Election News

Mario Mattera, left, and Mike Siderakis, right, are both political newcomers running for State Senate District 2. Photos from campaigns

After former state Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) decided to end his political career this summer, leaving his seat in the 2nd District empty for a job with Northwell Health, two contenders emerged for Election Day 2020.

Former state trooper Michael Siderakis, of Nesconset, is running on the Democratic ticket and plumber union official Mario Mattera, of St. James, received the Republican nomination. Siderakis spent nearly 30 years as a New York State Police trooper and was a second vice president for the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association. Mattera is the business agent for Plumbers Local 200 and a board member of the Suffolk County Water Authority. He also sits on Smithtown’s advisory board for new construction projects where he has been active with the Lake Avenue Revitalization project. Both candidates are longtime residents and have raised their families in Smithtown hamlets, where their children have attended schools in the Smithtown Central School District.

In a Sept. 28 Zoom debate with TBR News Media, the two candidates discussed the state’s response to COVID-19, school budgets and more. While the two agreed on ways to resolve most issues, they differed regarding bail reform.

Bail Reform

While Siderakis feels the 2019 bail reform bill that limited the number of crimes judges could set bail for needs to be looked at again and revised, Mattera said it should be repealed. 

“Our bail system is not a fair system, where somebody who has $500 available to them for the same crime can go home, while somebody who may not have $500 in the bank for no other reason than the fact that he doesn’t have $500 has to go to jail,” Siderakis said.

‘We need to be safe and businesses need to enforce their own business.’

—Mario Mattera

The Democrat added bail reform should have been put in as a stand-alone bill and not included in the state budget vote. He said he also feels that legislators shouldn’t decide on what crimes require bail, and judges should be able to decide on a case-by-case basis.

Mattera said the bail system needs to go back to the way it was, especially with cases where people have been arrested for looting, robbing, selling drugs and then released only to commit the same crime again.

“It needs to go back to the way it was,” he said. “It’s not working now. I’m very frightened. We need to give the tools back to our law enforcement.”

Education

With talks of a projected 20 to 30 percent cut to state aid for schools, both candidates said they would fight to send money back to schools in the 2nd state Senate District. 

“We have to make sure we have someone up there fighting for our education system down here on Long Island,” Siderakis said, adding it’s important to keep good teachers on Long Island.

Mattera said with 70 percent of residents’ taxes going to education, it was important to make sure local school districts receive their fair share.

“Our children are our futures for all of us,” he said. “For Long Island, we need to make sure they’re part of the workforce and stay here.”

Mattera added that many local schools need updating and the state aid is desperately needed.

Siderakis said the state also needs to stop relying on local property taxes and receive more aid from the state to ensure everyone across New York has a fair and equal education. He said several districts don’t have the same income base, and the state should step up to provide the help needed for equal education.

Mattera said if elected he would take a good look at the budget to see why cutting state aid to education is on the table.

“It shouldn’t even be part of the conversation,” he said.

COVID Response

Both candidates said New York’s response was appropriate at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis but agreed that business needed to be opened up sooner. They said wearing masks, social distancing and handwashing are important to keep the virus at bay and businesses alive.

Mattera said that unused beds in field hospitals such as the ones at Stony Brook University, the Javits Center and the USNS Comfort should have been considered to decide when a region was reopened. He noted the beds were barely used. Adhering to the public health guidelines are key, he said, as he pointed to the 1,300 members of the plumbers union where only one person contracted the virus. He said he feels people have been educated about the virus and businesses can enforce the public health guidelines. He added that the State Liquor Authority has done a good job where it follows up a complaint with an inspection visit to a restaurant.

“We need to open up,” Mattera said. “We need to be safe and the businesses need to enforce their own business.”

Siderakis said in addition to the state’s response he thought the federal government overall did well with providing businesses with loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, but he feels small businesses need even more help.

‘There are people here who have been here for generations who won’t be able to weather the pandemic.’

—Mike Siderakis

“We have to make sure local stores are treated equally, not just the big box stores,” he said. “People have felt the pain and lost their livelihoods. There are people here that have been here for generations that won’t be able to weather the pandemic.”

Mattera also said he feels it’s important for all students to return to school five days a week for in-person education.

“These kids need their educators,” he said. “They need the interaction with their fellow students.”

Economy

Siderakis said he’s familiar with the problems young people on Long Island face economically with his oldest daughter trying to make it on her own with having an apartment in Port Jefferson.

“I think our small communities have a great advantage to attract businesses here where we can offer the distancing and the safety for workers,” he said.

He added we need to look at traffic patterns to avoid congestions on the roadways.

“We’re going to have to look for alternatives, and businesses are going to have to look outside of the box,” he said.

Mattera said in addition to young people, he’s also concerned about keeping people of all ages in the area. He said the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge is something he worked on with Smithtown officials to make sure it becomes the premier pharmaceutical area not only of the state but in the country providing good jobs, health care and pensions for the future. He said he also sees the potential of the former Kings Park Psychiatric Center and said its future use should be planned carefully.

“We have such great talent that can work right here in the Second District,” Mattera said.

The Republican candidate pointed to the Amazon facility project that was lost to New York City. He said it would have been ideal on the grounds of the former Pilgrim Psychiatric Center in Brentwood due to its proximity to parkways and the Long Island Rail Road.

“It’s a shame that politics lost a project that would have had 25,000 people working there,” Mattera said. “I just can’t understand how politics lost that.” 

Siderakis said he feels the governor has done a great job in attracting businesses to the state and believes the wave of the future is going to be green energy jobs.

“We have to make sure that we make Suffolk County known as the technology center, or Silicon Valley here, of New York state, and make sure we have enough incentives for companies to come here and start up small businesses and have the jobs for the future,” he said.

Democrat Steve Englebright, left, and Republican Michael Ross, right, are running for New York State Senate District 4.

Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) is seeking his 15th term in the New York State Assembly on the Democratic ticket. His opponent, Michael Ross, a local lawyer and former Suffolk County assistant district attorney, is running on the Republican party line. 

Both candidates live in Setauket. Englebright has been in the Assembly for 28 years, but Ross believes he can bring a fresh perspective with his background in law. Englebright, 74, and a scientist, is the chair of the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation, while Ross, 41,  worked as an assistant district attorney at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office for seven years. He now operates his private practice in Smithtown.

