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New York State

New York State Map of Counties
Editor’s note: A March 31 court decision update is at the end of article.

By Lisa Scott

For New York State voters in 2022, redistricting is controversial, complex and changing. 

Gerrymandering is the intentional distortion of political districts to give one party an advantage. For decades in most states, the majority party in the state legislature drew maps for congressional and state legislature districts which would cement that party’s power for 10 years (until the next census). Nationally, gerrymandering has been criticized for disenfranchising many voters and fueling deeper polarization.

In New York State, voters in 2014 approved a constitutional  amendment which established an independent redistricting commission effective after the 2020 census. This amendment was presented as a way to create fair congressional and state senate and state assembly districts, keeping communities together and representation to minority areas to more fairly give all a voice through their elected officials. At the time, good government groups were divided about the amendment’s wording and potential effect … either a “step in the right direction” or “fake reform.”

In 2021, the newly formed NYS Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) traveled throughout New York State to hold numerous public hearings for input on the map lines that the commission would draw. Unfortunately the IRC was divided equally along partisan lines, and Republican and Democratic commissioners each submitted their own maps to the state legislature and were unable to submit the single plan required by the amendment.  

This failure of the IRC threw the district mapping back into the hands of the legislature (both the senate and assembly have Democratic supermajorities) and the legislature’s final 2022 district lines resulted in more districts with strong Democratic-leaning voters. Republicans then filed a lawsuit in Steuben County (upstate NY) which  threw the 2022 NYS election calendar into potential chaos as it moved through the court system. 

A judge did rule to allow this year’s maps/elections to take place as scheduled, but if Republicans win the suit it appears that there will be a repeat election for NYS Senate and Assembly in 2023 with newer district maps. This would result in state legislative elections in three consecutive years — 2022, 2023 and 2024. 

There has been concern and controversy about the congressional lines in Suffolk (CD 1, 2 and 3) whose boundaries have significantly changed. Some elected legislators no longer live in their districts, and there has been “packing” (concentrating the opposing party’s voting power in one district to reduce their voting power in other districts) and “cracking” (diluting the voting power of the opposing party’s supporters across many districts). Cracking was most evident regarding the Town of Smithtown, which is divided among 3 congressional districts, and the community of Gordon Heights, which does not have the single representative that they advocated for at many public hearings in 2021. 

Although the next Suffolk County Legislature elections will not be held until 2023, redistricting for the SC Legislature is mired in controversy as well. Legislators of both parties did not nominate representatives to a county redistricting commission in 2021. The Democratic majority therefore drew maps and passed legislation to create the new districts. 

Lawsuits were filed and County Executive  Bellone vetoed the bill in early 2022. A new independent/bipartisan redistricting commission is expected to start work in April 2022. Remember that your current Suffolk County legislator will represent you until January 1, 2024. Once the Suffolk legislative maps are drawn and approved, voting in the primaries and general election for those seats will occur in 2023 (not this year). 

The bottom line for Suffolk County voters? Find your new congressional and state assembly and senate districts at https://newyork.redistrictingandyou.org. Voting in your new district takes effect with the 2022 primaries and general election. However your current representative in Congress and the state legislature will represent you until January 1, 2023.

As you can see, redistricting after the 2020 census has become controversial, complex, and changing. Today’s “rules” may be overruled by court decisions. Dates may change. Districts may be redrawn. Or nothing will change until 2030!

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.


Judge rejects New York’s redistricting plan, orders new maps

By Michelle L. Price | AP

Thursday March 31, 2022

NEW YORK — A judge has ordered New York’s Democrat-controlled Legislature to quickly redraw the state’s congressional and legislative districts after finding they were unconstitutional.

Judge Patrick McAllister said in a Thursday ruling that maps redrawing the state’s congressional districts were gerrymandered to benefit Democrats. McAllister said those districts must be redrawn, along with the legislative districts, in a way that attracted at least some bipartisan support.

McAllister, a state trial court judge, gave lawmakers until April 11 to try again. If their new maps fail to pass muster in the courts again, the judge said he would order the state to pay for a court-approved expert to redraw the maps.

Legislative leaders said they would appeal the ruling.

“This is one step in the process. We always knew this case would be decided by the appellate courts. We are appealing this decision and expect this decision will be stayed as the appeal process proceeds,” said Mike Murphy, spokesman for the Senate majority.

A message seeking comment from the governor’s office was not immediately returned.

The state’s primary elections are scheduled June 28 and candidates have already begun campaigning in the new districts.

