2021 Elections

Mike Siderakis answers questions from a resident after the press conference. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Former state senator candidate Mike Siderakis is looking to take on Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) in November.

Siderakis announced his run for legislator in the county’s 12th District at an April 5 press conference in Lake Ronkonkoma. The event took place on the site of the former Bavarian Inn on Smithtown Boulevard. Last year the Democrat ran for state senator to fill the seat left vacant by former Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport). Siderakis lost to Mario Mattera (R-St. James).

During the press conference, Siderakis touched on the importance of quality of life in the district. A New York State Police trooper for nearly 30 years, who is now retired, and a former second vice president of the troopers’ police benevolent association, Siderakis said he and his wife, Sandra, moved from the city to Nesconset to raise a family more than two decades ago. The hope was to live in a neighborhood free of pollution, traffic problems and high taxes.

“I’m sure you’ve noticed over the last two decades our unrushed way of life began to give way to the familiar hustle and bustle we left behind in New York City,” he said. “How many of you live on a block that started as a quiet street only for it to become a cut through due to poor planning, as commuters parade their cars through our neighborhoods, and now we need stop signs and traffic lights to manage traffic in front of our homes. We can’t even make left-hand turns anymore in half of our communities.”

The Democrat added that while residents witness new stores popping up on every corner, they also see empty shopping centers with no businesses moving into the empty storefronts.

“We’ve seen the landscape of our communities change quickly before our eyes,” he said. “As our quality of life has eroded over the past 20 years, one thing has remained constant: A Kennedy has been representing us in the Legislature.”

Leslie Kennedy was elected to the seat in 2015, while County Comptroller John Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset), her husband, held the position for 10 years prior.

Siderakis called out Leslie Kennedy for not being involved in the public information meetings that the Town of Smithtown held regarding its proposed master plans for the downtown areas and open spaces or holding community outreach meetings of her own.

“Huge changes are afoot in our district, and she’s not even at the table,” he said. “Today we kick off this campaign on a symbol of the neglect in our community. This barren lot at one time held the Bavarian Inn, prime waterfront property on Lake Ronkonkoma. The inn was derelict from 2007 and was finally demolished in 2013 after strong community opposition and demand for it to be demolished.”

He said Leslie Kennedy “proudly says” that she secured funding to buy trees for the now-vacant land.

“Look around at the trees, the dirt, the dying saplings planted without care,” he said. “Is this an accomplishment? And now look behind me on the lake — Islip and Brookhaven, look at their sections, they have some well-maintained beaches, benches. We are standing on what should be a jewel of this district and instead it’s a continuing reminder of how there’s nobody fighting for us.”

The former state trooper said the district needs a fierce advocate. He added he wants to deliver results, including creating public parks in the district such as by the lake.

“I’m running to fix our roads, create safe intersections … preserve our way of life, to keep our water clean, and to preserve our green spaces,” he said. “To create opportunity and bring back common sense, to say ‘no’ to IDA tax giveaways to developers — and to protect the residential character of our communities.”

The 12th District includes Smithtown, Nesconset, Hauppauge, the Village of the Branch, Lake Grove and parts of St. James, Commack, Lake Ronkonkoma and Centereach. The remaining areas in  the Town of Smithtown fall under the 13th District of the Suffolk County Legislature which is represented by Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga.)

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson. File photo

By Harry To

Town of Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) is not seeking reelection and is instead vying for the Suffolk County Legislature seat in the 18th District.

Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson

The seat is currently held by William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport), who was arrested last October in a sex-for-drugs sting. Police said he allegedly planned to meet a prostitute in the parking lot of a Goodwill store in Elwood to trade sex for pills, reportedly oxycodone. Spencer has decided against running for reelection.

Cuthbertson has served for over two decades on the Huntington Town Board. Now, he hopes to translate his experience in local politics to the county level.

“Experience with budgeting and finance, open space and environmental protection, economic

development, employee relations and collective bargaining, and public safety are among the

areas that would allow me to hit the ground running as a county legislator,” he said in a phone interview Friday. “There are various facets of my private sector experience in commercial real estate, civil rights litigation and land use that also round out my experience and will allow me to better serve the people as a county legislator.”

According to a press release, Cuthbertson’s accomplishments as a legislator include sponsorship of two open space contracts that resulted in the preservation of hundreds of acres of environmentally sensitive lands, strengthening local laws to increase affordable housing for

working families and helping raise the town bond rating to AAA, the highest rating.