This week, TBR News Media spoke to both candidates by phone to discuss what they will do regarding COVID-19, bail reform and the environment, as well as other issues. 

Environment

Throughout his term, Englebright has been a huge voice favoring the environment. Last year, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act was signed into law, which he helped create and advised on. 

“For all practical purposes, Vice President [Joe] Biden’s position is our bill, so I’m pretty proud of that,” he said. 

During his tenure, Englebright touted his bringing solar and wind power to Long Island while being a senior member of the Energy Committee. Outspoken on the Climate Act, he said he is adamantly against the continuation of diesel trains and wants the LIRR to bring electrification to its transportation. He added that renewable energy initiatives will not only reduce fossil fuels, but the energy sectors he supports will bring jobs back to Long Island. 

Ross said he can agree with many of Englebright’s policies that he has brought to the table, but he wants to strive for better. 

“I have always been an advocate of the environment,” he said. “Just because there is an ‘R’ in front of my title doesn’t mean I don’t care about the environment and I don’t want to protect it. It’s not a political issue. It’s a human-being issue.” 

His questions revolve around finances, especially: “Do we have the money to do it, and do we have the time to do it?” 

He said he is concerned about the deficit the state is experiencing due to COVID-19 but is open to any suggestions and collaborative problem solving. 

Both candidates talked about the Gyrodyne project in St. James and how it will impact their jurisdiction. Englebright said the development will cause damage to Stony Brook Harbor with a plan to hook parts of Smithtown into its sewer. Ross said that while the Three Village area has received enormous amounts of job revenue because of local study facilities, it will be hard to accommodate the amount of traffic that will be coming in and out of the development. 

“With the roads that we have, they’re now looking for growth,” the Republican said. “And it would be a shame for the people in that area who will be adversely affected without upgrading infrastructure.”

Bail Reform and Police Transparency 

Englebright said the system in New York often favors those who have money and was “essentially prejudicial based on economic background, so you could buy your way out of incarceration.” 

He argued that one is not supposed to be punished until convicted. So, while he was in favor of the bail reform, he would have preferred it to be a standalone bill. 

“I think we should have given judges more discretion,” the Democrat said. “There are circumstances where you can’t write the law in anticipation of all circumstances, and you do need to have the role of a judge using, no pun intended, judgment. We did not, in my opinion, see that.”

Ross said he decided to run for the Assembly because of bail reform and his concern around it. 

“My issue with the bill reform was that it wasn’t discussed,” he said. “This is something that the Democrats were pushing for years and years, and there was always a Republican majority saying, ‘Stop, we’re not doing that.’” 

Ross added that from the standpoint as a prosecutor, it could have been improved. 

When asked about police transparency, Englebright said he believes our local police are doing a good job overall and always try to maintain a positive presence in the community.

He added that he has not seen any direct racism within his district, but “Long Island as a whole is the question.” 

Regarding more minority traffic stops from officers on duty, “it seems to be disproportional,” he said. “I think there’s always room for improvement.”

Ross brought his experience as a defense attorney to the table regarding the transparency of police. He said that for defense, it could be helpful to their case. But for a citizen to look into an officer’s file, it could be harmful. 

“If an officer has a credibility issue, that’s revealed by an honest, thorough prosecutor,” he said. “Then I think that you’ve achieved what you need to with regard to transparency.”

People Leaving Long Island

Both candidates agreed that keeping young people on Long Island is crucial, and by keeping them here is to create more jobs. 

Englebright noted his excitement for the Ørsted/Eversource offshore wind farm project, which is setting up Port Jefferson to be a hub docking area for service vessels operating the wind farm off Montauk. Such a project, he said, will help create jobs. He added that also improving the Island’s mass transportation will help. 

“If we can solve some of our transportation problems, we can generate jobs,” he said. “You won’t have to have all the jobs in the immediate neighborhood.” 

Ross said Long Island needs to attract businesses that will pay a higher rate for people to continue living here. 

“I think we need to focus on stabilizing our taxes and work on getting our SALT rebate back,” he said. “My goal would be to make our area much more business friendly, perhaps by lifting regulations or giving tax advantages.”

COVID-19 Response

The COVID-19 pandemic hit both candidates hard over the last several months.  Englebright said he will continue to work with Legislature to involve the public with deliberations as the virus continues on. 

“One thing is for sure, this is New York, we believe in science,” he said. 

Ross agreed, adding that every doctor and expert he has spoken to are telling us how severe the virus is and that everyone needs to continue adhering to the guidelines. However, he disagreed with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) stance on many incentives during his executive order. 

“I think that the separation of the branches of government is too important,” he said. “I don’t favor an executive order.”

This version of the article amends Ross’ past history with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

Stony Brook Democrat Nancy Goroff, left, and Shirley Republican Lee Zeldin, right, are both seaking election for New York’s first congressional district. Photos from campaigns

In a race as hotly contested as that for the House of Representatives’ 1st Congressional District seat, much of the actual policy and positions of candidates is often buried under disinformation and a slate of attack ads. Still underneath all that rigamarole is a decision that goes beyond a question of red or blue. 

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1), who has held the seat for the past five years, is squaring off against Democrat Nancy Goroff, a scientist from Stony Brook who has worked in multiple executive positions at Stony Brook University.

TBR News Media hosted a debate Oct. 23 with both candidates via Zoom, asking them their stances beyond the attack ads on issues from the environment to health care to the COVID-19 response on the federal level. 

Zeldin is looking to retake his seat based on his work in getting masks and other PPE to his home county, the money he helped steer to protecting the Long Island Sound and his help getting the Electron-Ion Collider to Brookhaven National Laboratory.

“When the coronavirus first hit us, I worked with elected officials on both sides of the aisle and all levels of government to secure ventilators, PPE, funding, access to the municipal liquidity facility and so much more,” he said. “We have more work to do.”

Goroff is running on her experience as a scientist, particularly in helping to combat climate change and continue the fight against COVID-19, as well as her administrative work at Stony Brook University working in a department with a multimillion-dollar budget. 

“I want our kids to live in a world where the government is trying to make people’s lives better, and where policy decisions are based on facts and reality,” she said. “I’m going to bring all these experiences to Washington, to be there for the people of this district no matter what.”

COVID-19 Response

The candidates differ greatly in how they see the pandemic was handled at the federal level. While Goroff lambasted the federal government for a “lack of leadership,” Zeldin emphasized the work getting pandemic resources to folks at home.