The judge said that if the Legislature fails again and an outside expert is hired to draw the maps, the process would be expensive and lengthy and may leave the state without maps before Aug. 23, the last possible date that the state could push back its primary election.

Republicans had argued in a lawsuit that the maps were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit Democrats and marginalize GOP voters.

Former GOP U.S. Rep. John Faso, a spokesperson for the Republicans who filed the lawsuit challenging the maps, said Democrats willingly violated a prohibition on partisan gerrymandering.

“This is a victory for the people of the state and it’s a victory for competitive and fair elections in New York State,” Faso said.

Legislative and congressional boundaries are being redrawn as part of the once-per-decade redistricting process kicked off by the 2020 Census.

The maps, drafted by lawmakers and approved by Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, ensured that Democrats made up a strong majority of registered voters in 22 of the 26 congressional districts the state will have for a decade.

Republicans currently hold eight of New York’s 27 seats in Congress.

In early March, McAllister said at a hearing that he didn’t think there was enough time to redraw the maps before the June primary. But the judge said he would issue a decision by April 4 about whether to uphold or strike down the maps.

The legal challenge in New York is among a series of disputes over redistricting playing out in states around the country.

Gov. Kathy Hochul. File photo by Julianne Mosher

After bipartisan backlash from Long Island officials, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has dropped her budget proposal that would require local governments to expand legalizing accessory apartments.

“I have heard real concerns about the proposed approach on accessory dwelling units,” Hochul said in a statement. “I understand that my colleagues in the state senate believe a different set of tools is needed, even if they agree with the goal of supporting the growth of this kind of housing.”

The plan stated that, to increase affordable housing across the state, dwellings would be allowed to convert garages, basements and backyard units as apartments. Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers from the town, county, state and federal levels all said this could hurt Long Island, and essentially eliminate single-family zoning.

“I am submitting a 30-day amendment to my budget legislation that removes requirements on localities in order to facilitate a conversation about how we build consensus around solutions,” she added.

The plan was introduced in January during the State of the State. Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-NY3) was one of the first to call the governor out on it, which then resulted in Brookhaven, Smithtown and Huntington towns to voice their concerns.

“One small victory, but many battles ahead,” Suozzi told TBR News Media in a statement. “We successfully stopped Governor Hochul’s radical proposal from being passed in the budget, but we’re not done yet. Now we must stop her and the state legislature from passing this misguided legislation during the Albany legislative session.”

Throughout the last month, these lawmakers argued that the plan could have potential impacts on Long Island’s quality of life, the environment and local school districts.

““I’m pleased that Governor Hochul pulled the Accessory Dwelling Unit legislation from the budget, but that isn’t enough,” said Suffolk County Legislator Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst). “At this time, there are still discussions of tweaks to the law. Local officials on Long Island are adamantly opposed to any modifications that remove our ‘home rule.’ We know what is best for our community and we don’t need New York City and New York State dictating to us what our communities should look like. As we’ve seen with the pulling of the bill, combining our voices and speaking out ensure that we can be heard. I urge all residents to contact their State representatives and the governor’s office, to voice their opposition to any modification of ADUs here on Long Island.”

Several Suffolk County lawmakers spoke up against the ADU legislation Feb. 11 with the help of several state assembly members and senators.

“The removal of this proposal from the budget is great news for all of our communities and I am proud to have stood with my colleagues in town, county, state and federal officials from both sides of the aisle to fight to protect local control,” said state Senator Mario Mattera (R-St. James). “This shows that joining together and standing united can lead to positive change for our residents.”

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) held a press conference Feb. 3, as one of the first townships to take a stance on the issue.

“The call to remove this misguided proposal was finally heard by the governor and we will continue to maintain local zoning control,” he said in a recent statement. “Our right to home rule on issues like housing is what protects our communities from turning into the crowded neighborhoods that we see in cities, which is not what the residents of Brookhaven Town want.”

Hochul still has plans to combat the affordable housing crisis, and the emphasis on increasing accessory apartments and improving their safety will be targeted in New York City rather than the suburbs.

“Albany extremists will resurrect this terrible idea the moment bipartisan opposition gets distracted,” said Huntington Town Supervisor Ed Smyth (R). “Stay vigilant!”

Supervisor Ed Romaine speaks during the Feb. 3 press conference at Town Hall. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Elected officials from local, state and the federal government recently voiced their anger and concern over Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) plans to eliminate certain single-family zoning laws across New York state. 

The comprehensive five-year housing plan would potentially invest $25 billion to create and preserve 100,000 affordable homes and tackle inequities in the housing market.

Last month, the governor announced the plan to make housing more affordable as part of the 2022 State of the State.