Cuthbertson is a lifelong resident of Huntington, graduating from Walt Whitman High School. Later he attended Villanova University and earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and then his juris doctor degree from Albany Law School, where he was a member of the Albany Law Review publication.

He is also a graduate of the Energeia Partnership at Molloy College, a leadership institute

dedicated to addressing complex and challenging issues on Long Island.

Rich Schaffer, chairman of the Suffolk County Democratic Committee, spoke about

Cuthbertson’s local popularity.

“Councilman Mark Cuthbertson has been consistently reelected to the Huntington Town Council

because of his record delivering for the families of Huntington,” Schaffer said.“We’re excited to work with Mark to keep our Democratic majority in the Legislature so he can continue working to improve the lives of Suffolk County families.”

To oppose Cuthbertson, the Suffolk County Republican Party has put forth Stephanie Bontempi,

a fifth-grade teacher at The Green Vale School in Old Brookville and chairperson of the Town of Huntington’s Beautification Advisory Council.

The Old Field Lighthouse. Photo by Huberto Pimental

Old Field residents will choose from three candidates for two trustee seats on the village board when they go to the polls March 16.

Incumbent Stephen Shybunko, a manufacturing business owner, and Adrienne Owen, the lead member of production supervisory at Renaissance Technologies, will be running on The 1927 Party ticket, while Rebecca Van Der Bogart, a global account manager for the furniture company Herman Miller, is running on The Good Neighbor Party ticket.

Mitchell Birzon will be running for village justice to fill the remainder of the term left open after the death of justice Ted Rosenberg in September. The term will conclude April 1, 2022, and Birzon is unchallenged.

Stephen Shybunko

Shybunko is the only incumbent on the ballot and has been a trustee for more than 12 years. He was first appointed to the village board and went on to be elected six times. He is currently the deputy mayor, and has served in the position for eight years after being appointed by former Mayor Michael Levine and then current Mayor Bruce Feller. Shybunko said before running again he discussed his intentions with his family and received encouragement from the mayor and the other board members.

“I genuinely enjoy the interaction with residents and get great satisfaction in governing on a local level where results are quickly realized and change can be instituted swiftly when needed,” he said.

Living in Old Field for 30 years with his wife, Kerry, and raising three children, Kyle, 31, Stephen, 30, and Kathryn, 25, he feels that maintaining the beauty of the village is important.

“Being good stewards and maintaining the beauty and diversity of the environment is always important,” he said. “Balancing the fragile ecosystem with property development is a task that requires knowledge, experience and the ability to respect and listen to all stakeholders.”

Shybunko said he believes he possesses the qualities to take on that task, and he is “always willing to learn more and educate myself on best practices going forward.”

“Old Field’s waterfront properties and continuing development provides both a challenge and an opportunity to lead the way on responsible development,” he said.

In a letter to residents, he listed the board’s achievements during his tenure, including “sound village finances.” He said Old Field has continuously enjoyed “the lowest fiscal stress scores as reported by the New York State comptroller,” among all towns, villages and school districts in the state. With only two years left on a 10-year loan that was used for roads, the village will save $180,000 on taxes when the loan is paid off, Shybunko said. He said he currently doesn’t see any large expensives on the horizon for Old Field.

Adrienne Owen

While Adrienne Owen may be a new candidate on this year’s ballot, she is extremely familiar with the Old Field board. Her husband, Jeff, is currently a board member. After serving six terms, her husband decided not to run in 2021.

She said in an email it was Feller who planted the seed in her head about running at a birthday party back in 2019. She spent seven years on the board at Harbor Country Day School in St. James, and when she started, she said she had no related experience.

“I am an eager learner,” Owen said. “While a non-for-profit school board and an incorporated village board are different, the fundamentals of board service are the same. My experience on the HCDS board made me see how fulfilling giving my time and my energy to an organization I really cared about could be.”

She said she doesn’t see the village “facing any issues of great significance.”

“The board has always been populated with strong leadership during my residence,” she said. “Mike Levine was a dedicated mayor for a very long time, and Steve Shybunko has been a devoted deputy mayor. I am thrilled Steve is continuing the tradition of running for trustee with an Owen.”

While she doesn’t see any huge issues in the village, Owen added processes and procedures can always be improved.

“I think I will provide a fresh perspective in this regard,” she said. “I have extensive experience working on tight and balanced budgets, and I have good management skills. I will approach all issues by doing my own due diligence and listening to all perspectives.”

