2022 Elections

Above, state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket). Photo by Rita J. Egan

This November, incumbent state Assemblyman Steve Englebright will be on the ballot again. We should give him our support to honor his decades of service and commitment to this area.

Englebright has worked tirelessly, fighting for cleaner air and water. He is a champion for preserving open space, a critical platform in an age of surrender to the interests of developers and unrestricted suburban sprawl.

Englebright has also made electrification of the Port Jefferson Branch line a staple of his reelection campaign. In our office debate, he referred to this investment as having regional and generational potential. The electrification of the North Shore line is possible, and we hold that Englebright is the right person to get us there. 

In his decades of public service, Englebright has accumulated goodwill among his colleagues and the leaders in state government. Over time, he has cultivated seniority within his caucus. Now more than ever, he can use that clout to deliver even more results for the community.

As for his opponent, Edward Flood, we were impressed by his sincerity and commitment to serve. We wish him well and hope he stays involved in politics.

This time around, however, the TBR News Media staff strongly endorses Assemblyman Steve Englebright for reelection.

METRO photo

By Lisa Scott

If you’re a news consumer you’ve heard a lot about how important these midterm elections are. Voter turnout is usually greatest in a presidential election year (66.8% in 2020 59.2% in 2016) but falls off at midterms (49% in 2018 and 36% in 2014). It shouldn’t, since the entire House of Representatives and 1/3 of the Senate is on the ballot along with many state governors and state legislatures. 

Also this is the first election after many states reapportioned their districts, which has been contentious due to extreme gerrymandering (resulting in court cases, re-drawn lines, and in New York State  a huge amount of confusion for voters who don’t know which congressional and state districts they now reside in). Whether you’re an occasional voter or a consistent one, what matters is that YOU VOTE. Be prepared: study the ballot and make a plan. Keep in mind the following:

• If you didn’t register to vote by Oct. 14, you cannot vote in this election.

• If you didn’t request an absentee ballot by Oct. 24, the only way you can get one now is to physically appear at the Board of Elections on or before Nov. 7 (and fill it in while you are there).

• If you’ve requested an absentee ballot, you can track it online at https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/ 

• Early voting is currently underway (from Oct. 29 through Nov. 6). You can vote early at any of the 27 early voting sites in Suffolk County. Hours do vary, so check before you go at https://my.lwv.org/new-york/suffolk-county.

The Suffolk County Board of Elections is still down as a result of the county’s IT department restoring systems after September’s hacking incident, but their phones are staffed. However you must vote at your assigned polling place on election day Nov. 8 — find it at https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/ 

Suffolk County Board of Elections trained poll workers staff the voting sites. Each position has a 2 workers — one a Republican and one a Democrat. An individual cannot unilaterally make a decision without the approval of the other party’s worker which provides balanced oversight. If you have any issue at the polls you can call the Election Protection hotline at (866) 390-2992, or the Suffolk County Board of Elections at 631-852-4500.

To find out what races and candidates are on YOUR ballot, visit the League of Women Voters’ www.Vote411.org. If you’re not familiar with the candidates you can refer to their answers to questions (which are unedited). 

When you’re at the polls, “flip” your ballot to see what propositions you are being asked to vote on. All NYS voters can vote yes or no on the “Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022”  proposition. (Bonds would be issued to provide moneys to make environmental improvements; these are not taxes.) The League of Women Voters supports this proposition. 

There is also a Suffolk County proposition on all ballots which updates the language in the County Charter with regard to terms limits for County Executive, County Legislator and County Comptroller. Because of vague language in the original Charter Law, voting yes to this proposition would make the language clearer; that the limit of years of service for those offices is 12 years, regardless of whether 12 years are served consecutively on non-consecutively. Voting no does NOT eliminate term limits for these offices. A no vote simply means that the original Charter Law language remains unchanged.

We live in challenging times and apathy on election day is not an option for any of us. And after you’ve voted, remain engaged: stay informed and active and communicate with your elected officials.

Lisa Scott is 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. For more information, visit https://my.lwv.org/new-york/suffolk-county or call 631-862-6860. 

TBR conducted a phone interview with Democrat Lisa Jimenez, left, and Republican Vincent Puleo, right, stopped by the office to discuss the 2022 county clerk race. Photo of Jimenez from candidate; photo of Puleo by Raymond Janis

After a June primary, current Suffolk County Clerk Judith Pascale (R) will not be running for the position.

Republican Vincent Puleo, town clerk of Smithtown, defeated Pascale, who has served in the position since 2006, in the primary election. In November, Puleo will face Democrat Lisa Jimenez, a newcomer to running for political office.

Jimenez was unable to come into the TBR News Media office for a debate. Puleo stopped by for an in-person interview with the editorial staff, and Jimenez answered questions from the writer in a phone conversation.

Vincent Puleo

Puleo, a Nesconset native, was a bar and restaurant owner for 26 years before a turn in the insurance business and then becoming town clerk in 2005. He has been a volunteer with the Nesconset Fire Department for 50 years and is the president of the Nesconset Chamber of Commerce.

He said he feels it’s important to be community-minded regarding his current position, and he will bring that mindset to the county.

“Without community interaction, people don’t know who you are, they don’t know what you do,” he said.

The county clerk position oversees access to deeds, title searches and supreme court records. Puleo said he has priorities if he wins the election, including transparency, constituent services and making records more accessible, including online.

Puleo added that he feels Pascale has done a good job regarding transparency, and he will look to see if anything else can be done to make the process even more transparent. His aim, he said, is to make all processes smoother.

Puleo said he feels people shouldn’t have to go to the county clerk’s office in Riverhead to get a record when it could be as simple as registering on the county’s website and accessing it virtually. 

He said he has obtained $350,000 grants three years in a row to digitize Smithtown records for the town itself, as well as the villages and fire departments within the township.

He said 90% of the supreme court records are digitized, and he would continue that trend. He added that unions have been concerned with records being digitized because it may eliminate employees.

“Not really, what it does is it gives you more time to service more people,” he said.

Once the county’s website is back up and running after the recent cyberattack, he said he feels improvements can be made to the site to make it more user-friendly. Before the cyberattack, title searches were already backed up, and he would like to make the process more efficient. He said first it’s important to meet with department heads to work together for the common goal.