“In the wake of the pandemic, it’s crucial that we tackle the housing crisis and make New York a more affordable place for all,” Hochul said. “These bold steps are a major step forward in transforming our housing market, protecting affordability and increasing the housing supply.”

But on Feb. 3, local representatives in the Town of Brookhaven held a press conference blasting a major component of the proposal — changing zoning laws to allow more accessory apartments on premises, effectively eliminating single-family zoning.

Officials argued that under this plan, “the state would take zoning control away from local governments, eliminating local residents’ ability to voice objections to these apartments in their neighborhoods.”

They added that the bill would prohibit imposing parking requirements for these new apartments, which they said would result in cars clogging residential streets.

“Under Governor Hochul’s plan, every town, village and county overnight would lose the important zoning protections that keep them from looking like the crowded neighborhoods of the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn,” said town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R). “That’s not what the residents of Brookhaven Town want. This wrongheaded plan will not solve our affordable housing plan, but it will devalue the homes and quality of life in our neighborhoods.”

According to Hochul, legislation will be proposed to require municipalities to allow a minimum of one accessory dwelling unit, known as an ADU, on owner-occupied residentially zoned lots. This legislation will allow for municipalities to set size requirements and safety standards for these dwellings. 

Currently the town allows accessory apartments on premises with specific regulations, including the owner of the lot upon which the accessory apartment is located must reside within the dwelling that contains the accessory apartment, and only one accessory apartment is permitted on the premises. 

According to the town, the minimum habitable area for an accessory apartment shall be 300 square feet and a maximum of 650 square feet, and in no case should it exceed 40% of the habitable area of the dwelling building in which it is located. The law states that in no event may there be more than one bedroom per accessory apartment.

Brookhaven officials — in bipartisan agreement — said that the plan and change to the law would force apartments into every home, utilizing basements, garages, rear yard sheds and buildings.

Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) said that this proposal can have a significant impact on all of Long Island — not just the town.

Councilwoman Jane Bonner discusses how Hochul’s plan could impact her district of Rocky Point. Photo by Julianne Mosher

“Yes, we do need affordable housing choices, but we don’t need a broad stroke across the state to change the very character of the communities that we live in,” she said. “We need to maintain local control, and this takes away that control. If the governor really wants to help Long Islanders, she should do something about the ridiculously high property taxes.”

Bruce Sander, president of Stony Brook Concerned Homeowners, said that he and his neighbors bought their homes in single-family neighborhoods “so we could raise our children and grow out in our family community.”

“The ability for unscrupulous landlords to not be accountable to the local officials is just plain outrageous and dangerous,” he added. “We have seen basement apartments with illegal occupants catch fire and create unsafe environments throughout the community. If we lose control, we lose our communities. What is being proposed could lead to the destruction of the suburbs.”

Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) said that while he “appreciates” that the governor is trying to address the question of affordability, taking away the power of local zoning can lead to “chaotic development that may in the end undermine the very fabric of our communities and property values we’re trying to protect.”

“Zoning helps maintain the character of neighborhoods,” he added. “Zoning also provides tools to address these questions of affordability, however, and I don’t want that power to be taken away.”

In attendance with the Town Board was state Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) who said this change in legislation could result in “greater density for communities and place tremendous strains on every conceivable local service from the water we drink, to traffic and emergency services.”

“This one size fits all approach is not the answer to Long Island nor the state’s affordable housing crisis,” he added. 

While not in attendance during Thursday’s press event, local U.S. Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY3) both opposed Hochul’s plan.

“This blatant attack on suburban communities will end single-family housing as we know it, strip local control away from the New Yorkers who live there, tank the value of their homes, overcrowd their previously quiet streets, and on top of it all not do anything to solve our affordable housing problem,” said Zeldin, who is running on the Republican ticket for the governor’s seat. 

Suozzi, who is also campaigning for governor, said, “Governor Hochul’s radical housing proposal would ‘require’ all municipalities to allow accessory dwelling units on all residential properties and would end single-family housing as we know it.”

Hochul outlined more of her plan during her State of the State address last month, with another reason being to help municipalities rezone to foster multifamily housing near commuter rail stations in the New York City suburbs, including Long Island. 

North Shore school districts share what they’re doing to keep up with the new COVID variants. Stock photo

As students went back to school after the winter break, a spike in COVID-19 cases caused widespread absences fueled by the Omicron variant. 

As of Monday, Suffolk County has experienced a 24.1% positivity rate, according to the New York State Department of Health. 