Goroff said while New York may have been able to dig in its heels early in the face of the virus, the federal government dropped the ball. She cited reports that President Donald Trump (R), and by extension other federal officials, knew early on in January how bad the virus was but misled the public on how dangerous and severe the virus would be in the early 2020 months.

She said the government did not work early enough to get PPE into the hands of those who need it, and that the president still resists promoting the wearing of masks, contact tracing and testing.

“We should have had national action to make sure every community had the PPE they needed, not just whoever makes a phone call to [the president’s son-in-law] Jared Kushner on a Saturday night,” she said. “Here in New York we have no borders, no walls between us and other states, and as long as the numbers are going up elsewhere, we are in danger here.”

Zeldin said the key to dealing with the ongoing pandemic is the same now as it was before, with bipartisan effort. He cited the USNS Comfort coming to New York as well as the Javits Center being converted into a temporary hospital, as well as his connection with the executive officials to secure needed ventilators, testing and finances for New York.

“We were approaching it not as Republicans first or Democrats first, but as Long Islanders, New Yorkers and Americans first,” he said.

Currently, Republican Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has said the Senate will be in recess until Nov. 9 after the election, which means there will likely be no deal on a stimulus bill for now. In terms of economic stimulus for New York, the congressman said it’s “extremely likely” there will be a bill within the next few weeks, which would include money for families, additional Paycheck Protection Program funding, money for state and local governments, food assistance and testing. 

“From all conversations I’m hearing, all these pots of money are quite robust, hovering around the $2 trillion number,” he said. “I don’t think we can have this money fast enough, of course it will take both Republicans and Democrats to agree.”

Goroff said it is imperative we receive assistance from the federal government, both in state and local aid. The problem is though the Democrats in the House have put forward a relief bill that has been rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate, and McConnell has instead focused on rushing the process of the now-installed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. 

“We are in an economic crisis that will require significant investment in infrastructure, and particularly clean energy infrastructure so that as we rebuild our economy, we can build the future we want for ourselves and our kids,” Goroff said.

She criticized Zeldin for voting against that original House assistance bill. In response, the congressman said that bill was “known to be dead on arrival once it passed the House,” as a “one house messaging bill.” He said there were several so-called “poison pills” included in that bill that would never get broad support.

Environment and Climate Change

While Zeldin touted his bipartisan support of local environmental initiatives such as the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act, Goroff said more work is needed, especially regarding the response to climate change.

Zeldin cochairs the Long Island Sound Caucus, and said as the one Republican voice in the caucus they need to increase the investment into the Long Island Sound Program. He said there is room in the stewardship act to increase the appropriation as well as the National Estuary Program and Sea Grant. 

The congressman added he has worked hand-in-hand with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers so that two-thirds of their budget was for projects in the 1st Congressional District. 

Goroff said the work done so far to impact the Long Island Sound has been “helpful,” but more needs to be done with not only cleaning the water, especially with creating sewering and providing funds for projects to help reduce the amount of nitrogen going into the water from aging cesspools and septic systems. She also spoke on the need for more coastal resilience.

“We should be restoring wetlands to make sure we have as much resilience as possible, but we must be investing in our coastlines because they are so important to tourism, our economy and our way of life here,” she said.

However, Goroff said there’s an even bigger challenge with climate change. She said her office could be a “resource for every member of Congress, Democrat or Republican” about information related to climate change. 

She said the U.S. should aim to be carbon neutral in energy production by 2035. The scientist added the county should invest more heavily in clean technologies from transportation to infrastructure, as well as invest in research currently going on at BNL and SBU. Such innovations could be exported to other heavy polluter countries so they can better reduce their carbon footprint.

Zeldin said he serves on the House Climate Solutions Caucus, and has cosponsored the Carbon Capture Improvement Act to provide financial incentives to invest in carbon capture equipment.

“The way to achieve results on this is to talk to each other, not past each other and work together on these legislative initiatives,” he said. 

He added he has cosponsored legislation to renew solar investment tax credit, and that he supports new research and offshore wind farm developments off Long Island’s coasts.

Health Care

With multiple efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Congress over the past four years, the CD1 candidates both had strong words for each other regarding what the future of America’s health care system should be.

Goroff said she believes every American should have access to high-quality, affordable health care. She said the ACA should be strengthened, and the ongoing pandemic has shown how unequal access to health care has been. She said she would expand the minimum age for Medicare, and said she would support allowing young people or employers to buy into Medicare as well.

“I strongly support expanding Medicare and making Medicare a public option,” she said.

Zeldin said despite the way such topics become more politicized closer to election, the best way for the country to move forward on health care is by working in a bipartisan way. He cited efforts in Congress to impact prescription drug costs. A bill to that effect went forward out of committee, but that bill “became a partisan messaging bill, much to the chagrin of the Republicans and Democrats who put the bill together.”

He said he has supported efforts to protect people with preexisting conditions getting access to health care, and that he has cosponsored bills to have policies across state lines. 

Goroff said Republicans have been working to end the ACA, one by opening up the law to judicial action by removing the individual mandate. She also went after Zeldin for his past history voting to repeal the ACA 15 times in the past several years without offering a new plan to replace it.

“They have taken the actions that specifically put [the ACA] at risk and there are 71,000 people in this district who would have lost their health care if Mr. Zeldin and his party were successful,” she said. “To say now after four years of the president would come up with something … when they still have not offered what their vision would look like, is hypocrisy.”

Zeldin said he voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bill that removed the individual mandate, though he added a one-size-fits-all approach is not the answer with health care. 

“Of 535 members of Congress, I don’t know a single person in Congress who’s actually against covering individuals with preexisting conditions,” he said. 

SALT Cap and LI’s Brain Drain

As the pandemic leads into a new looming economic crisis, many fear more people could be leaving Long Island. As the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act capped the state and local tax deductions at $10,000 per year, both candidates said they would work to end that cap, as well as bring jobs to Long Island to halt the exodus.

Goroff said the SALT deduction is something she would see reinstated in full instead of being capped.

“You don’t need to have a very large house here to have a $10,000 tax bill,” she said. 

She said while working as associate provost at SBU she developed entrepreneurial programs for students and heard from local business leaders whether their kids could stay here.