Puleo said to avoid cyberattacks such as the one the county suffered from early in September, IT professionals need to be in charge overall of the entire county system and know what goes on in each department to ensure that everything that is imported or exported is protected. He said he understands the county is moving in that direction, which he finds encouraging.

Puleo added that he and other elected officials can advocate for the county to spend more money, and he applauds Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) for allocating $8 million toward IT measures.

The Republican candidate added it helps to have relationships with elected officials, and over the past few months he has met with every county legislator.

“It’s a situation where you need to have those people understand where you’re coming from, and they have to trust you, and you have to trust them,” Puleo said. 

Lisa Jimenez

Jimenez, of Medford, has worked at the Suffolk Regional Off-Track Betting for more than four decades. Before working full time for OTB, she worked as an assistant in Congressman Michael Forbes’ office (R/D-NY1).

She has been a member of Teamsters Local 237 and the AFL-CIO. The candidate also has volunteered as a catechist and at local food banks. She was active in her children’s PTA and recently was certified with Washington-based Underground Railroad which works to raise awareness about human trafficking and prevent it.

Jimenez said she feels her work experience and volunteer endeavors would be an asset to the county clerk position.

“I’m used to working with fast-paced, large groups and working with the unions,” she said. “I’ve learned how to come up with solutions quickly.”

Jimenez said she is open to learning new things.

“I’m willing to sit down and learn whatever I need to do to get the job done,” she said.

During her time with OTB, she has gone from cashier to human resources manager. 

“As a manager, as a cashier, I’ve done it front and center,” Jimenez said. “It’s not below me to do the job of the cashier. My branch needs to be cleaned then I’m out there cleaning. I will make myself as accessible as possible.”

After the recent cyberattack, she said she doesn’t think the county has made the best decisions as far as improvements to minimize security issues in the past, and she would meet with IT professionals to seek better solutions for internet security.

Regarding the website in general, she said she has had issues at times navigating through the county’s website and would like to see it be more user-friendly, especially when trying to access records.

“There’s always ways to improve upon what’s already there,” she said.

Jimenez believes completely digitizing records is better for the constituents, and she doesn’t feel that all records being digitized would lead to less employees.

Jimenez said if there was room in the budget, she would like to see the county open up satellite county clerk offices so residents wouldn’t have to travel to Riverhead to get paperwork. She would also suggest the offices stay open later than usual one or two days a month to make it easier for people who work a 9-to-5 job.

She said she would look to make the office more efficient with document processing being quicker.

“I think the next thing is the turnover of the paperwork,” she said. “How can we get that? You look at any other county, the paperwork is in and out. Ours isn’t.”

She also suggested providing assistance, possibly an office liaison, for veterans or those with disabilities to make it easier for them.

Jimenez agrees that Pascale has run a transparent office.

“I think she’s done a great job all these years,” she said. “I have nothing negative to say about her or Vinny. But, I think there’s always room for improvement.”

State Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick stopped by the TBR News Media’s offices to discuss the 2022 race. Photo by Raymond Janis

While there will be two names on the ballot for New York’s 8th Assembly District, incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick (R-St. James) and Democrat Jeanine Aponte of Hauppauge, the latter is not actively campaigning.

The district covers the Town of Smithtown and northern parts of Islip.

Fitzpatrick stopped by the TBR News Media offices recently to discuss the race with the editorial staff. He has been an assemblyman for 20 years and is running for his 11th term. Prior to being an assemblyman, he was a Town of Smithtown councilman from 1988 to 2002; he was also a financial services representative. 

Cracking down on crime

“We have a problem, and something has to be done about it,” Fitzpatrick said when talking about bail-free crimes.

The assemblyman said when bail reform was first debated in the Assembly, Republicans and Democrats all agreed that something needed to be done. However, he said, the progressives were dominant, and in the end, he said he felt the police, district attorneys and judiciary members were excluded from creating the law, representatives he said were important to have at the table.

“No dangerousness was taken into consideration, and all the judges were saying this is not going to work and the DAs as well,” he said. “They did not like this.”

Fitzpatrick added there is a feeling of disappointment in Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) that she’s not pushing back, and he feels she fears that she will lose the progressive base and thinking they will “stay home and not vote.” Especially, he said, since her gubernatorial opponent, current Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY1), has been making inroads including with the Asian, Black and Latino communities.

Fitzpatrick said the Republicans’ goal in the Assembly, despite currently being in the minority, is to get to 50%.

“So that we can take away that veto-proof majority,” he said. “That forces compromise, at least forces discussion at the table, and the same in the Senate.”

Fitzpatrick said if Hochul is elected the hope is that she will move more to the center politically.

“What I fear, if the crime issue is not dealt with, and dealt with soon, you’re going to see, I think, a continued exodus of people and jobs out of the city,” he said. “We’ve had a significant loss already. I believe it will accelerate if nothing is done about it, and the concern is you’re going to have a hollowed-out New York City.”

Fitzpatrick explained it would mean the city would be left with the wealthy and the poor with the middle class leaving as well as jobs.

“You already have the challenge of getting people to come back into the office,” he said. “They like working from home. They got used to it for the past two years, but the crime issue in the subways is not helping matters.”

He said he doesn’t see New York City returning to normality until there is a handle on crime.

Gun safety

Fitzpatrick said he supports the Second Amendment. He added the Republican side in the Assembly includes members who are former military and law enforcement personnel as well as farmers.

“We have more people on our side of the aisle who can speak with authority on gun ownership, gun safety, gun training,” he said. “There’s virtually nobody on the other side of the aisle who has that kind of experience and depth of knowledge. So, we know what their agenda is. We get it. This is the world of politics. But, you know, I think whenever those debates come up, we just, we wipe the floor, hands down, but it doesn’t matter, because they have the numbers”

Regarding recent stabbing incidents in New York City, he said he believes the majority involve those with mental illnesses.

“With bail reform, you’re letting people out,” he said. “You’re not remanding people to jail. Not to serve time, but until they have their day in court. But some of these people are not well, we’ve heard this from the correction officers, we’ve heard this from the attorneys. They’re not well, but because of the new bail reform, they can’t be held and they’re let out.”

Recent migrants

He said he is unhappy with the federal administration for leaving the border open with an increase in drugs coming over, also people on the terrorist lists and gang members. He said the borders should be more secure.

“The border towns have been totally overwhelmed,” he said. “They can’t provide the services.”