These numbers come just one day before Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced that the state will be ending contact tracing for the virus. She said that keeping up with the number of cases is “nearly impossible” with the Omicron surge and the focus should rather be on vaccinations and testing. 

“We have 12,000 new cases a day. It is almost impossible to do contact tracing the way we have been in the past,” Hochul said at a news briefing in Manhattan Jan. 11.

The county has yet to announce if it will also stop contact tracing on the local level. 

But to continue keeping children safe in their schools, some North Shore districts have implemented new protocols, on top of mask wearing, social distancing and virtual learning.


In a statement from Elwood school district, Superintendent Kenneth Bossert said that at the high point of the COVID surge, which was immediately following the holiday break, the district had approximately 200 students isolated or in quarantine.

“Any student who is directed to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 has the opportunity to work remotely in Elwood, K-12,” he said. 

Northport-East Northport

Residents in the Northport-East Northport community received a letter from Superintendent Robert Banzer last week providing an update on some changes that took place due to the surge. 

At the time of the notice, which was sent out Jan. 7, the quarantine and isolation expectations for students and staff reduced for positive cases from 10 days to five days as long as the conditions in the guidance are met. These changes to quarantine protocols are also outlined and are based on vaccination/booster status. 

For remote learning while quarantining, Banzer expressed his sympathy noting, “We understand that remote learning is not ideal,” but some changes were made for students to learn while at home. 

High school and middle school students were updated on the district’s virtual quarantine support schedule, which provides periodic access to a subject area teacher throughout the day. Elementary students were granted increased access to their quarantine support teacher. 

“A key difference between virtual quarantine support versus livestreaming a classroom (aka: turning the camera on in the classroom) is the ability for students to interact with a teacher and ask questions, which is not typically possible with a traditional livestreaming approach,” he wrote. “This creates conditions that allow for full attention on students; the large majority who are present in class, and those who are online seeking virtual assistance from the subject area teacher.”

The district, along with others on Long Island, was given testing kits for students and staff to conduct at home, as well as community testing to take place on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Bellerose Avenue location. 


Smithtown schools are prioritizing in-person instruction, according to Superintendent Mark Secaur. 

“We strongly believe it to be superior to remote learning,” he stated. “That said, we do allow for remote learning via livestreaming for students who are unable to attend due to COVID-related quarantine and isolation requirements.”

He said he believes the district offers a safe in-person learning environment, so it has not allowed for students to “opt-in” to a remote environment unless they are forced to miss school due to a COVID quarantine or isolation period. 

Three Village

In a letter sent to residents, the Three Village School District has continued to keep students spaced at 3 feet and 6 feet when in the cafeteria. Plastic barriers can be put up if requested by the family, but none are being distributed to all at this time. 

The notice stated for secondary students, “Due to an increased number of COVID-19 cases after the post-winter recess, the following procedures will be enacted from Thursday, Jan. 6, until Friday, Jan. 21, at the high school, and until Friday, Jan. 28, at the junior high schools.”

These include livestreaming into classes if a student or family is in isolation. The livestream for Three Village occurs for the entire day, and not for individual periods of instruction. It is not interactive and will continue beyond the dates indicated for quarantined students only.


Superintendent Jennifer Quinn said that some parents were concerned sending their children back to school after winter break, so the district implemented a 10-day virtual option for families, ending this week. Students always have the option to livestream into their classes.

“Virtual learning is good for the time being, but it’s not the best way to learn,” she said, noting that in-person learning is important for social and emotional growth. 

In conjunction with the virtual option, the district continues to follow the state’s mask mandate and 6-feet distancing. 

“When things calm down, we have written a letter to send to the governor asking that students sit at their desk with no masks,” Quinn said. “The spread is not happening in schools.”

But until the Omicron variant ceases, and things get back to some type of normalcy, Comsewogue will continue providing tests to students and staff. 

Quinn added that the day before school started, over 2,000 tests were given out. 

Middle Country 

Roberta Gerold, superintendent of Middle Country Central School District, is confident that things are looking up. She said on Tuesday, Jan. 11, that attendance in her schools is starting to get better. 

“I think we’re starting to plateau,” she said. “After reporting 10 days of absences after the breaks with family, today it’s finally slowing down.”

She added that the district is testing staff once a week, while students can get tested every Monday if the parent asks. 

“We want to make sure that if they have symptoms it’s not COVID,” she said. 

Middle Country has kept up with its mask mandates and physical distancing, as well. 

“Our positivity rate is still below the county and state rate,” she added. “We’re still as careful now as we were before.”

Students have the option to livestream into their classes if absent and are offered virtual instruction during quarantine. 