Owen has lived in the village with her husband since 2008 and their son, Grant, is about to turn 15.

Like Shybunko, she wishes to see new beautification projects in Old Field.

“We are about to embark on a major restoration and renovation of the Old Field Lighthouse,” she said. “I am secretary of the Old Field Lighthouse Foundation and, if elected, I will be the liaison between the board and the foundation.”

Rebecca Van Der Bogart

Van Der Bogart is also a new name on the ballot for trustee, but familiar with village business.

She volunteers with the Crane Neck Association and is on the zoning board of appeals for Old Field. She and her wife, Hayley Devon Ogle, have lived in the village since 1997.

Among the items Van Der Bogart would like to see improved in the village is communication among residents. She said sometimes residents are too quick to report a problem to the village, like a floodlight shining in their window, before communication with their neighbors. She believes in being a good neighbor and that’s why she picked it as her platform.

“I know it sounds funny, but I believe that people should communicate with each other, and work together and make this community — make our neighborhood — as great as it could be,” she said. “Have dialogue with each other, try to help each other.”

Van Der Bogart added as a resident she tries her best to attend village meetings and believes she will bring a different perspective to the board. She said while Old Field is known for having wealthy people, that’s not the case for every resident.

“We’re not all millionaires, and I think that should be represented on the village board,” she said.

Van Der Bogart added not only as a neighbor but also as a businessperson her goal is to make sure that everybody has a better experience when dealing with village government, likening it to a customer-service approach.

In the past, Van Der Bogart has worked with the village to curb issues brought on by deer such as eating vegetation and Lyme disease. On the village’s deer committee, she worked with the New York State Department of Conservation, local elected officials and deer hunters. She also investigated villages such as Quogue to see how they approached their deer problems, she said, not wanting to have massive amounts of deer killings.

“I said, ‘You know, here’s the problem, people are starting to get sick now, people who are getting tick-borne diseases,’” she said. “There’s a direct correlation that the more deer, the more ticks, the more tick-borne diseases.”

The village changed the code to allow residents to use deer fencing. With this, Van Der Bogart said homeowners could protect their properties and health without resorting to hunting.

“So, it kind of was the happy medium for everybody, and I felt really proud of working on that,” she said.

The election for two trustees and village justice will take place Tuesday, March 16, from noon to 9 p.m. at the Keeper’s Cottage, 207 Old Field Road. 

Stock image

By Iryna Shkurhan

In the Village of Head of the Harbor, two trustee incumbents, Daniel White and Jeffrey Fischer, are running for another two-year term March 16.

Daniel White

Both candidates are currently serving in their eighth year as trustees for the village. As a result of the pandemic, this past year brought new budget challenges due to a shortfall of court and sales tax revenues. But both candidates credit working effectively and diligently with their team to prevail through unforeseen circumstances.

“The village faces significant problems this year because we have a very tight budget as a result of a pandemic, and I think that I can contribute to the overall effective functioning and improvement of life in the village,” White said.

During his service so far, White worked with his fellow trustees to initiate modern radio communications for the highway trucks. Most recently he also helped secure funding for reflective stainless steel clips on the fire hydrants so the firemen can find them easily, even when covered with snow.

“It seems very small, barely worth mentioning, but it can make a significant difference in a situation where if it’s not there, it could be a problem,” White said.

White, 66, has worked as a fidelity lawyer for Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC firm for the past three years, specializing in fidelity and surety law. His past law experience includes serving as assistant district attorney in Kings County.

He has lived in St. James at intervals since 1965. Currently White and his wife reside in the home he grew up with their two labradors, Daisy and Holly.

White also served as president of Preservation Long Island, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving Long Island’s diverse cultural and architectural heritage, and completed his extended term in June. He also served on the organization’s board for 13 years.

White and Fischer align with the village statement on the proposed Gyrodyne development project in St. James, which raised concerns about negative traffic and environmental impacts on the village. They are concerned about the possible consequences of a proposed treatment plan on the property so close to Stony Brook Harbor and drastic changes to historic Route 25.

“I think that the historic corridor along Route 25A in that section is a resource that we must conserve and that we must preserve,” said White, who views the proposed location of the site as the “wrong place.”

Jeffrey Fischer

Gyrodyne has proposed to subdivide its 75-acre-property to build a 150-room hotel with a restaurant, two assisted living centers, two medical office parks in addition to a 7-acre sewage treatment plant.