He said it wasn’t a surprise that cities in the South sent migrants to sanctuary cities such as New York. The assemblyman said sending migrants back is not possible, and he believes there should be some way to give them a pathway to citizenship.


Along with state Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James), Fitzpatrick said he is most focused on sewer installation in Smithtown’s downtown areas. To revitalize downtowns, he said, it’s important to look to towns that have done it successfully, such as Patchogue and Farmingdale. Fitzpatrick added it’s important to pick areas near transit hubs for density building.

He didn’t support Hochul’s accessory dwelling unit proposal earlier this year. The bill would have given everyone the right to have an ADU in their home, something that wouldn’t work with cesspools on Long Island and burden school districts, he said.

“Your transit-oriented development is really the way you address the affordability issue because the price of land is so high, you lower that price with density,” he said. 

Fitzpatrick gave the example of the overlay district in the Hauppauge Industrial Park and the proposed development plans for it as an example of a walkable community where people can walk to stores, restaurants and even work, something he said many people look for when searching for a home.

He said such housing will help the area to remain relevant, especially with some choosing not to move here due to the high cost of living. 

Stony Brook University

For the past few years, Fitzpatrick said he’s been talking to colleagues, elected officials and students about the possibility of the State University of New York, also known as SUNY, becoming a national brand and having Stony Brook University be its flagship.

He said he would like to see the acronym SUNY be dropped and the educational institution be known as the University of New York or UNY.

He believes it needs to be rebranded to draw more students nationally.

“We are a great state university, but we’re not a national brand,” Fitzpatrick said.

He gave examples of University of Michigan, University of North Carolina and University of Alabama, and said SBU is “as good or better than any of them.”

He added he would love to see SBU among the top 10.

If SUNY can be rebranded and SBU made the flagship he said it would help the athletic department and could lead to being part of a major conference. This could mean the expansion of Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium or building a newer one closer to the Long Island Expressway or another major roadway.

He said it makes sense as SBU is near the city.

“Why don’t we take a shot and get into a major conference with the University of New York,” Fitzpatrick said. “This makes sense. I think it would be good for the entire system, and it creates a fair level of economic activity by being in a major conference.”

Incumbent state Sen. Anthony Palumbo and Democratic Party nominee Skyler Johnson. Photos by Raymond Janis

In the race for New York’s 1st state Senate District, incumbent Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) is competing against  Democratic Gen Z challenger Skyler Johnson of Mount Sinai.

In an office debate, these two candidates offered their perspectives on assorted topics affecting this area.


Palumbo has served in elective office for nearly a decade, first in the state Assembly and later in the Senate, where he is completing his first term. He is also a practicing criminal defense attorney. 

Johnson currently sits on the board of Temple Beth Emeth of Mount Sinai. Before pursuing state office, he worked under Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren and now works for the Brentwood-based nonprofit New Hour for Women & Children – LI, a program for reentry services for formerly incarcerated women and their families. If elected, he would be the youngest person to serve in the state Legislature since Theodore Roosevelt.

LIRR electrification

Electrification of the Port Jefferson Branch line is an area of agreement for the two state Senate candidates. Johnson intends to use his office to apply direct pressure on the MTA-LIRR to get there.

“I’d like to make sure that we’re bringing home funds for the MTA, making sure that the project is properly funded, as well as making sure that there is enough transparency in the process,” he said. “I want to make sure that I’m communicating with environmental and transit advocacy groups to get them involved and make sure that from the public side, they’re also putting pressure on the MTA.”

Palumbo said cleaning up the Lawrence Aviation Superfund site is nearly completed, after which serious deliberations can occur on electrification. “I think that would really get the ball rolling, and then it really does come down to funding,” he said. “I know many people have been clamoring for it. They’ve been asking about it. … It actually is ripe to do it at this point.”

Cost of living

In communities throughout the 1st Senate District, the area is simultaneously experiencing an exodus of residents from the region while encountering difficulties attracting new families. To counteract these trends, Johnson advocated confronting the various facets of the problem in their entirety.

“As a young person trying to invest in my future, trying to invest in my community, I can say that it is very hard to afford the cost of living here,” he said. “It is very hard to find anything remotely affordable to rent, buy or live in our community.”

When discussing the issue of declining student enrollment in school districts, Johnson further pressed this point: “Our schools are not going to seem attractive if people cannot actually get to them, if people cannot afford to buy within our communities,” he said.

Palumbo, on the other hand, said keeping families in the area requires supporting small businesses, which he called the “backbone of our economy.”

“Business owners are not going to operate their business at a loss,” he said. “They’re going to do what they can. Their margins are tight enough in this state. … I think that’s where it starts and, of course, affordable housing and all of those other issues.”

Elaborating upon this position, Palumbo supported cutting taxes on businesses and offering incentives to keep them in New York, including reducing the minimum wage.

“We’ve been doing what we can to help these small businesses get started, but I feel like it’s almost at the point where we need to give [them] a leg up,” the state senator said. “We need to create huge exemptions. … How about an exception for businesses with 10 or less employees?”

Drawing a clear distinction, Johnson said keeping the area populated starts with paying workers a fair wage. “We need to pay workers fairly,” he said. “I fully support the current minimum wage, and I want to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to expand workers wages, not reduce them, because that doesn’t help anyone.”

While much of the conversation on housing surrounds renters, Palumbo said more opportunities to support buyers need to be in place. “It’s not always about renting,” he said. “It’s about affordable housing purchases,” adding that subsidizing first-time homebuyers “is huge.”

For Johnson, the problem has gradually compounded over time. “It is really not good that people cannot afford to buy, that people cannot afford to rent and that people cannot afford to stay here long term,” he said.


Throughout the 1st District, rising sea levels, increased flooding and intensifying storms threaten waterfront properties. In Johnson’s view, the problem is twofold. It first requires action on the part of the state to reinforce natural barriers to protect coastlines. However, these issues are part of a broader effort to reduce carbon emissions and counteract climate change.

“At the end of the day, this all ties into the fight against climate change,” he said. “It is all about investing in natural energy, doing everything we can to fight the effects of sea-level rise.”

For Palumbo, policymakers can work to resolve these matters through several initiatives. “The sea level is gradually rising,” he said. “There needs to be a big plan and, unfortunately, it’s going to take [money], and the government has to be fully committed, which I think we are in New York.”

