Former state senator candidate Mike Siderakis is looking to take on Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) in November.
Siderakis announced his run for legislator in the county’s 12th District at an April 5 press conference in Lake Ronkonkoma. The event took place on the site of the former Bavarian Inn on Smithtown Boulevard. Last year the Democrat ran for state senator to fill the seat left vacant by former Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport). Siderakis lost to Mario Mattera (R-St. James).
During the press conference, Siderakis touched on the importance of quality of life in the district. A New York State Police trooper for nearly 30 years, who is now retired, and a former second vice president of the troopers’ police benevolent association, Siderakis said he and his wife, Sandra, moved from the city to Nesconset to raise a family more than two decades ago. The hope was to live in a neighborhood free of pollution, traffic problems and high taxes.
“I’m sure you’ve noticed over the last two decades our unrushed way of life began to give way to the familiar hustle and bustle we left behind in New York City,” he said. “How many of you live on a block that started as a quiet street only for it to become a cut through due to poor planning, as commuters parade their cars through our neighborhoods, and now we need stop signs and traffic lights to manage traffic in front of our homes. We can’t even make left-hand turns anymore in half of our communities.”
The Democrat added that while residents witness new stores popping up on every corner, they also see empty shopping centers with no businesses moving into the empty storefronts.
“We’ve seen the landscape of our communities change quickly before our eyes,” he said. “As our quality of life has eroded over the past 20 years, one thing has remained constant: A Kennedy has been representing us in the Legislature.”
Leslie Kennedy was elected to the seat in 2015, while County Comptroller John Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset), her husband, held the position for 10 years prior.
Siderakis called out Leslie Kennedy for not being involved in the public information meetings that the Town of Smithtown held regarding its proposed master plans for the downtown areas and open spaces or holding community outreach meetings of her own.
“Huge changes are afoot in our district, and she’s not even at the table,” he said. “Today we kick off this campaign on a symbol of the neglect in our community. This barren lot at one time held the Bavarian Inn, prime waterfront property on Lake Ronkonkoma. The inn was derelict from 2007 and was finally demolished in 2013 after strong community opposition and demand for it to be demolished.”
He said Leslie Kennedy “proudly says” that she secured funding to buy trees for the now-vacant land.
“Look around at the trees, the dirt, the dying saplings planted without care,” he said. “Is this an accomplishment? And now look behind me on the lake — Islip and Brookhaven, look at their sections, they have some well-maintained beaches, benches. We are standing on what should be a jewel of this district and instead it’s a continuing reminder of how there’s nobody fighting for us.”
The former state trooper said the district needs a fierce advocate. He added he wants to deliver results, including creating public parks in the district such as by the lake.
“I’m running to fix our roads, create safe intersections … preserve our way of life, to keep our water clean, and to preserve our green spaces,” he said. “To create opportunity and bring back common sense, to say ‘no’ to IDA tax giveaways to developers — and to protect the residential character of our communities.”
The 12th District includes Smithtown, Nesconset, Hauppauge, the Village of the Branch, Lake Grove and parts of St. James, Commack, Lake Ronkonkoma and Centereach. The remaining areas in the Town of Smithtown fall under the 13th District of the Suffolk County Legislature which is represented by Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga.)