Fischer believes that a moratorium needs to be placed on this project until further studies are conducted on the environmental impact, as well as from a traffic standpoint.

“Our biggest concern right now is the potential Smithtown master plan Gyrodone property,”  Fischer said. “It can have such a negative impact on our village.”

Fischer, 64, has lived in St. James for the past 27 years with his wife and two children.  He is the president and CEO of Atlantic Business Systems, an IT company in Hauppauge that he started 33 years ago. During the past four terms as trustee, he served on the finance board and is responsible for maintaining and balancing the budget.

“With the financial shortfalls that were unforeseen, due to COVID, it’s been challenging,but you know, we’ve prevailed,” Fischer said.

He has also served on the zoning board of appeals for 17 years, for ten of those years he was chairman of the board.

Fischer spearheaded the joining of the St. James fire district for the village, rather than being a customer of the fire district. The initiative was approved this year, giving residents the opportunity to vote in the fire district elections and join as volunteers or commissioners.

“I love doing it,” Fischer said. “I work with a great team of people. Our mayor and my fellow trustees are outstanding people to work with, and we’re getting a lot accomplished.And, I really enjoy it.”

Voting will take place March 16 at Head of the Harbor Village Hall located at 500 North Country Road, St. James. The polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m.

“We live in a wonderful community and people are willing to help in all kinds of ways, and I want to work to focus on getting participation even greater, so that we can make things better,” White said.

Town of Huntington Councilman Ed Smyth (R) will run for supervisor this November. Photo from Huntington Republican Committee

Soon after current Town of Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) announced Feb. 26 he wouldn’t run for reelection in November, Huntington Republican Committee Chairman Thomas McNally sent out an email stating the committee endorsed Councilman Ed Smyth for its candidate.

Smyth was first elected to the Town Board in 2017. Last November he ran unsuccessfully for state senator against Jim Gaughran (D-Northport).

“Ed Smyth is a Marine, a husband and father and a lifelong Huntington resident,” McNally said. “He has a vision for the future of our town and he exudes leadership. There’s not a better or more qualified person to be Huntington’s next town supervisor.”

Smyth thanked the committee for their endorsement.

“We’ve experienced tremendous success over the last three years, and I look forward to building on these achievements as town supervisor,” the councilman said.

In a Feb. 26 statement, Lupinacci said his decision not to run again for town supervisor came “after much deliberation and consideration with my family, friends and advisers.”

“To be clear, this was my decision and my decision alone made in the best interest of my family, the town and the Republican Party,” he said. “While this decision is a difficult one, it is made easier by the fact that in less than one term I have delivered on all of my campaign promises and will continue to accomplish the many goals I set out to achieve before this final year is complete. Few administrations have faced as many challenges, and few have achieved what we have. I am proud that I will leave the Town of Huntington in a far better place than when I took office, and for that reason I am incredibly optimistic about the future of the town and its hamlets that I love so much.”

In February, the Huntington Town Democratic Committee announced Rebecca Sanin’s run for Town of Huntington supervisor. The 42-year-old, who lives in Huntington Station with her family, has served as the president and CEO of the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island since 2017. Prior to that, she worked with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s (D) administration for more than five years as an assistant deputy county executive.

The Huntington Republican Committee also nominated David Bennardo and Salvatore Ferro for two open town council seats and Andre Sorrentino for superintendent of highways.

Bennardo is a former principal at Harborfields High School, and in July 2012, took over the role of superintendent in the South Huntington school district. Ferraro is president, CEO and owner of Alure Home Improvements and a current member of the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. Sorrentino is the owner of Professional Automotive Services and Sorrentino Trucking, while currently serving as director of General Services for the town and a Huntington fire commissioner.

“We have an extraordinary team of talented professionals who are committed to making our town a better place to live,” McNally said.  “We know that our team, our party and our town are all stronger when we work together. That’s the approach we’re going to take to win in November and it’s going to help us continue the progress we’ve made over the last three years to protect property taxpayers and encourage responsible economic growth.”

Town of Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci was cleared of any wrongdoing in a recent investigation of sexual harassment rumors. File photo by Lina Weingarten

Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) released a statement Feb. 26 on his decision not to seek reelection in 2021.