“The way we deal with it is to make sure we have good jobs for people,” she said, adding that SBU is a resource which should be tapped to help with new business concepts. She added new green technologies like upcoming offshore wind projects will help keep more people on Long Island.

She also criticized her opponent for voting “no” on a bill that would have brought back the SALT deductions introduced by U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY3).

Zeldin said he has introduced several bills to restore the SALT deductions. Suozzi’s bill, which the local congressman said he “would have voted for,” had “required an additional tax increase to be named later” to pay for the deduction’s reinstatement. 

Besides that, he argued the people who benefited the most from the deductions were already relatively wealthy, and those who could already afford to stay.

“Creating more jobs, job growth, bringing down electric costs, controlling tax increases, there’s a lot more that goes into the discussion why for a very long time why we’re losing members of our family to North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida,” he said.

Michael Marcantonio, left, and Keith Brown, right, are both seeking the Assembly District 12 seat. Left, file photo; right, photo from campaign

After an April 28 special election had to be postponed due to the pandemic, Republican Keith Brown and Democrat Michael Marcantonio will finally find out who the 12th state Assembly District constituents will choose for assemblyman Nov. 3. The two candidates are running for the seat left vacant by Andrew Raia (R-East Northport), who resigned at the beginning of 2020 after winning the Huntington town clerk seat.

Marcantonio was set to run for assemblyman on the Democratic ticket in 2018. However, due to voting as a student at Duke University in 2012 and 2014, judges from the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division disqualified from him running, maintaining New York State requires a five-year residency to qualify to run.

During an Oct. 15 Zoom debate with TBR News Media, the two attorneys and longtime Northport residents exchanged barbs. Brown said the millennial Marcantonio doesn’t understand mortgages and bills because he lives with his mother and also described him as “bombastic.” Marcantonio pointed to a Riverhead-News Review article from September that reported on the alleged Russian mob ties of one developer Brown represented and said the attorney didn’t always represent the most honest developers.

“Anyone can say whatever they want on the internet,” Brown said. “It doesn’t mean it’s true.”

Marcantonio said he has a better chance of getting things done in the state Assembly as he will be part of the Democratic majority. Brown reminded his opponent that he would be a freshman assemblyman and would have little power. The Republican added he himself has worked in both the public and private sectors and he has a reputation for getting things done. He described himself as a self-made businessman who has built up his law firm.

The candidates also debated on other issues facing New York state, particularly in their district. 

LIPA

For years, many local residents have been waiting for a settlement with the Long Island Power Authority. The Northport power plant was taxed at $86 million, which LIPA said was drastically overassessed, and the entity was seeking a court-order reduction which could have led to a 90% cut of taxes. This in turn would have made the Town of Huntington responsible for an $800 million refund to LIPA and school taxes would have been raised.

A recently proposed settlement, agreed on by the Northport-East Northport school district and the town, will cut LIPA’s taxes to $46 million from $86 million over the next seven years, lessening the burden a court-order reduction would have imposed.

Marcantonio has spoken against the town and the school district agreeing to the LIPA settlement. He said he drafted legislation that would prevent LIPA from collecting hundreds of millions of dollars of back taxes, which he said he “gave” to state Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Northport). While the bill passed in the state Senate it didn’t make it through the Assembly.

He said if elected by being part of the chamber’s majority and being able to chair committees and introduce legislation, he’ll be able to have a say when decisions are being made and get such a bill passed again.

“If my opponent wins this race — which he won’t — but if he does, the most he can do is cosponsor a Democrat’s legislation,” Marcantonio said.

Brown said Marcantonio’s LIPA bill is a “fool’s errand” as it only applies to back taxes. He also said the Democrat was a single-issue candidate.

“He’s trying to go through and tout this legislation that is dead on arrival,” Brown said. 

He added that Marcantonio is “blinded by this issue” and called him a single-issue candidate. He said moving on from the issue of LIPA’s back taxes and accepting the recent settlement will control the damages felt by the town and the school district.

Education

Brown said if he’s elected one of the first things he will do is meet with superintendents to see what their districts need. Despite proposed state aid cuts of 20% to 30%, the Republican said he plans to bring money back to local schools.

“I have a deep respect for the school superintendents and the job that they do,” he said.

Marcantonio said he also would make sure schools in the district get the money they need as the district is the fourth most-owed in the state for foundation aid.

“It’s not enough for New York State to get federal aid,” he said. “We need to get the aid from the state to this district — it doesn’t automatically go equally to each district.”

COVID Response

Brown said he believes Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) did a good job during the pandemic, but added that he believes businesses could have been reopened quicker. When the lockdown was lifted, Brown said he started meeting with small business owners along major corridors, including Route 25, Commack Road, Larkfield Road and provided owners with his information. He said there is a need to take another look at how businesses are opening but not at the risk of public health.

“If we don’t do something soon, we’re going to lose major industries,” he said, adding many are filing bankruptcy. 

Marcantonio said there were arbitrary rules when it came to reopening, and he agreed that the state needed clearer guidelines.

“Small businesses are getting crushed right now, and they’re getting crushed because we have a system right now that favors big businesses over small businesses,” he said.

Economy

Marcantonio said he’s fighting for young people who feel forced to leave the Island due to the high cost of living. He understands because he’s a millennial as well, and knows his peers want to stay near their families.

“I have empathy for them,” he said. “I don’t shame young people for not being able to afford a home.”

To help bring jobs to the area, Marcantonio said there is a need to attract manufacturing jobs back to Long Island and rebuild a crumbling infrastructure. He added the Island would benefit from a high-speed railroad which would enable residents to travel from Montauk to New York City in 30 minutes.

Brown said one of the reasons he wanted to run for Assembly was because he was horrified by those in the legislative body that fought against an Amazon facility in Long Island City, which would have brought more jobs to the area. He said he doesn’t shame millennials and their struggles, and is working on transportation projects to keep millennials on the Island and to keep the region vibrant and relevant. He said he believes his business background will help to keep businesses here and not lose them to the South.

“I’m fighting for the middle class,” he said. “I’m fighting for the business owners who are being strangled by regulations.” 

Democrat Laura Ahearn, left, and Republican Anthony Palumbo, right, are running for New York State Senate District 1. Left, campaign photos; right, file photo

It’s been a long time since state Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) announced his retirement from the state Legislature in January, and so much has changed. Still, both candidates said in an online debate they would live up to LaValle’s 44-year legacy, as well as take the state to task over deaths in nursing homes.