“Our staff is amazing,” Gerold said. “They are working double, triple duty to support the staff who aren’t there, and they are impacted at home, too, but are still here for our students relentlessly.”

Gerold commended the district as a whole: “We just want the students to be safe.”

Shoreham-Wading River

Superintendent Gerard Poole said that “luckily” things are better this week. 

“We are full in-person learning, but if someone is out, they can get a livestream,” he said. 

For grades K-5, students are spaced out at 6 feet and it’s the same for secondary students with activities like chorus, band and in the cafeteria. 

“The community parents continue to collaborate to help students,” he said. “And our nurses continue to be heroes … the flexibility of the staff is amazing. We are so thankful for them.” 

Robert Milone, above left, with Peter Killian and Thomas Fellows at the new Oath ceremony for students entering the undergraduate nursing program that Stony Brook started this year. Photo by Jessica Galiczewski

In the wake of an expected nursing shortage and amid an uncertain battle against a pandemic that is well into its second year, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced a scholarship program to support future nurses last week.

The program, called Nurses for Our Future Scholarship, will cover tuition for 1,000 health care workers to get their Resident Nursing degrees at State University of New York and the City University of New York colleges.

The governor announced that the scholarships were designed to address the shortage in health care and a lack of workers in hospitals across the state.

In a statement, Gov. Hochul called the scholarships an “important step to train more nurses and bring them into our health care system.” She added that the pandemic has “shown us that we cannot afford a labor shortage in the health care industry.”

Nursing officers at area hospitals applauded the announcement and suggested it was an important first step in confronting some of the challenges the nursing community faces.

“I was thrilled” with the announcement, said Susan Knoepffler, chief nursing officer at Huntington Hospital. “I’m absolutely grateful for this incentive to go into the field.”

Knoepffler said hospitals throughout the area and the country had a nursing shortage even before the pandemic.

Knoepffler said Huntington Hospital is also hoping to spark an interest in nursing and health care at area high schools, including Commack High School. Huntington Hospital is providing a few students with the opportunity to learn about nursing and is looking to expand that program.

Nurses are “critical to the health of health care,” Knoepffler added. “If we don’t have enough nurses, we’re not going to be able to provide optimal health care.”

Indeed, a study in 2018 in the American Journal of Medicine calculated that patients in intensive care units were accompanied by nurses for over 86% of their time, compared with 13% with physicians and 8% with critical support staff. The figure exceeds 100% because some of these health care workers were in the room at the same time.

These scholarships will help students who might otherwise struggle financially to enter a profession that will be in increasing demand, particularly as current nurses retire.

“Having scholarships to help students stay in or enter the profession is great,” said Annette Wysocki, dean of the School of Nursing at Stony Brook University. “We have a lot of first-generation students.”

Nursing student Jaclyn Jahn. Photo by Rad Reyes

These scholarships can also help ensure that students from a variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds enter a challenging but rewarding field, providing underserved populations and communities with a link to the health care community.

Those students who graduate from nursing programs are likely to find a variety of professional opportunities, giving them greater chances to work in geographic areas and in medical specialties that appeal to them.

The American Nursing Association anticipates that more registered nurse jobs will be available through 2022 than any other profession in the country, according to Stony Brook University.

Robert Milone, who is working to earn a bachelor’s in nursing at Stony Brook in 2022, said he has received considerable encouragement about future prospects.

“There’s a lot of buzz around employment afterwards,” Milone said. He anticipates finding more “opportunities for our graduating class than there were.”

Some nurses have advised Milone, who is a native of Seaford and already earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Stony Brook in Health Science, to pursue his “dream job” after graduating.

While nurses applauded Hochul’s decision to create these scholarships, they described numerous nursing challenges.

The scholarships are a “fabulous idea,” said Nicolette Fiore-Lopez, chief nursing officer at St. Charles Hospital. While the scholarships will help in the future, “we need some help right now.”

Fiore-Lopez said a number of nurses have left the profession, both in New York and nationally.

Additionally, the pandemic may cause an increase in residents who need medical attention in the later parts of the fall and winter, when more people are indoors and when families come together from all over the country.

“By all predictors, we believe we will see another surge,” said Fiore-Lopez. “Hopefully, it will remain somewhat blunted, with vaccines being what it is. Not having enough staff [could] become an issue.”

Fiore-Lopez urges states to think creatively about staffing solutions. 

In addition to spending more on nursing students, New York and, indeed, the country, should consider investing more in the education system, which is already straining for resources.