“After much deliberation and consideration with my family, friends and advisers, I have decided not to seek reelection as Huntington Town Supervisor this November. To be clear, this was my decision and my decision alone made in the best interest of my family, the town, and the Republican Party.  While this decision is a difficult one, it is made easier by the fact that in less than one term I have delivered on all of my campaign promises and will continue to accomplish the many goals I set out to achieve before this final year is complete.  Few administrations have faced as many challenges, and few have achieved what we have.  I am proud that I will leave the Town of Huntington in a far better place than when I took office, and for that reason I am incredibly optimistic about the future of the Town and its hamlets that I love so much.

“The effort to take the Town in a new direction began roughly four years ago and was inspired by my deep roots in Huntington, which was borne from a small butcher shop operated by my grandfather on New York Avenue in the old Huntington Station.  On the campaign trail, I often recounted the importance of this butcher shop to my family’s history in Huntington and it served as my impetus for revitalizing the Huntington Station area.  My campaign attracted a broad coalition inspired by my community connections, broad platform and commitment to move the Town in a new and better direction.

“In office, I immediately set to work on fulfilling my campaign promises.  In our first month, I fulfilled my promise to make town government more transparent and accountable to its residents by enacting term limits, strengthening our ethics laws and increasing opportunities for constituent feedback.  These measures increased confidence in town government and the democratic process.

“I also pledged to preserve and enhance the wonderful quality of life that makes Huntington a special place to live, work and raise a family.  Every day, we worked to protect the suburban charm of our neighborhoods and historic downtowns, while creating new economic opportunity for this generation and the next.  To provide our children with an even better town than the one we inherited, we committed to smart development, curbed the overdevelopment of Huntington Village, invested in open space and farmland preservation, revitalized our waterfront, and continued the reinvestment in and revitalization of Huntington Station.

“Among so many other accomplishments, I spearheaded the creation of the Town of Huntington Bureau of Administrative Adjudication, the first town court of its kind on Long Island, to efficiently adjudicate violations of the Huntington Town Code; held the line on property taxes with three Tax Cap-compliant budgets; protected the Town’s AAA-bond rating; and made unprecedented investments in our Town parks and facilities.

“While so much was accomplished to date, my time as Supervisor may be defined by two unprecedented challenges, one inherited, and one that no one could have anticipated.

“The decade-long litigation with LIPA over the assessment on the Northport Power Plant posed an existential threat to all homeowners, commercial property owners, and the Northport-East Northport School District.  With settlement negotiations stagnant, a looming court judgment threatened ruin for our beautiful Town.  Under my leadership, the Town negotiated an unprecedented settlement few thought possible.  We eliminated the threat of total financial devastation, including up to $825 million in future tax refund payments to LIPA, which hung over the heads of our residents for over a decade, secured millions of dollars in additional funding for our schools and Town, and protected our residents against unsustainable tax increases.

“The once-in-a-lifetime pandemic came without warning and required quick decision-making and visionary leadership to protect our residents, businesses, front line workers and Town employees.  Our Town developed a comprehensive plan to safely reopen facilities and deliver important services to our residents.  We continued to provide daily meals for our senior citizens.  We adopted countless measures to assist struggling local businesses, including the creation of a small business task force that continues to make recommendations for additional measures.  Our country suffered terribly from this pandemic, and our Town was not spared that pain.  I send my thoughts and prayers to all the victims of this insidious virus as well as their surviving family members.  We will never forget and the first Monday in March has now been designated as “COVID-19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day” in the Town of Huntington.

“As this phase of my public service career comes to a conclusion, I must thank our outstanding Town workers for everything that they have done to help make the new direction vision a reality.  Public service remains a noble pursuit and our employees fully understand that.

“Our Town remarkedly includes so many people of different backgrounds and we draw our strength from this diversity.  The Town Supervisor must ensure that the voices of all such people are heard and respected.  I am proud to have served as a time when Huntington has come together with a united voice, even as our national discourse tends to divide us.  To this end, over the course of my term, I have encouraged the celebration of our diversity while promoting a vision of a unified Town centered upon our shared values and common humanity as evidenced by initiatives preserving Huntington’s Black history and honoring the lives of Dr. Agnes Hiller, Samuel Ballton, Peter Crippen, and Paul Johnson.

“During my time as Town Supervisor, I have often thought of Jackie Robinson’s famous quote that “a life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”  This quote motivated me during challenging times and inspired me to do more to help our residents.  Whether one is in the public or private sector, we should remember Mr. Robinson’s wise words and do our best to make our corner of the world a better place.  I am committed to doing just that in the next phase of my life because those values are my inheritance.