New York State Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) is campaigning based on his political experience with seven years in the Legislature and his past time working as an assistant district attorney for the Suffolk DA’s Office. He said with his history of helping get 22 bills signed into law, including his work on extending the Pine Barrens and establishing the community preservation fund, “my record speaks for itself.”

Laura Ahearn, a Democrat from Port Jefferson, is running for the seat based on her years both as an attorney who represents adults who were sexually victimized as children, but also as her over-25-year stint as the executive director of the Crimes Victim Center (dba Parents for Megan’s Law), which aids victims of crime, especially women and children. She said her experience working with people on the ground to work on subjects like domestic violence makes her a good fit for the office.

“I’m a fighter, and I’m very independent,” she said.

COVID Response

Both candidates argued the state needs to investigate the number of deaths involving nursing homes, though Ahearn disagreed somewhat on how the pandemic has been handled, especially with reopening. 

She said New York needs to keep following the science for keeping the number of infections down. She said, so far, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has done a good job following the science and ensuring they close when they need to close. At the same time, she disagreed with the state allowing big box stores to remain open when smaller businesses that carry the same product were kept closed.

She argued the state needs to start a so-called COVID pandemic unit to identify what went wrong with nursing homes, both in terms of state mandates and of the nursing home directors themselves. 

Palumbo said it’s been long enough, and the Legislature should look to wrestle away unilateral power from the governor, something the congressional body gave Cuomo early in the pandemic. 

“He said the curve needed to be flattened, and it’s been flattened,” he said. “The governor did a good job in the beginning, but I don’t believe he’s continuing to do so.”

With infection numbers on Long Island low, though some statistics have increased in the city, he said some businesses have been “dying on the vine.” He said the governor performed reopening too slowly, and that it was not fair to some small businesses while larger chains were allowed to open and stay open for a much longer time.

He said nursing homes were directed and compelled to take hospital patients into their facilities, and that there should be a state and federal investigation into the issue.

Small Businesses and Federal Aid

Ahearn argued the federal government has been dragging its feet and has not worked in the best interests of the people by not giving any new federal assistance to states and local municipalities, but Palumbo said New York needs to focus less on federal aid packages and should reopen more broadly to make its economy stronger.

Ahearn also noted that the Paycheck Protection Program, which gave loans to small businesses, had been abused by large national corporations and companies. She said there needs to be some kind of restriction, otherwise there might be more situations like the Miller Place Inn, which was cited earlier this month for a so-called superspreader event.

“What we need to do is get that federal money and help small businesses,” she said. “Let’s keep in mind, when you have a large group of people together, that potential for that to become a hotspot, and then completely raise the infection rate, and we’re all exposed to the potential of people dying again. … There are different ways for us to work with businesses.”

On the topic of a vaccine, Palumbo suggested it could be many months before we have a widespread available treatment. And even if Congress passes a new aid package, that money could be gone in six months. 

“The only way to get back on our feet is to allow us to do it smartly,” the assemblyman said. “People with comorbidities and issues need to protect themselves, but we need to provide the tools to do it smartly to our businesses. We can’t just sit back and allow money bombs to come to our state.”

Environment

As LaValle was long known as a steward of the local environment, both candidates argued for more protections of our waterways and groundwater from nitrogen and other chemicals.

Palumbo said in his tenure he has supported the Clean Water Act as well as funding of the Environmental Protection Fund. Along with other state congressmen he helped extend the Community Preservation Act out to 2050. 

“These are all significant for the area because you can’t sewer the East End,” he said. 

The assemblyman said he has supported innovative septic systems and has cosponsored to help give residents subsidies to purchase those systems. He also argued that PFOA and PFOS chemicals, along with 1,4-dioxane, are substances he advocated the state should ban. Though he said it needs to be a balance between the needs of the farm industry and the environment.

Ahearn said our sole-source aquifer is being contaminated with nitrogen and other chemicals from spills, pesticides and fertilizers.

She called wastewater treatment Long Island’s greatest challenge and said the way nitrogen is leaking from outdated septic systems and cesspools needs to be addressed. She praised Suffolk County’s new bill mandating new construction use denitrifying septic systems. 

She said Suffolk only got 10 New York State Septic System Replacement Fund Program grants out of a total of 15 but argued for more of the money lingering in that program be put toward the county. She argued there is a need to steer state such moneys locally.

“There’s a lot more money available on a statewide basis,” she said. 

Police Reform

The 1st Senate District candidates argued back and forth on the issue of police reform, with both candidates arguing they are in support of police.

Though Palumbo said he supported some of the state’s police reform bills, including a ban on chokeholds, he was against such things as the repeal of section 50-a, which now allows people access to complaints of police misconduct. The assemblyman argued the repeal also affects firefighters, and that many of those complaints are not necessarily substantiated. He said the state should have looked to set up an independent commission to maybe look into these claims.

“Is it a systemic change when we paint everyone with a broad brush and don’t even include law enforcement in the discussion?” he said. “To say it’s all racist and we have to make these sweeping changes ourselves, is not accurate.”

Ahearn said she has worked alongside local, state and federal law enforcement, though we have to remember the image of George Floyd’s death in Minnesota at the hands of police that sparked widespread protests across the nation. She argued she supported the ban on chokeholds, alongside the need to increase penalties for assault on law enforcement, as well as penalties on people who make false calls to 911. She said she does not support the release of unsubstantiated complaints on police officers, adding there needs to be a way of identifying a pattern of wrongdoing or abuse.

“We absolutely have to work together to get sustained and meaningful changes in policies and laws that lead to the deconstruction of structural and systemic racism in our health care system, education system, housing and in our justice system,” she said. “I don’t like the idea of sweeping legislation all at once without having a discussion about it.”

On the topic of the bail reform law, Ahearn said reform was needed because of the “economic disparities in the justice system that led to individuals who were poor and minorities lingering in jail while their families fell apart.”

At the same time, the problem with the bill was lawmakers did not sit down with stakeholders like crime victim advocates, law enforcement or prosecutors. She said there were immediate problems with the bill and more changes are needed to allow discretion of a judge to set cash bail.

Palumbo, a former prosecutor, said he has been against the bail reform bill since day one, especially because of it allowing people to walk who committed certain crimes most would consider violent. Yet “they still haven’t gone nearly far enough.”