For the past three years, the Stony Brook School of Nursing has admitted 160 students into the pre-licensure undergraduate program, which is about 14.2% to 15.9% of the qualified applicants they receive each year.

“We fervently wish we could accept more students but cannot because we do not have a sufficient number of faculty and resources,” Wyoski explained in an email.

Stony Brook’s nursing school, which has no endowed faculty positions, endowed professorships or endowed lecturers is “already stretched beyond our limits,” Wysocki added.

Fiore-Lopez suggested that the nursing system needs short-term and long-term fixes.

“I see the governor’s proposal as a long-term fix,” she said. In the shorter term, the nursing system needs other assistance, including some financial relief to provide extra staffing.

In the meantime, current students continue to hope to put their training and ambition to use in a field in high demand, particularly during the pandemic.

Jaclyn Jahn, another student in Stony Brook’s undergraduate nursing program, is following in the footsteps of her mother Lynda Jahn and her grandmother Joann Monahan, who have both been nurses.

Her mother and grandmother are “two of the most upstanding, independent, confident women I’ve ever met,” Jahn said. “They are everything I hope to one day live up to.”

Jahn, who sees her role as a patient advocate, looks forward to explaining medicine to patients and to helping patients “feel comfortable and heal.”

File photo

During a virtual press conference Nov. 4, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY3) said he has a lot to think about before the end of the month.

Suozzi said he has been seriously considering running for New York governor in 2022, but he said he will not make a decision until the end of November.

“I’d love to be the governor of New York State, and I think I’ve got a great record of accomplishment,” he said. “I think I’d be great at the job. I have a vision for the state of New York. I know what needs to be done.”

Over the next few weeks he will meet with political consultants to determine if he has a good chance of winning. He added he believes he could win a general election but he wasn’t sure about a Democratic primary.

To date, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, state Attorney General Leticia James and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams have stated their intentions to run in the Democratic primary in June of 2022.

Courtesy photo

Concern Housing, Inc. — a Medford-based nonprofit agency committed to helping individuals live with dignity and enhanced opportunities —celebrated the grand opening of Liberty Station in Port Jefferson Station last week. 

Liberty Station, a 77-unit rental community, provides workforce and accommodating housing options to persons in the community, including veterans 

“We are thrilled to join the Port Jefferson community and provide a housing option that is in desperate need for so many in our region,” said Ralph Fasano, Executive Director of Concern Housing. “Liberty Station offers veterans who have fought for our country quality, affordable housing as everyone deserves to live with dignity and respect.”

Courtesy photo

Standing beside its various partners and elected officials, Concern cut the celebratory ribbon welcoming six, two-story apartment buildings comprising 77 affordable homes. Seventy-five of the 77 apartment homes are one-bedroom units and the remaining are two-bedroom units. Twenty-five of the apartments are reserved for veterans, 20 additional units are given preference for veterans and the remaining units are for individuals making less than 50% of the Area Median Income. 

To ensure the quality living of residents, the community also provides residents with access to private parking lots and amenities such as a fitness center, a library and a computer room. 

Additionally, staff offices are on-site so that staff members can be available to help resolve any issues or needs. Residents also benefit by being in close proximity to major bus routes as well as the Port Jefferson LIRR station. 

“I am in an apartment on my own at a great location,” said U.S. Army Sergeant Harold Mains. “I could never afford an apartment like this on my income and also, live on my own. I am living 150% better than I was. I love my own space, the sense of community and appreciate all that Concern does for housing Vets, like me.”

According to New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, the $28 million affordable and supportive housing development will be an entity to the Town of Brookhaven. 

“With its affordable homes, health services and gorgeous grounds, Liberty Station is now a permanent piece of the Port Jefferson Station community — and the residents of Brookhaven will benefit as a result,”  Hochul said. “Making it possible for people to access stable, supportive homes that they can afford is one of the principal missions of my administration, and it is one that we will continue to fulfill.”

State funding for Liberty Station includes more than $18 million in equity from Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and more than $6.3 million in subsidy from New York State Homes and Community Renewal. 

The Community Preservation Corporation is providing a $1.45 million permanent loan funded through their partnership with the New York City Employees’ Retirement Systems, Suffolk County provided $900,000 and the Home Depot Foundation donated $300,000. OMH has provided $382,000 in start-up funding through a program development grant, and $1.1 million in annual support service funding through ESSHI. 

Liberty Station is part of the state’s $20 billion, five-year effort to provide New Yorkers with access to safe, affordable housing. The plan, now in its final year, makes housing accessible and combats homelessness by building and preserving more than 100,000 units of affordable housing and 6,000 units of supportive housing.    