For the erosion issue at East Beach bluff in Port Jefferson, Johnson said coastal resilience efforts are a matter of shoreline hardening, but saying there is not “a one-size-fits-all approach.”

“Unfortunately, there are going to be places where we need to retreat, where there’s not much else that we can do,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m committed to investing in environmental infrastructure, in making sure that we’re fighting erosion, making sure that we are proactively having engineers who can examine the situations.”

Palumbo agreed with Johnson, stating that shoreline resiliency depends upon the project and should be evaluated case by case.

“There’s a balance that needs to be struck, of course, between what is reasonably feasible for the particular area,” the state senator said. “The bottom line is I do think it would depend on the project.”


With the statewide legalization of marijuana, there will be emerging debates over the future of the substance within communities. The candidates offered similar perspectives when asked whether there should be restrictions on the number of dispensaries and whether the plant should be grown in their district.

“I’m a less-government-is-more kind of guy,” Palumbo said. “There will be a lot of comments, no question, when that’s decided, and if at all, it should always be done with public input.”

He added, “It’s farming. It clearly is farming, but obviously, the nature of it is such that it’s not just like you’re farming corn. … I think siting is very important — where it’s going to be — and I think public input is extremely important.”

Johnson favored growing marijuana in the district, saying it could bolster the local economy and assist farmers. 

“Moving forward, I think it would be beneficial to have some growth within our agriculture communities,” he said. “I think the funds that will come from that will be really important. I think that they could be used to invest into our roads, our infrastructure, into a lot of the programs that I want to see take place.”


Palumbo believes the problem of polarization in politics is further magnified in the age of social media. He advocates returning debates to matters of policy and removing personal attacks.

“I don’t think we need to be impolite, that we need to go after each other’s policies and not the other person,” he said. “I’ve always maintained that sort of a manner in conducting business, and I’m hopeful that we’re going to get back there, and we will.” He added, “I think that happens when we have a diversity of thought.”

Despite their differences on many policy grounds, Johnson thanked his opponent for his willingness to engage in a dialogue. 

“Senator Palumbo, we disagree on a lot of things, but you’ve always been willing to have a conversation, and I appreciate that,” Johnson said. “I think maintaining an open dialogue is really important to creating bipartisanship, to working across party lines.”

He added, “Whoever of us wins, I think we will be able to have conversations across the aisle. I hope we can return to a place of civility.”

Voters will have the final word on these two candidates for state Senate District 1 on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Former county legislator Susan Berland and incumbent Mario Mattera will be on the ballot for state senator in the second district. Photos by Raymond Janis

Aiming for New York State senator in the 2nd District are incumbent Mario Mattera (R-St. James) and Democrat Susan Berland, formerly Suffolk County legislator in the 16th District and Town of Huntington councilwoman.

The two have worked together in the past on local issues, and despite differing on some political issues and eyeing the same job, the two remain friendly. When they stopped by the TBR News Media offices recently to discuss the race, the debate was a cordial one, and the two agreed on a few issues and were civil when they disagreed.

Currently, District 2 encompasses Smithtown and sections of Brookhaven and Huntington. Beginning in 2023, it will include all of Smithtown and Huntington and no Brookhaven hamlets.


Berland was an attorney before becoming a town councilwoman in 2001. During her tenure as county legislator, she served as the majority leader of the Legislature. In 2021, she lost to Republican Manuel Esteban by 156 votes. When she heard Jim Gaughran (D-Northport) wasn’t going to run again for the state Senate after district lines changes, she said she decided to join the race.

A former union leader in the Plumbers Local Union No. 200, Mattera beat Democrat Mike Siderakis in 2020. The state senator is also a former board member of the Suffolk County Water Authority and has sat on Smithtown’s advisory board for new construction projects where he was active with the Lake Avenue Revitalization project in St. James.  

Bail reform

Both candidates agreed that the current bail procedure is not working. 

“It needs to be repealed,” Mattera said. “We need to get the proper people to the table.”

He added the proper people would be judges, district attorneys and law enforcement professionals.

The state senator said the problem lies in that many people who are released think they can get away with a crime again. 

“If people know they can get away with it, they are going to keep doing it,” he said.

Berland said if she was a state senator when the bail-reform measure was passed in the state budget, she wouldn’t have agreed to it as it was written. She said she believes it should have been drafted more eloquently and more public relations should have been done to educate the public about it. 

“I would not have voted for it in its current incarnation, but I would not repeal it,” she said. “I would amend it”

Berland said with people in the past being released on their own recognizance, in a way cashless bail has always existed. Regarding bail, she said unfortunately not everyone can afford it. In the last couple of years, she added she feels there have been improvements with amendments that have added judges back into the process and taken certain crimes off the bail-free list such as arson.

She thinks it’s important to have a judge’s discretion. 

“I don’t want anyone selling drugs to kids by a school to be released on his own recognizance,” Berland said.

Both agree that such measures and amendments shouldn’t be tied to the budget, and policy decisions should be voted separately.


The two candidates said they were against the legalization of marijuana.

Regarding the war on drugs, Berland said she felt Suffolk County has been successful with prevention and treatment programs and, if elected, would ensure municipalities received the resources they needed for treatment, prevention and education. She added it’s important to support the police.

“We need to give them the resources to investigate and recover the drugs that are out there,” she said. “I’m very much pro-police. I’ve always supported their budgets, their efforts.”

Mattera also said prevention programs are important in schools. He was upset about the marijuana legislation passing, and he feels marijuana is a gateway to other drug usage.

He said he is also worried when he sees or hears news stories that report children confusing THC gummies for candy because they are shaped like bears.

Mattera is proud that both Smithtown and Huntington opted out of dispensaries. The state senator met with supervisors over Zoom together to look into opting out of dispensaries, a decision that Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) and former Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) strongly supported.

“I’m very concerned that we have drug dealers that were incarcerated that are the first ones who would be able to open these dispensaries,” he said.

Sewer installation

Both candidates are advocates for sewers in downtown business areas.

Mattera has worked on getting sewers in Kings Park, downtown Smithtown and St. James. He added sewering Route 110 is also important as it has been piecemealed in the past.

Berland pointed out Mattera voted against funding for sewers in Huntington when it was in the budget. He said there were other things in the budget which made it difficult to vote “yes.”