He said he has argued that judicial discretion is needed in setting bail. 

“It’s socioeconomic, it’s not a system of racism — it’s poor people who can’t afford to pay that money,” he said.

LaValle’s Legacy

Whatever one may think of Ken LaValle, losing over four decades of seniority in the state Senate will be a big blow for representing Long Island’s largest Senate district. Both candidates said they have plans to make their voice heard in the 63-member body.

Palumbo, who bragged about his endorsement by LaValle, said he would continue that line of “1st District first” with his tenure, saying he would be a force beyond the fact that he could still be in the minority Senate party. He added that many Democrats are representing New York City ideals, and that as a Long Island Republicans, he has different values from those upstate or even in the White House.

“It’s not about the party and the machine,” he said. “We have six Long Island Democrats who all voted for New York City ideals. … I think certainly we can bring bipartisanship and vigorous advocacy for the district.”

Ahearn said some of LaValle’s efforts, such as protections of the Pine Barrens and a burn unit at Stony Brook University Hospital, need to be continued. She said she has had across-the-aisle relationships with people and former state Sen. John Flanagan, a Republican. With longtime relationships with multiple state elected officials, she said she can get the ball rolling immediately upon taking up the seat, especially on things like electrification of the Port Jefferson line of the Long Island Rail Road.

She added that being in the majority has its definite perks, saying that once Republicans lost control of the Senate, LaValle and others found their initiatives floundering.

“Once elected, I would be in the majority, and being in the majority means that legislation you carry and resources you can bring back to this district directly,” she said. “Once you lose that position in majority it’s nearly impossible to move legislation.”

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One newcomer and one incumbent elected to Port Jeff Village Board

Stock photo by Kyle Barr

In a contentious race between a slate of newcomers and longtime incumbents, it was the old guard who won out in the end.

Current Mayor Bob Sandak got 280 votes to challenger Enrico Scarda’s 169. Scarda is the president and founder of The Crest Group development agency which owns multiple properties around the Port Jeff area, including Danfords Hotel & Marina and The Waterview at the Port Jefferson Country Club. Sandak has been mayor since 2016, and has previously worked as a school administrator for multiple districts on Long Island.

The morning after the votes were counted, Sandak said in a phone interview he was glad the election is over, and moving forward he has already spoken to the other candidates “to arrange meetings and get their thoughts on what they wanted to accomplish — it’s always good to have new ideas,” he added. “We just want to move forward.”

In a statement, Scarda said he remains positive. He congratulated Sandak on his win and offered to assist the village should the admin want any help. He added regarding future elections that, “If the residents want me involved I will be there for them.”

“I will continue to stay involved with the village administration,” Scarda said. “Belle Terre needs residents to get involved and help Bob and the trustees to move the village forward.”

On the trustee side, incumbent trustees Sheila Knapp and Jacquelyn Gernaey won back their seats with 315 and 272 votes, respectively. Newcomer candidate Peter Colucci, a 12-year village resident, gained 128 votes. Fellow newcomer Lou Bove, the president and CEO of East Setauket-based contractor Bove Industries, gained 124 votes.

Poll workers the night of the vote Sept. 15 said this was the most attention any Belle Terre election has had in at least a few decades, especially for a village with just a little under 800 residents. Village Clerk Joanne Raso said they were up until midnight counting votes, which included two write-in votes and 73 absentee ballots.

Port Jefferson Village Elections

On the Port Jeff side, one incumbent and one newcomer trustee candidate have been elected to the village board. Both seats were uncontested after nine-year trustee Bruce D’Abramo announced this would be his last term on the board.

Rebecca Kassay, a local activist and owner of The Fox & Owl Inn in Port Jeff, gained 103 votes. Incumbent trustee Bruce Miller won 114 votes.

A total of 171 votes were cast, including 10 absentee ballots.

The Belle Terre village board. File photo by Kyle Barr

With two trustee seats and the mayoral position up for election in the Village of Belle Terre, three individuals have thrown their hats into the ring along with the three incumbents. 

This year, incumbent Mayor Bob Sandak is joined by Deputy Mayor Sheila Knapp and Trustee Jacquelyn Gernaey. Opposing them are newcomers Enrico Scarda, who’s running for mayor, along with trustee candidates Peter Colucci and Lou Bove.

The mayoral race has already started to heat up in anticipation for the Sept. 15 voting date. Ballots can be cast at the Belle Terre Village Hall from 12 to 9 p.m.

Mayor

Enrico Scarda

Enrico Scarda

Scarda, the president and founder of the Crest Group development agency, said he is running to help bolster local property values and update how the village communicates with residents. 

“We’re all getting up in age and want to sell our homes to downsize, and I believe we could do much better with property values than our [competing villages],” Scarda said. “The village has the opportunity here to get an attorney who has experience in the community for free.”

The Crest Group owns multiple properties around the Port Jeff area, including Danford’s Hotel & Marina and The Waterview at the Port Jefferson Country Club. Scarda is a 20-year resident of the village, having moved there with his wife to help raise his three children. With his two sons having already graduated from college they are helping him run the business, and with his daughter also graduating soon as well, he said he has more time to spend caring about local issues.

The village, he said, could do better with its communications efforts, including buffing up its website. He suggested Belle Terre should create a ticket system for things like road repair that can be submitted electronically, such as he has in his business. The village would give updates through the system for when a ticket has been accepted and when a project is complete. 

He added there could be small additions that would make the beach program more attractive, including more renovations to the beach pavilion. 

All these small changes, he said, would go to making the village more attractive, and thereby increasing everyone’s property values. 

His home on Seaside Drive is only one of several Sound-facing homes which are facing issues with eroding bluffs. Scarda said though he has already received permits from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to begin revetment of those bluffs, the village should work with all property owners along that road to shore up the bluffs, especially because fixing one residents’ bluffs will still leave an issue for others all along the shore. It’s not to benefit him or any one person but creating some kind of initiative to do bluff repair would go a long way.

“If one home falls into the sound, the property values of the rest of the village are going to go down,” he said. “If we all did the work at the same time, we could protect that bluff, we would all be safe.”

Similar houses in Belle Terre compared to Old Field are going for a worse rate than their counterparts, he claimed, saying it’s because of small things that are leaving the village in the past.