Over the last decade on Long Island, HCR has invested $366 million to finance nearly 2,900 affordable apartments in multifamily developments, an investment that leveraged more than $272 million in funding from other sources.

c“An essential part of moving our region forward and remaining competitive is making investments in affordable and diverse housing options. Liberty Station will provide permanent, supportive housing for adults with disabilities, working-class individuals and families, and veterans,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “Our goal is to ensure that all of our residents have a safe place to call home.”

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Photo by Julianne Mosher

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) packed up his moving trucks at the governor’s mansion, the soon-to-be state leader headed to Long Island last week for a quick appearance and chat with local reporters.

Before she became New York’s 57th and first female governor, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) made a quick stop in Hauppauge for a roundtable discussion on Friday, Aug. 20, with local labor leaders where topics included job training, green jobs and new legislative efforts to support essential workers.

Although the discussion was closed to media, Hochul stopped for a small press conference to quickly discuss her intentions during the meeting.

“One of my first priorities is continue creating good jobs,” she said. “Getting the offshore wind institute off the ground and give opportunities to just really train people in the underserved communities and the jobs of tomorrow where there will be tens of thousands of jobs in that space.”

Hochul said she and the business leaders in attendance also talked about workforce development and creating opportunities to keep young people fully employed on Long Island.

The visit wasn’t anything new, she said, mentioning that over the last seven years “coming out and seeing the people is what I do.”

“If you ask anyone, I’ve been told that Nassau and Suffolk counties are planning on taxing me as a local resident because I’m here so often,” she joked.

As chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils, she said that she is going to continue and be accessible throughout her term.

“I’m going to continue showing appreciation to the labor community, the job creators, the business community and elected officials,” she said. “I have a deep appreciation for all the various roles of government, and I want them to know that they have a governor who recognizes and appreciates that.”

Hochul officially took on her new role early Tuesday, Aug. 24, moving into the governor’s mansion in Albany.

“I haven’t thought about getting a U-Haul,” she joked to reporters on Friday. “I was just going to pack an overnight bag and see what happens. I’ll then keep our residence in Buffalo, as well. It’s going to be very fluid.”

During the event, reporters urged Hochul to announce what her plans were surrounding mask mandates. At the time she said she couldn’t release an official statement until she took office but hinted that “people should be ready.”

As expected, she said during her first press conference as governor that New York will require schools across the state to mandate mask wearing for students. Faculty and staff must be vaccinated or tested weekly, as of press time Wednesday, Aug. 25.

Gov. Kathy Hochul. File photo by Julianne Mosher

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) packed up his moving trucks at the governor’s mansion, the soon-to-be governess headed to Long Island.

With just a few days left until she becomes New York’s first female governor, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) made a quick stop in Hauppauge for a roundtable discussion with local labor leaders where topics included job training, green jobs and new legislative efforts to support essential workers.

Although the discussion was closed to media, Hochul made an appearance to quickly discuss her intentions during the meeting.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Photo by Julianne Mosher

“One of my first priorities is continue creating good jobs,” she said. “Getting the offshore wind institute off the ground and give opportunities to just really train people in the underserved communities and the jobs of tomorrow where there will be tens of thousands of jobs in that space.”

Hochul said she and the business leaders in attendance also talked about workforce development and creating opportunities to keep young people fully employed on Long Island.

The visit wasn’t anything new, she said, mentioning that over the last seven years, “coming out and seeing the people is what I do.”

“If you ask anyone, I’ve been told that Nassau and Suffolk counties are planning on taxing me as a local resident because I’m here so often,” she joked.

As chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils, she said that she is going to continue and be accessible throughout her term.

“I’m going to continue showing appreciation to the labor community, the job creators, the business community and elected officials,” she said. “I have a deep appreciation for all the various roles of government, and I want them to know that they have a governor who recognizes and appreciates that.”

Hochul is set to take on her new role early Tuesday, Aug. 24 when she will move into the governor’s mansion.

“I haven’t thought about getting a U-Haul. I was just going to pack an overnight bag and see what happens,” Hochul joked. “I’ll then keep our residence in Buffalo as well. It’s going to be very fluid.”

When briefly asked about her policy surrounding the mask mandate, she said she will not be making an official statement until Tuesday but hinted that “people should be ready.”


State Assemblyman Steve Englebright. Photo from Englebright's office

In 2020, state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) maintained his seat in a race against Michael Ross, a local lawyer and former Suffolk County assistant district attorney. With nearly 30 years behind him as an assemblyman, Englebright is hitting the ground running in 2021.