“That’s another thing where if you voted against the budget, and you’re voting against infrastructure money, where maybe there are things I think from the budget that Democrats or Republicans can agree on, and try to take some of those things out of the budget,” Berland said. “I don’t think anyone disagrees that we need infrastructure money.”

Berland said she supported the Suffolk County grant program for homeowners who wanted to install an advanced wastewater treatment system on their property.

“For people who can’t hook up to a sewage treatment plant, we want to be able to give them the money they need to put their individual systems in,” she said.


Berland believes that schools need more resources to teach children the way they need to be.

“I don’t think children need to all be taught the same cookie-cutter way,” she said.

She believes in mainstreaming students, but also feels there may be a need for more teaching assistants in classrooms and breaking students into groups.

“One teacher to 25 kids in a classroom, I don’t think that really works anymore,” Berland said.

Mattera said mental health help assistance in schools is also vital, especially after the pandemic. He noticed that with his own children, they  were excited to stay home at first during the early days of the pandemic, but the excitement soon faded. He worked to get students back to “normalcy” such as back in the classrooms for in-person teaching and taking part in their usual activities such as sports and proms.

Despite the obstacles COVID-19 presented, Mattera said, “Our school districts did a great job, and I commend all of our teachers.”

Both are proponents of BOCES programs available to students with training young people for the careers in the trades.

Reproductive rights

Mattera is endorsing Congressman Lee Zeldin (R), and Berland is voting for current New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) in the governor’s race. 

Berland is afraid that Zeldin will repeal rights to an abortion in New York, and she feels that Hochul is the only gubernatorial candidate that will protect a woman’s right to choose, a decision she feels should be made among a woman, her family and doctor.

“Our reproductive rights and our rights in general are only as safe as the people who are sitting in the offices that make those decisions,” Berland said. “I would absolutely protect a woman’s right to choose.”

Mattera believes after speaking with Zeldin, that the latter will follow through on his promise not to overturn state law regarding abortion, and he himself would not vote to do so either. The state senator said his feelings on abortion is that it should be available if the pregnancy is a risk to a mother’s health or in the case of incest or rape, and if the woman is in the first trimester. He said if nothing’s wrong in the second or third trimester he has problems with a woman getting an abortion at that point.

Hochul v. Zeldin 

In addition to reproductive rights in the state, regarding voting for governor, Mattera also had an issue with health care workers losing their jobs if they weren’t vaccinated, which was a measure Hochul passed.

He added he feels the governor has not dealt with the recent migrants to NYC.

“What are they doing about all these people who are coming into New York state,” he said.

He added the “vibrant city” is going to get worse, and he wonders why the governor isn’t dealing with the issue.

He said there needs to be a process for migrants especially with recent drug problems. 

Berland disagreed and believes Hochul has done a good job since taking over office after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) stepped down.

“As a woman in government for 20 years, I see the difference in how women govern than men,” she said. “When there’s an issue that comes in front of her, she’s looking outside the box, she’s looking to try to fix those issues. There isn’t a single issue that she’s avoided since she started, that she got thrown in. And I think she’s hit the ground running.”

Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac), left, is the Democratic nominee in the race. Nick LaLota, right, is the Republican Party nominee for NY-1. Photos by Rita J. Egan

The race to fill U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin’s (R-NY1) congressional seat has highlighted some key issues confronting Suffolk County communities and the nation.

Zeldin announced last year he would vacate his seat to run for governor. Two major party candidates have emerged in his absence, both eager to fill the seat. In a debate with the TBR News Media staff spanning nearly two hours, the candidates covered myriad topics, tackling issues close to home and far away.


Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac) is representing her party for the 1st District. She is a former criminal prosecutor, trying sex crimes and fraud cases. Over the last decade, Fleming has served in elective office, first on the Southampton Town Board and later in the county Legislature, where she is today.

Nick LaLota, of Amityville, carries the Republican Party nomination in this race. He served in the U.S. Navy for 11 years and deployed overseas three times. He worked in congressional and state Senate offices before being appointed as the Republican commissioner on the Suffolk County Board of Elections. Most recently, he was chief of staff for the county Legislature.

Outlining priorities

Through their time canvassing voters, the candidates identified their potential constituency’s core legislative priorities. LaLota said he had observed a mix of voter interest in the economy and public safety.

“A lot of folks with whom I speak are tremendously concerned about those two things,” he said. “People want the government to work for them. They expect to have a fair shot at the ability to earn and not have their money overtaxed … and they expect to go home at night and be safe.”

Fleming agreed that crime and economic concerns have piqued voter interest. However, she held that the overwhelming problem for those she has canvassed is declining faith in American democracy and the “protection of fundamental freedoms.”

“Protecting American democracy, that’s at the front of mind for lots and lots of people,” she said.


‘ I would insist that government funds not be used for abortions, and I would also insist that … if a child is contemplating an abortion, that the parents get notified about that.’

—Nick LaLota

LaLota maintains the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, returned the matter of abortion to the states. While he does not view abortion as a federal policy concern, he nonetheless stated his position.

“I do not oppose abortion when it comes to rape, incest or the life of the mother, and I do not oppose abortion in the first trimester,” he said. “Conversely, I do oppose abortion in the second and third trimesters. I would insist that government funds not be used for abortions, and I would also insist that … if a child is contemplating an abortion, that the parents get notified about that.”

‘I believe firmly that it is not a state’s rights issue, that as a congressmember, I have to have a position on it, and that my position is that those protections [under Roe] need to be reinstated.’

—Bridget Fleming

Fleming described abortion as a “critical issue that defines a moment in time in American history.”

“It’s the first time in the history of the United States that a federally recognized human right has been reversed,” she said. “I believe firmly that it is not a state’s rights issue, that as a congressmember, I have to have a position on it, and that my position is that those protections [under Roe] need to be reinstated.”

Economic apprehension

Amid rising inflation, higher food and gas prices, and nationwide economic hardship, both candidates were asked about their favored approach to relieving these financial woes.

Fleming acknowledged that voters in the 1st District are further constrained by the high cost of living in the area. “It’s hard to make ends meet on Long Island,” she said. “Those costs are rising. … We need to look for specific ways to attack those costs.”

She added, “Certainly, taxes are one of them. I’ve been fighting against the cap on our state and local tax deductions … I think it’s critically important that a representative of this district fights the SALT tax cap.”