Other issues for the candidate include safety, as he calls for more cameras including one by the village gate. He also said the village should do more to beautify the roads, including repair and garbage pickup.

Overall, he said his experience would make him a great pick to lead Belle Terre.

“The village is getting an experienced developer who has built communities as large as Belle Terre from the ground up,” he said.

Bob Sandak

Four-year Mayor Sandak has been a village official since he became trustee in 2004. He came on as trustee during Vincent Bove’s 25-year reign, and originally ran unopposed in 2016.

Sandak said he and fellow trustees have already made many strides since the time he’s sat on the board. The mayor is a former school administrator, having worked in districts such as Hicksville, Half Hollow Hills and William Floyd at times overseeing millions of dollars’ worth in construction along with other administrative tasks over 38 years. He said this work has translated well into administrating a small village like Belle Terre.

“We’ve tried to pass codes that make this a nice place to live for everybody,” he said. “Noise is something we deal with — there’s no construction on Saturday and Sunday — we try to make it a nice place to live.”

The village, he said, has done well in creating public/private partnerships to create municipal projects that are partly funded by both residents and Belle Terre. These include the restoration of the gatehouse and entrance wall, the design and construction of the children’s playground, the installation of the walking/cycling track, the reconstruction of the “Circle” at the end of Cliff Road, and most recently the reconstruction of the bathhouse pavilion at Knapp Beach. The latter was originally built in the 1930s and needed to be made handicap accessible. That project, which he said started in concept around two years ago, was done with volunteered architectural designs by a resident and donations from the community. 

The community also donated their time and money to help construct kayak and canoe racks at Knapp Beach. These proved so popular that the village plans to help construct additional racks in the future, along with some mats that people may walk down onto the beach.

In the future, Sandak said Belle Terre needs to be readier to handle potential storms. He said he wants to propose the community center should be turned into a shelter for residents, especially those who lose power in a storm. This would require backup generators for people to use the location as a refuge. 

“We’ve really noticed a real change in weather patterns — we’ve been hit by nor’easters — they really batter us,” he said. “It leads to a lot of road reconstruction.”

In terms of property values, the Belle Terre mayor said the noticeable loss in property values was due to a large number of people who inherited their homes from longtime residents all started putting homes on the market at once, many of whom had not been fixed up since the 1960s. To his knowledge, there are only four houses up for sale in the community, and he expects property values to increase up to levels comparable with similarly sized villages on the North Shore.

Sandak also agreed that erosion around homes on the edge of the Sound was a major issue, though he said he had two years ago proposed to property owners a special taxation area that could help pay back a bond that would be used to fix the erosion issues, but only two of 11 homeowners were interested in that.

“We certainly want to try and help stop the erosion there,” he said. 

Trustees

Sheila Knapp

Sheila Knapp

Knapp, who has spent a lifetime amongst the Belle Terre community, said she is running again to continue to make the village live up to her memories of spending time there as a child.

“A year before I was born my parents bought our home in Belle Terre. It was the most wonderful place to grow up,” she said in an email response to questions. “The beach, the friends, the belonging to a community that was like family … I want everybody to love this place as I do.”

Knapp has been beach commissioner since 1977, trustee since 1997 and deputy mayor since 2004. She said the best part of the village is the natural beauty and peacefulness, and that every board she has served on has had the goal “to keep everybody’s quality of life here at it’s best.”

Close to 70 years ago, when Harbor Hills Country Club was built, she said her father got the land for what is now the current beach, which she has long worked to take care of. Otherwise, she said the village has passed noise and construction ordinances to keep the village serene on the weekends. She said the new wall along the beach parking lot is a “dream come true” and their recently installed cell tower has allowed more reception range throughout the village.

The 43-year beach commissioner said that in the future she would continue on with Belle Terre’s current trajectory.

“Things are not broken here,” she said. “We improved communication and do our best to keep residents informed with the website, meetings, emails and letters. All of the trustees and mayor publish our private phone numbers. We want to be accessible.”

Peter Colucci

Peter Colucci

Colucci, who has lived in Belle Terre along with his wife for 12 years, said he is running because he deeply cares about the community and believes he can improve several aspects of the village.

Two things he’s running on are security and modernizing the village’s communication systems. In 2017 he and his wife were victims of a home invasion and burglary where police at the time said the perpetrators got away with several hundred thousand dollars in cash and jewelry.

“I would like to see modernization in all areas,” Colucci said in an email response to questions. “Simple things are easily done such as upgrading security cameras and increasing communication to all residents especially during times of weather-related emergencies.”

He said he would like to continue with current efforts to keep the beauty and quaintness of the village going, but he said he would also look forward to working on a plan to alleviate the issues with Anchorage Road, where people park all along the road making it dangerous for both cars and pedestrians looking to access McAllister County Park. 

Jacquelyn Gernaey

Jacquelyn Gernaey

Gernaey, who has been on the board of trustees for six years after she was originally appointed to the board, said the best part of being on a board like that in Belle Terre is that “trustees really don’t have a personal agenda, and I like being part of a group that can make changes for the village not personally focused.”

The trustee has lived in the village for 25 years, originally hailing from Kings Park. She said she came to love the community feel of Belle Terre, especially since it emphasized keeping trees and nature serene.

As the fiscal officer in the village, Gernaey said one of the big issues she said is that village residents will be losing out in taxes due to the settlement over the Long Island Power Authority power plant tax certiorari case. Over a 10-year glide path, LIPA’s property taxes will decline, which will necessitate village residents pay more in Port Jefferson School District taxes over time.

“We want to continue to get state grants, something we’ve been very successful in doing,” she said, adding they have gotten several hundred thousand for roads from the state and $800,000 in FEMA aid for storm damage.  

In addition, she said she wants to keep the pressure on Suffolk County to remediate the parking issues with McAllister Park on Anchorage Road. She said they have been working with more county park officers to deter any more parking along that road. 

Erosion issues for houses along the sound are also a major issue. While the village has received a small $100,000 grant towards stabilizing the beach, the issue may be in the near future the whole cliff could start to go, making the homes along the bluff structurally unsound. 

“In the last since we applied, we lost 30 feet,” she said. “That’s something we’re really working on.”

As a founder and CEO of two companies, one a human resource outsourcing company and a small business consulting firm, she jokingly said “she certainly doesn’t need this to keep me busy,” but that “she was always taught to give back.”

