Chelius Challenges Spencer for 18th District Legislator

Chelius Challenges Spencer for 18th District Legislator

Garrett Chelius is challenging incumbent William "Doc" Spencer for Suffolk County Legislative District 18.

Seasoned incumbent William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) is vying for a fourth term in the Suffolk County Legislature, where he has served for the past seven years. Spencer, a practicing physician for 28 years, has his own Huntington practice. 

Since taking office, the incumbent has worked to ban the sale of powdered caffeine to minors, raise the age of selling tobacco products, helped passed a measure to stop companies from manufacturing energy drinks to kids and spearheaded a ban on flavored e-cigarettes and a fee on single-use plastic bags.  

If reelected, Spencer would like to work on lowering the cost of living for young people in his district. He also proposed the need for a wintertime economy on the Island and suggested an indoor water park or convention center. 

Tackling the opioid and vaping crisis will present another challenge for Spencer, who said he is committed to finding treatment and addiction solutions to those affected. 

In Huntington Station, Spencer has his eyes set on connecting areas to sewer systems to attract restaurants and other local businesses.  

His challenger Garrett Chelius (R) is running because he is concerned that his three children, as well as other children in the county, are not going to be able to afford to stay in Suffolk. He blames the current administration’s fiscal irresponsibility. 

The long-time Huntington resident said his experience working in the banking and staffing industries for the past 25 years will help in getting the county back on track financially. Chelius also mentioned that the county has a junk bond rating due to seven straight downgrades.

The LIPA tax situation concerns Chelius. He said residents are fearful of how the upcoming LIPA court decision will affect them financially. In addition, congestion and overdevelopment in the town and safety issues related to the deployment of 5G technology are also concerns. 

If elected, Chelius would like to make sure beaches and waterways remain pristine for generations to come. He mentioned renovating Coindre Hall, a mansion and 33-acre park overlooking Huntington Harbor. Lessings Caterers currently uses the site as a catering hall.  Chelius believes it could be an amazing pier and harborside facility as well as a must-see family-friendly destination for residents and out-of-town guests. 

“Lastly, people are concerned about the water we all share, the water to drink, and the harbors and bays we enjoy,” Chelius said. “We need to make every effort to keep both our drinking water and our harbors and bays pristine.”  

Also, the challenger believes the red-light camera program is unsafe and biased toward lower income areas. 

Daniel West is also listed on the ballot running for the seat on the Conservative Party line. He was unable to be reached for an interview.