“I want to thank everyone for the friendship and support they have given me during my time as Town Supervisor.  It has been an honor and a privilege to serve our Town and its residents and, rest assured, that I will continue approaching each day through the end of my term with the same vigor and passion for public service that I had on the day I was first elected.”

Lupinacci will serve the remainder of his existing term in office.

Rebecca Sanin

The president and CEO of a local nonprofit is ready to make some changes in Huntington if elected in November.

“I care so much about our neighbors, so many of our neighbors, both families and businesses, are struggling with the economic assaults of COVID-19. And I think this is a very unique time in history. We need an executive in the supervisor’s office with a record of innovation.”

— Rebecca Sanin

Earlier this month, the Huntington Town Democratic Committee announced Rebecca Sanin’s run for Town of Huntington supervisor. The 42-year-old, who lives in Huntington Station with her family, has served as the president and CEO of the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island since 2017. Prior to that, she worked with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s (D) administration for more than five years as an assistant deputy county executive.

“I worked on creating an environment of continuous improvement, and I would bring those skill sets to Town Hall to make sure that we’re doing an analysis of what we should be doing, what we can be doing, how we can do things differently, how we can improve public service,” she said. “And, how we can create better access so that every member of our community feels that they can connect with their leaders and departments in the town.”

Sanin added that due to her work in the county and the nonprofit sector she has experience working with different levels of government.

“I think it’s very important that an executive in the Town of Huntington is able to work with the state as it’s recovering from COVID-19 and is able to work with the county, is able to work effectively with the villages,” she said. “These relationships are very important when it comes to making sure that every Huntington resident is effectively served, and I bring that skill set to this candidacy.”

The candidate said with the council she has helped to bring the nonprofit business community together and has helped to lead the sector through the pandemic.

She said for her being in the political arena is all about public service, and at a young age she used to volunteer to serve food in soup kitchens.

When the Huntington school district school board began talks in 2010 to close the Jack Abrams Intermediate School due to crime in the area, Sanin worked with others to try to get the school reopened. She said it was important to the children and families in the community, and she felt there was a way to keep children in the school while residents worked to eliminate neighborhood gang and gun violence.

“It was the Jack Abrams school closing that really birthed in me the importance of advocacy, and the importance of community togetherness and working together with the community too, to make sure that we have the best outcomes we can for families,” she added.

Sanin’s love for the town runs deep.

“I care so much about our neighbors, so many of our neighbors, both families and businesses, are struggling with the economic assaults of COVID-19,” she said. “And I think this is a very unique time in history. We need an executive in the supervisor’s office with a record of innovation.”

She added that the town could be a model to show what it means to put people first and show support for the business community.

“We really need to be creative about how we build our future together,” Sanin said. “One of my greatest strengths is consensus building — bringing people together, helping people to work together toward solutions. You know, I want to take my skill set and my record of leadership and bring it to the town that I love more than any.”

“One of my greatest strengths is consensus building — bringing people together, helping people to work together toward solutions.”

— Rebecca Sanin

When it comes to the pandemic, she said she believes the aftereffects will be felt for years to come.

“It’s a multiyear recession, for sure, and it’s a time in which people who were struggling before COVID are now in crisis, and a whole lot of people who have never struggled in their lives are losing their businesses or losing their livelihoods or losing their jobs,” she said. “We have to be creative and think about the role of the town, and how the town can play a leadership role in catalyzing our recovery.”

Sanin recognizes how unique and diverse Huntington is with its different hamlets, where residents in one area may have different concerns than another part of the town.

“It’s very important that we listen to the community when we decide our priorities,” she said. “An executive shouldn’t come into office and say, ‘This is what we’re going to do.’ We should be listening to the community, we should be responding to the needs of the community — both families and the business community. And I think we have to be doing that with an eye toward innovation, because these are very unique times. And if we don’t innovate — if we aren’t willing to reflect and do the analysis that’s necessary to build a bright future — then we’re going to have significant challenges.”

The candidate said people’s faith in government needs to be restored, and it starts by putting qualified people in as department heads.

Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) has not announced if he will be running again for office in November. There are rumors that Councilman Eugene Cook (R) will run instead, but no official announcement has been made.

Sanin said no matter who runs, she will still be a fresh face in town government. On the same ticket there will be two candidates for council members: Jennifer Hebert of Huntington and Joe Schramm of Northport, who are both running for office for the first time.

“They’re extremely dedicated to making sure that Huntington residents get what they need and deserve,” Sanin said.