LaLota contributes much of the nation’s economic distress to unsustainable federal spending. “The federal government hasn’t balanced the budget in 20 years,” he said. “I think that can and should be done in the next Congress.”

Concerning petroleum prices, LaLota proposes establishing national energy independence by tapping into domestic oil reserves.

“We have 43.8 billion barrels of proven oil reserves [as of the end of 2018],” he said. “That’s a 20-year supply, so there’s absolutely no reason to beg OPEC, Russia, Venezuela or anybody else to export their oil to this country.”

Energy and the environment

LaLota views the 20-year supply of domestic oil reserves as both a blessing and a curse. While it offers the U.S. flexibility in the near term, it provides no long-term guarantee for energy independence. 

In the meantime, he supports an aggressive push toward renewable energy sources. “It is right for the private and public sectors to make investments in renewable, alternative energies — wind and solar, specifically — to ensure we are on a trajectory to be energy independent,” he said.

Establishing a clear point of difference, Fleming expressed vehement disagreement with LaLota’s position on drilling, calling it a “completely wrong direction to go.”

The county Legislator held up recent developments in the offshore wind industry, specifically at Smith Point Park, as a prototype for future energy development. She argued Long Island has an opportunity to be a leader in the cause for green energy.

“Not only will we be helping Long Island taxpayers, ratepayers and our natural environment, we’re also serving as a model for the region and for the United States on how we transition,” she said.

On the issue of nuclear energy, both nominees expressed a desire to keep nuclear power away from Long Island communities.

“I don’t think that the community would support it,” Fleming said. Referring to the decommissioned Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant, she added, “It’s been a huge detriment to any kind of progress.”

When questioned on nuclear energy, LaLota responded tersely, “Not on my Island.” For him, nuclear power is a matter of safety for Long Island residents. 

“For safety reasons, putting a power plant on Long Island just doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “It didn’t make any sense decades ago and doesn’t make sense now.”

LIRR electrification

‘If you could bring in funding for the electrification of the rail once and for all, assisting the Long Island Rail Road to get that accomplished, I think you’d do an awful lot for the community.’

—Bridget Fleming

Fleming and LaLota both supported electrifying the Port Jefferson Branch line of the Long Island Rail Road. For both, electrifying the rail is a matter of directing public funds into Long Island communities but working in close coordination with local officials.

“We definitely need to electrify the rest of the line,” Fleming said. “If you could bring in funding for the electrification of the rail once and for all, assisting the Long Island Rail Road to get that accomplished, I think you’d do an awful lot for the community.”

‘When these infrastructure dollars are received from Washington, given back to the district, it should absolutely be done in conjunction with what local stakeholders want and need.’

—Nick LaLota

LaLota concurred with this assessment while decrying the imbalance between the taxes New Yorkers give to the federal government and the infrastructure funds they get in return.

“We need to do a better job, working across party lines, to ensure that we get better infrastructure dollars back for projects like that,” he said, adding, “When these infrastructure dollars are received from Washington, given back to the district, it should absolutely be done in conjunction with what local stakeholders want and need.”

Foreign policy

On top of these domestic pressures, the congressional candidates identified critical instances of geopolitical turbulence in places around the globe.

Most notably, Russian president, Vladimir Putin, launched an invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, widely considered in violation of international human rights law. Fleming stressed her commitment to the Ukrainian war effort in response to Russian belligerence.

“I think it’s critically important for the rule of order and the international rule of law that the United States takes a strong stand, as we have, in conjunction with a united NATO, to condemn this unprovoked aggression, to offer military aid and to offer humanitarian aid,” she said.

On the whole, LaLota agreed with Fleming. He defined U.S. strategic interests in defending Ukraine. “We are the only superpower. We should promote stability throughout the world. We should protect American interests — we have many interests in Europe — and having stability in Europe … is good for America.”

‘I think we have lived in a moment in time for the last 10 years when China depends heavily upon U.S. dollars.’

—Nick LaLota

Along with the war in Ukraine, they also discussed the dangers of a rising China, a regime exerting greater influence politically and economically around the world.

LaLota advocates loosening the economic links that bind the two nations, something he said is unnecessary and counterproductive. 

“I think we have lived in a moment in time for the last 10 years when China depends heavily upon U.S. dollars,” he said. “We buy a lot of stuff — a lot of crappy, plastic stuff — that we shouldn’t have to buy from them.”

He added that American foreign policymakers must “ensure that [China] does not become a greater strategic enemy of ours.”

‘I think we have to keep a very close eye [on Xi].’

—Bridget Fleming

Fleming’s concerns regarding China relate primarily to Chinese president, Xi Jinping, whose unpredictable administration and questionable political associates cause her concern.

“I think we have to keep a very close eye [on Xi],” the county Legislator said. “I agree that we need to put ourselves in an economic position where we’re not beholden to the Chinese regime.”

Closer to home, the United States is observing heightened instability within its own hemisphere, with volatile regimes in Venezuela and Cuba, and growing concerns surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Both candidates were asked whether the United States must redefine its policy for Latin America.

For Fleming, much of the nation’s immigration crisis is attributed to government mismanagement of asylum seekers. “A lot of these folks are fleeing really dangerous circumstances,” she said. “One of the things we have to fix is a way to handle these asylum applications. We have huge backlogs in the court system, and a lot of it has to do with an unwillingness on the part of government to take seriously the granular issues involved in immigration.”

To remediate geopolitical unrest in the Western hemisphere, LaLota favors strengthening the military, diplomatic and economic bonds between the United States and its Latin American neighbors. 

“In Congress, I would support ensuring that Americans are involved in South America,” he said. “I think the benefit is less illegal folks coming across our border, and less dependence upon the U.S. in decades to come.”

Congressional reform

We have moved away from encouraging thoughtful approaches to government.’

—Bridget Fleming

We suggested the Founding Fathers envisioned Congress as the most powerful and important branch of the federal government. Over time, however, the national legislature has delegated much of its authority to the executive branch, particularly the hundreds of agencies comprising the federal bureaucracy.

At the same time, recent Gallup polling indicates that three in four Americans disapprove of how Congress is handling its job. The two nominees delivered varied responses when asked how they would restore the central role of Congress in U.S. policymaking.

