington families, residents, business owners and taxpayers.”

Rebecca Sanin

Sanin, who resides in Huntington Station, said that over the last four years, she has been working on small business and nonprofit sustainability. With her nonprofit experience, she has helped with issues including health equity and hunger relief for Long Island. 

Rebecca Sanin. Photo by Julianne Mosher

“What I’ve seen during COVID-19 is how important it is to have government pull the levers to really improve the quality of people’s lives,” she said. 

Prior to joining Health & Welfare, Sanin was an assistant deputy county executive in Suffolk County, where she led the performance management team. The mother of two daughters chose to raise them here because she loves the community. 

“I love this town,” she said. “I don’t believe that it has been properly managed for the last few years and I’m particularly concerned about the lack of a strong COVID recovery plan in our town and what’s happening with our small businesses.”

Sanin said that she is different than her two opponents because she is currently not an elected official and does not work in the town. 

“I have a fresh set of eyes that I’m bringing to town government and also a very different perspective on how things need to run when it comes to the budget,” she said. 

Ed Smyth

Smyth’s parents moved to Huntington in 1971 and he stayed to raise his four children there, too. Elected to the Huntington Town Board in 2017, he voted to enact term limits and to make the resolution process more transparent to the community. 

He has voted to preserve open space and slow down overdevelopment in downtowns, but his biggest concern was to settle the LIPA lawsuit. 

Now on the ticket for supervisor, Smyth said he is running on an infrastructure platform — focusing on sewers, drainage and roadways. 

“I look at the town as a whole, having been living here my entire life, and I see areas of town that have been neglected that I want to address, particularly Huntington Station,” he said. 

Ed Smyth. Photo by Julianne Mosher

He said that it is “vitally important” to get a sewer line put in from Huntington railroad station south to Walt Whitman Mall, which currently does not have a sewer line. 

“That’s the driving reason why there hasn’t been any capital investment in the Huntington Station area,” he said. “There is federal money available to do that.”

Smyth is a practicing lawyer in Huntington village for the last 24 years. 

He is also a veteran — a former Marine staff sergeant — which he said gives him a different style of management compared to Lupinacci. 

“He has taken a very hands-off approach,” Smyth said. “That’s not my style. I will be very involved with every department and be hands-on.”