While the assemblyman has a list of priorities for 2021, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is at the forefront of his mind. He said in a phone interview that the state’s vaccination rollout protocols need to be addressed in regard to issues such as identifying more vaccination sites, making registering easier and allowing couples to sign up together.

He added more locations should be utilized such as chain and privately owned pharmacies, local school gyms and even National Guard facilities.

“It really is held up right now by a lack of imagination and proper use of technology that’s available,” Englebright said, adding that even having people answering the state hotline would be helpful.

He noted not having enough of the COVID-19 vaccines also exacerbates the problem.

“I think there’s always little bureaucratic things that discourage people, and the object of this exercise is to vaccinate as many people as possible and achieve herd immunity and return to normal at some level,” he said. “Especially, before these new variants come in from Brazil, South Africa and London.”


Englebright has been keeping his eyes on Route 347 and the Long Island Rail Road.

While roadwork on Route 347 in the Smithtown area was completed a few years ago, Englebright would like to see the road improvements continue through Port Jefferson Station. The assemblyman is making sure the completion of the roadwork is a priority.

“This is important for the operation and quality of life for the Port Jefferson Station community,” Englebright said. “If I can move it up and accelerate the improvement, I’m going to try to do that.”

Englebright is also a proponent of full electrification of the LIRR Port Jefferson line, and in 2019 was part of a press conference speaking out against the railroad purchasing more diesel engines.

He said electrification will be a “game changer,” raising the values of homes, attracting more people to use the railroad and creating less pollution.

“We’re working with late-19th century, early-20th century models for rail, and the time has long passed — we need to upgrade them,” he said.

PSEG Long Island

Englebright said a closer look is being taken at PSEGLI. Many have been disappointed with the utility company, he said. Recently, many of its top executives were pulled off of Long Island issues and sent to Puerto Rico to try to acquire big contracts for rebuilding the Caribbean island’s hurricane-ravaged electrical infrastructure.

Englebright said the Long Island Power Authority board is moving toward full municipalization of the utility company, something he has been pushing for since 1983 when he was a Suffolk County legislator.

“I’m still of the opinion that moving to full municipal ownership would give more accountability and more stability in terms of our ratepayers obligations,” he said.


Englebright along with state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) is co-sponsoring legislation regarding recycling and creation of waste related to packaging which will extend producers’ responsibility. The goal is to boost recycling, curb waste and save tax dollars. Englebright said the responsibility of recycling packaging and paper products will shift from local governments to corporations.

Locally, it could mean that the Town of Brookhaven could extend the life of its landfill, which is slated to close in 2024 and was negatively affected when China stopped taking America’s plastic waste in 2018. The request to reduce landfill waste is one that comes from towns all over the state, according to the assemblyman.

“One-third of the waste going into the landfill is for packaging,” Englebright said. “So, if we can help extend the life, the useful life of our landfill, it will save our taxpayers millions.”

The assemblyman added that “we’ll just be more responsible if we put the responsibility for packaging onto the manufacturers.”

“If we create an incentive for the manufacturers to reduce the amount of waste and standardize the type of plastics that they use to use recyclable plastics, such as polyethylene instead of polyvinyl chloride, the work of the town becomes much, much less stressful,” he said.

Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act

Englebright said implementing New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which was passed in 2019, is a priority. The act sets to legally binding emissions reductions’ standards with the goal of eliminating dependence on fossil fuels by 2050. The act sets a goal to reduce emissions by 85% below 1990 levels by 2050. An interim target is at a 40 percent reduction by 2030. The remaining percentage of emissions will be offset by actions such as planting trees, which removes carbon dioxide out of the air, to reach net zero emissions.

An original sponsor of the legislation, Englebright is encouraged by President Joe Biden’s (D) commitment to do the same and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also being a proponent. Englebright is further encouraged by Biden moving toward incentivizing electric automobiles which was followed by General Motors announcing it’s going to phase out internal combustion engines by 2035 and move into the electric vehicle arena.

“All of that is within the framework of what we went through at the state legislative level,” Englebright said. “We had a debate basically for four years before Todd Kaminsky became the chair in the Senate and was able to move the bill.”

Restore Mother Nature Bond Act

The state’s $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act was announced in the state budget in 2020 but was pulled from the November ballots due to the pandemic’s impact on New York’s finances. Englebright said it’s important to get back to implementing the legislation which will fund critical environmental restoration projects in the state — including restoring fish and wildlife habitats, preserving open spaces and enhancing recreational opportunities and prepare New York for the impact of climate change and more.

The bond act would help advance the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.