‘If there’s going to be a tax, a fee, a rule or anything in between, it should come from the legislature.’

—Nick LaLota

“I think that this quasi-rulemaking by executive branch agencies has gone too far,” LaLota said. “If there’s going to be a tax, a fee, a rule or anything in between, it should come from the legislature.”

Expanding upon this stance, he criticized the existing culture of pork barreling and logrolling in Washington. He also advocated shorter, more straightforward, germane legislation narrowly tailored to the issues at hand.

“We shouldn’t be sticking all of this pork and these other ideas into [a bill] that has a different title,” he said, adding, “If we got back to that norm, I think we give power back to the people.”

Fleming’s frustrations with Congress stem from the breakdown of informed discourse and norms of civility. To reform the institution, she proposed the reinstatement of these practices.

“We have moved away from encouraging thoughtful approaches to government and are instead so prone to responding to, almost, performance art on the part of politicians and legislators,” she said.

To get the national legislature back on track, the county Legislator emphasized constituent services and a community-centric method of policymaking.

Referring to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, she said: 

“I think of Philadelphia when representatives came on horseback from their various places and asked that the government be shaped in a way that would respond to the concerns of folks in their communities,” adding, “That’s the model of government that I’ve always undertaken and that I think works best.”

The people of the 1st District will get the final say on these candidates on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Stock photo

Election Day is less than two weeks away, and now is the time for citizens to begin researching their ballots.

When we vote, we are not merely selecting a “D” or “R.” Our representatives are living, breathing creatures with all of the features of ordinary citizens. They possess personality traits, character flaws, preferences, opinions and persuasions. 

In these last few weeks, we must uncover these traits and determine whether they align with our values. Today, it is not enough to show up to the polls and vote. Here in Suffolk County, we find numerous examples of the popular will being subverted to advance the interests of a powerful few. 

Take judicial elections, for example. Party leaders hold enormous power concerning our judges. Through a sequence of dealmaking and compromises — most of which happen behind closed doors and away from the public eye — the party leaders line up all county judgeships through cross-endorsements well before the election.

To receive a judgeship and the sweet $185,000 to $211,000 salary that comes with it, our “elected” judges do what they must. They answer to their superiors, who are the political bosses awarding them their seats of power and cushy salaries. Meanwhile, the ordinary citizens — those paying these salaries — get left behind and forgotten.

If we do not research our ballots thoroughly, then our only options this November are those handpicked by the party chieftains. An uninformed citizenry only reinforces this broken electoral system, rendering our elected officials less accountable to the people with each passing election.

A functional, vibrant democracy requires that citizens take an active, rather than passive, role in the electoral process. We must take a deeper plunge into the candidates on our ballots. Who are these people? What are their professional backgrounds? If elected, how will they advance our values and interests?

It is time for the people to take back the reins of power. Let not the political bosses pull our strings as they do the puppets they try to plant in office. 

If we want politicians to be accountable to us, we must give our votes much more weight. Blindly voting down a ballot is as pointless and unproductive as not voting at all, especially since ballots also include candidates who have not actively campaigned. No person, regardless of party affiliation, is entitled to our vote.

Next week, TBR News Media will release its election supplement. Read through those articles, and get to know your prospective representatives. Let us break away from the party masters. Let the age of the uninformed voter die a sudden, unceremonious death.

Photo by Gerard Romano

By Nancy Marr

The $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Job Bond Act proposition on our ballot in 2022 will allow our state to undertake vital and urgent environmental improvement projects via issuing bonds; not a tax increase.

Long Island’s waterways are impaired by failing sewage and septic systems, and algae and nitrogen pollution impacts our sole-source aquifer system which provides drinking water to three million state residents. We need to find a way to conserve open space to benefit wildlife habitats, food production, and outdoor recreation. Many marginalized communities are harmed by pollution and have no access to open space, clean air and water.

There have been eleven environmental bond acts passed since the early 20th century. The conservation movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries was a response to vast deforestation, natural resource depletion and industrialization. The “forever wild” clause was added to the New York State Constitution in 1894 to enshrine the protection of lands in the Adirondacks and Catskills. 

In 1910 voters passed a bond act for $2.5 million, in 1916, for $10 million, and in 1924, for $15 million, all for the purposes of land acquisition and the establishment of parks. The 1965 Bond Act funded infrastructure to limit the flow of wastewater from untreated sewage overflows. In the 1970’s and 80’s, attention was galvanized by the problems with Love Canal, near Niagara Falls, the site of thousands of tons of toxic waste from the Hooker Chemical Company, which led policymakers in the US to establish hazardous waste regulatory systems.  The majority of the funding from the Environmental Quality Bond Act of 1986 went to manage hazardous waste in sites under the State Superfund program which had been established in 1979. The Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act of 1996 allocated the bulk of its $1.75 billion to safe drinking water and treatment of solid waste. 

The infrastructure in New York City, which supplied water to approximately 40 percent of NYS’s population, had already exceeded its life span by 2008 when the NYS Department of Health estimated that $38.7 billion would be needed over the next twenty years for drinking water infrastructure. The Legislature responded with an initial allocation in 2017 of $2.5 billion. In 2019 it passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which established clear statewide goals for emissions reduction and clear energy. 

Governor Hochul’s budget released the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Act of 2022. The final version, $4.2 billion, makes climate change its largest category of funding and designates that a portion of the total funding must be allocated to disadvantaged communities that bear a disproportionate share of negative environmental consequences. The 2022 Bond Act includes:

Climate Change Mitigation (includes money for electrifying school buses) — $1.5 billion: Will fund projects that expand clean energy infrastructure, increase energy efficiency, reduce green gas emissions, and protect air and water quality to help fight and mitigate climate change. 

Restoration and Flood Risk Reduction — $1.1 billion: Damage caused by severe storms and flooding is projected to cost over $50 billion statewide. Funding would provide investments in NY’s natural and manufactured coastal resilience systems such as shoreline protection, wetland restoration, local waterfront revitalization, green infrastructure, and voluntary buyout programs.

Open Space Land Conservation and Recreation — $ 650 million: The Bond Act funding will expand open space conservation programs, promote outdoor recreation, protect natural resources, improve biodiversity, benefit threatened and endangered species and help farmers who are facing the challenges of climate change. Funding will invest in restoring and maintaining native fish populations and increasing public access to our waterways to support LI’s maritime culture. 