“We work hard for the village — all about the village, not about us,” she said.

Lou Bove

Bove is the president and CEO of East Setauket-based contractor Bove Industries and is now seeking a seat on the Belle Terre village board.

The candidate did not return several requests for comment through his company. If he does respond in time for the election, his comments will be put on the website version of this article at tbrnewsmedia.com.

Stock photo

Your vote is the most valuable treasure you own. Take good care of it, use it wisely, never sell it and demand a great return on your investment. I have spent years encouraging people to vote.  This year is quickly becoming a time when we must protect and defend our right to vote! Below are a few suggestions some should be done now so you will be prepared:

1. Items 1a, 1b,and 1c require the assistance of the Suffolk County Board of Elections. It is suggested that you contact them by email so you spend time on a long phone hold:  suffolkcountyny.gov/departments/BOE

1a. If you have moved in the past year, make sure you are registered. Contact the board of elections. Check online for their contact information.

1b. If someone in your family has or will turn 18 before Nov. 3, ask how they register and what documents must be provided.

1c. Request an Absentee Ballot. You can get the request form online, print it out, fill it out and mail it to the board of elections. Do this as soon as possible.

2. Your Ballot will be mailed to you, ask the BOE when they mail the ballots so you can watch for it. When it arrives, Vote and mail back right away. Do not wait until the middle of October as the mail might be delayed then.

3. If you plan to vote in person, make sure your polling place has not been moved. Wear a mask, gloves and carry hand sanitizer and most importantly, practice social distancing.

4. Try to avoid taking children to the polls. If you must, make sure they have well-fitting masks, keep them close, no wandering. Before getting back in the car everyone should sanitize their hands.

5. If you decide to vote in person bring proper identification: driver’s license, passport. There can always be a first time when you will have to show ID.

Live at polling places vs. total mail in ballots for Mount Sinai School District

In Mount Sinai, the voting data of this past year’s school budget vote showed a huge increase.   

Vote Counts  2014 – 2019  based upon in person voting:

Lowest count was 962 while the highest was 1557. The average for those five years was 1352.8. 

In 2020 ballots were mailed to all registered voters in the school district and could be mailed back or put in a drop box in the district office lobby.

The total number of votes cast was 2993. This number is 1641 more votes than the average of the past five years.

There is a fantastic website which is designed to answer voter questions and provide information, state specific, for voters. The site is presented by the National Association of Secretaries of State and it can be reached at canivote.org.

Vote as if your life depends upon it, because the American way of life does. 

Lynn Jordan is a lifelong Long Island-based community advocate, stemming from her time as a volunteer district lobbyist to PTA Council President at the Comsewogue School District, which preceded her 19-year tenure as a nurse at Mount Sinai Middle School, following which she served 12 years on the Mount Sinai board of education.

Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright, right. File photo by Elana Glowatz

Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) announced her nomination for New York State Supreme Court justice in the 10th District, which covers both Nassau and Suffolk counties. She has been cross-endorsed by both parties, and is almost guaranteed a seat on the bench come November.

The slate of judicial nominees was made at the Democratic Party judicial convention earlier this month. Cartright made the announcement official.

“The principles of fairness and equality under the law have been the foundation on which I built my career —first as a trial attorney and then as a town councilwoman,” she said in a statement. “My experience as an attorney, a community advocate and a legislator drafting laws and policy with community involvement uniquely positions me for judgeship.”

Cartright has been the lone Democrat on the majority Republican Brookhaven Town Board for the past six-and-a-half years. She has also been the only person of color on that board in that same time.

Rich Schaffer, the Suffolk Democratic Committee chairman, said in a statement the committee was “proud to present this diverse slate of distinguished jurists that includes a candidate of Councilwoman Cartright’s caliber and experience.”

A number of nominees have been cross-endorsed by both major parties, and are almost guaranteed their seats. The Republicans had their judicial convention early this week. Cartright  — along with Kathy Gail Bergmann, a Suffolk County Family Court judge; Tim Mazzei, state Supreme Court justice; and Derrick Robinson, an acting county court judge — have all been cross-endorsed. Justice seats are on a 14-year term.

Before running for town councilperson, Cartwright had spent years as a civil rights attorney at the Law Offices of Frederick K. Brewington. She also is an adjunct professor at St. Joseph’s College.

In the past few months, the councilwoman ran for the Democratic nod for the New York State Senate 1st District seat that has long been held by state Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson). She came in second place in that race with a vote tally of 6,569 compared to her Port Jeff opponent Laura Ahearn’s final number of 8,427 votes.

State Supreme Court nominees names will be on ballots come election time Nov. 3. If her seat is left vacant after that, the Brookhaven Town District 1 seat would need to be put up for vote in a special election to finish off the remaining three years of Cartright’s term.

Goroff, center, won out amongst this year's slate of Democratic contenders to run against Lee Zeldin in November. Photo from Three Village Democratic Club

By Kyle Barr and David Luces

After nearly two weeks of anticipation since ballots were first cast, Stony Brook University scientist Nancy Goroff has come out on top of a slate of Democratic contenders running for the 1st Congressional District. She will run against U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1) in November.

With votes still to be certified, officials at the Suffolk County Board of Elections confirmed Goroff won by a margin of 630 with 17,905 votes, after all absentee ballots were finished counting Thursday, July 9. Last year’s Democratic contender Perry Gershon came out with 17,275 while Bridget Fleming, a Suffolk County legislator from Sag Harbor, finished with 13,696. Gregory Fisher had 773 total votes.

Goroff congratulated both Gershon and Fleming for the race, and extolled this year’s turnout of being nearly double that of 2018.

In her message to voters, Goroff also said that Zeldin had put “hyperpartisan spin over science and over the needs of our community.”

Gershon, on Twitter, congratulated Goroff on her winning the primary, adding, “I am confident that Nancy will offer real solutions.”

“It was an honor working to be your representative in Congress and I am very sorry I will not be our party’s torchbearer in November,” Gershon wrote on his campaign Facebook page. “I will be
honored to do whatever I can to assure Nancy’s victory.”

Goroff, 52, has been chair of SBU’s chemistry department until taking a leave of absence to campaign. She is also President of Gallery North’s board of trustees and lives in Stony Brook.

This post will be updated when comments from Zeldin and Fleming become available.