Water Quality Improvement and Resilient Infrastructure — $650 million: A long-term solution is needed to fund our backlog of water quality and infrastructure needs which continue to outpace available funding; the Bond Act will help fill the gaps in funding by investing at least $659 million in protecting water quality, spending 35% of the total in disadvantaged communities.

On Election Day 2022, remember to turn over your ballot and vote for the Environmental Bond Act proposition! 

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. For more information, visit www.lwv-suffolkcounty.org or call 631-862-6860.

The Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association held its Meet the Candidates forum at Comsewogue Public Library on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

The Democratic and Republican nominees for New York State’s 1st Senate District and 4th Assembly District attended this civic meeting. The candidates received time to deliver opening statements, then answered questions covering a range of local subjects, followed by closing remarks. 

(Left to right) Anthony Palumbo, Skyler Johnson, Steve Englebright, and Edward Flood. Photos by Raymond Janis


Before entering elective office, incumbent state Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) worked as an attorney in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. He was in private practice for roughly 10 years before running for the state Assembly in 2013. He served the 2nd Assembly District until 2020, after which he assumed his current position.

Challenging Palumbo is Democrat Skyler Johnson, a 22-year-old Mount Sinai native and former political aide to Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren. If Johnson were to win this November, he would become the youngest person to serve in the state Legislature since Theodore Roosevelt.

In the Assembly race, incumbent state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) is also up for reelection. Englebright, a geologist by training, joined the state Assembly in 1992. Before that, he served as a Suffolk County legislator for nearly a decade.

Edward Flood is Englebright’s Republican challenger in this race. Flood serves as an assistant attorney for the Town of Brookhaven and is the town’s lead prosecutor for town code violations.

LIRR electrification

Each candidate supported electrifying the Port Jefferson Branch line of the Long Island Rail Road, with some variations in approach. 

Englebright advocates moving the existing Port Jefferson train station onto the county-owned Lawrence Aviation property. This plan, the assemblyman believes, would bring value to the community in the form of cleaner air and higher property values. 

“I am working to try to get the Long Island Rail Road to come into the modern age,” he said. “We will prevail. The first thing to do is to have a community that’s united. … If this community is supportive of that, that will be a big boost.”

Flood condemned the MTA for its historical neglect of Long Island communities. He seeks to pressure the MTA’s governing board and add a local representative to that body. “I don’t believe we have a local representative, and I don’t think anyone on that board cares much about us,” he said. “That needs to change.”

Johnson criticized the needless delays for residents traveling to New York City by rail. He favored allocating more state resources to address these concerns.

“It’s not the most fun trip getting onto the Long Island Rail Road,” he said. “We need to continually invest in the Long Island Rail Road because that will properly benefit our communities, it will help people commute, help people live better lives, and it will make our communities cleaner and safer.”

Palumbo underscored several of these points, backing his support behind moving the Port Jeff train station to the Lawrence Aviation property. “All of those issues are extremely important to this community,” he said. “I think we all agree that this is something that needs to be done.”


Another central topic for Port Jefferson Station/Terryville residents is homelessness. 

Flood proposed that many of the problems associated with homelessness stem from alcohol and substance abuse. He proposed strengthening addiction treatment programs and mental health services. 

“Unfortunately, addiction is rampant throughout the homeless community and possibly the reason why they are homeless,” the Assembly candidate said. “We need to do a better job finding resources to adequately treat people.”

Englebright approached the subject of homelessness through the lens of planning. According to him, this requires offering a coherent vision for the Port Jefferson Station area, much of that concentrated around managing the Lawrence Aviation property, followed by investment.

“That would make it possible for us to accelerate the investment into Port Jefferson Station itself,” he said. “We hear a lot of talk about transit-oriented development, and this is the appropriate place for that policy to be fully fleshed out.”

Johnson supported a “great investment into mental health” to ensure people experiencing homelessness receive the necessary tools to get off the streets. He also said the issue is tied to the affordability and housing crises on Long Island. 

“We do not have proper affordable housing, and we do not have proper workforce housing on Long Island,” the state Senate candidate said. “I’m going to make sure that we do everything that we can to bring home the funds so that we are investing in housing projects, while investing in our critical infrastructure, our public transportation, our roads to make sure that we are keeping up with the flux of people coming into our community.”

Palumbo discussed homelessness as a multifaceted issue, requiring changes in affordable housing, enforcement practices and mental health services.

“I think, generally, Long Island is unaffordable,” he said. “We need to lower the cost of living on Long Island, make it all more affordable, and most importantly do what we can to deal with an affordable housing crisis.”

Concluding remarks

During their closing statements, the candidates were asked to provide their two highest legislative priorities that would also affect Port Jefferson Station/Terryville residents.

Johnson stated his two highest priorities would be affordability and infrastructure improvements. “We need to make sure that we are putting money back in the pockets of everyday people,” he said. “And I’m going to make sure that we do that, and we’re going to make sure that we are investing in our roads and infrastructure.”

Palumbo said his two highest priorities are closely linked to one another. He first hopes to alleviate the burden of high taxes and the unaffordable cost of living on Long Island, then tackle rising crime rates.

“I think other things will fall in place if we get control of the crime issue,” the state senator said. “Coupling that with affordability … we’re losing people for a number of reasons in New York, and we shouldn’t be losing anyone.” He added, “We’re an amazing state, and we need to do what we can to save it.”

Though he did not identify the two highest priority issues, Flood highlighted several matters he would like to remediate if elected. Among these are rising crime, bail reform and better state budgeting.

“I see firsthand some of the effects the state has put into place in terms of bail reform,” Flood said. “They’ve added extra hardships to prosecutors and those in criminal justice, and you see it in an increase of crime, in the inability of a district attorney to bring cases forward, and in that, you have local governments who are handcuffed in trying to comply with a lot of these laws.”

For Englebright, his two highest priorities are the electrification of the Port Jefferson line and better community planning. The assemblyman foresees many positive effects if the existing railyard relocates to the Lawrence Aviation property.

“This is, after all, Port Jefferson Station,” he said. “Our station area should be enhanced, and the plan that we put forward for that should not just be something that looks like South Brooklyn. It should look like a vision of what this community should look like when it looks itself in the mirror.” He concluded, “It should be a place of pride. I believe it should be a public park.”