TBR News Media published its endorsements in the Nov. 2 editions of our papers, which run from Wading River in the Town of Brookhaven to Cold Spring Harbor in Huntington along the North Shore. As always, these are only our opinions, and we urge you to learn about the candidates and make your own decisions as to whom you will give your vote. We merely share our impressions with you, feeling it our duty since we have personally interviewed them.
Romaine is what county government needs
Suffolk County is staring down trouble, and it will take strong leadership to lift us from this rut.
Our ancient wastewater infrastructure is deteriorating rapidly, prompting urgent, countywide planning and intervention. The Brookhaven Town landfill, which serves our entire region, is set to close, triggering potentially a regional garbage crisis.
Seniors and young people are fleeing our region, forming a vacuum of local leaders and depleting our up-and-coming workforce. And financial projections for our county government paint a bleak picture in the years ahead.
To confront all of these challenges, our residents will select a new Suffolk County executive this November. For this role, we need someone with the political tact to guide 18 legislators toward tangible policy outcomes. This moment requires urgent action, and given the choice of who best can steer this teetering ship, we believe Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) will rise to the occasion.
Our county government is a vast, complex bureaucracy. Bringing order to this labyrinthine system will require someone with a firm grasp on the inner workings of government. Romaine is a consummate politician, someone who has lived and breathed politics for the better part of a lifetime. It is now time for him to apply that lifetime of political experience toward fixing our broken county system and improving our collective quality of life.
At the same time as this year’s county election, we are deeply aware of the growing concentration of power and political influence forming within the Suffolk County Republican Committee. We hope that if he is elected, Romaine will stand up to the power brokers within his party ranks, that he will not put party interest over the public good. We challenge Romaine to stay true to the aspirations of his campaign, and we pledge to hold him accountable if he backs down from his word.
Romaine’s opponent, Dave Calone, is a good man with the interests of county residents at heart. We believe that Calone has the makings of an effective public official and we encourage him to throw his hat in the ring again soon.
But for his experience, proven record and knowledge of the system, TBR News Media endorses Ed Romaine for our county’s highest post.
Panico will provide needed reform for Brookhaven town government
The Town of Brookhaven faces many challenges in the years ahead, and meeting this moment demands bold leadership and vision within the Town Supervisor’s Office.
The chief executive of the municipality must be an advocate for the people, someone guided by core values and who will not be beholden to party bosses, land developers or union leaders. We believe Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico fits this description.
In our office debate, Panico impressed us as well-informed with the inner workings of town government. With land use determinations being the central function of local government, we believe Panico can leverage his vast knowledge of this area to advance resident interests effectively.
Throughout the TBR News Media coverage area, major plans are currently on the drawing board. From Three Village to Port Jeff Station to Middle Country, our residents are eager for sewers to come into their communities, with expanded sewer access to bring about real transformation and revitalization.
But with increased sewer capacity comes the potential for over densification and sprawl. We need someone in the supervisor’s office who understands the levers of government and land use and who can pull them appropriately to advance our local interests.
The function of the Brookhaven Town Board is to serve the public, guiding developers and awarding contracts in a manner that serves the public good rather than advancing the private interests of developers and unions.
We believe Panico is properly suited to make those decisions. He assured us that he is not beholden to any outside interest group, and we hope he stands by his word if elected.
Panico’s opponent, Lillian Clayman, did a tremendous service by stepping forward in this race after an unforeseen illness eliminated the previous Democratic candidate, Margot Garant. Through Clayman’s candidacy, she has raised public awareness around several important topics, such as the town’s landfill and animal shelter, while identifying other areas for improvement.
We thank Clayman for keeping the democratic process alive and well and for offering a powerful counterbalance throughout the campaign. Win or lose, her efforts will go a long way to help reform this town government.
But we believe Panico is the right person to enact those reforms in office. In this year’s race for Brookhaven Town supervisor, he has our endorsement.
Kaplan would put service first as Brookhaven highway superintendent
As Election Day quickly approaches, Brookhaven residents will have an important decision before them about who they want overseeing their town highways.
Incumbent Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) has undoubtedly proven to be a capable leader of the Highway Department, with accomplishments such as securing multiple multimillion dollar grants for Brookhaven projects.
However, Losquadro’s opponent, Michael Kaplan (D), proved that he would put his position over politics and party affiliation. We believe that kind of messaging is highly appealing amid these turbulent times.
During our office debate with the two candidates, Kaplan displayed a true gentleman’s nature, praising Losquadro for the work that he has done for Brookhaven residents while politely establishing areas of disagreement. Kaplan refused to engage in any form of unnecessary attack against Losquadro, instead tactfully debating the substance of the job.
Kaplan’s eagerness to use a hands-on approach to lead the office is warmly received, and it is clear that his past positions in highway departments (and the U.S. Army) have shaped his style of thinking and way of approaching complex problems.
In the end, we firmly believe that Kaplan will listen to the needs of the residents, and will fulfill his duty wholeheartedly. While Brookhaven is a geographically massive township, it needs leaders with a “small-town mentality.” That kind of resident-centric, hands-on focus is sorely needed to meet this moment.
For these reasons, TBR News Media endorses Michael Kaplan’s bid for the position of Brookhaven Superintendent of Highways.
Englebright’s record speaks for itself
On this November’s ballot, voters will decide between two very different kinds of candidates for Suffolk County’s 5th Legislative District.
Given the passion and sincere convictions of both candidates, the decision to endorse was close. But given the choice of only one candidate, we believe former New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) has the political experience and impressive connections to advocate most effectively for 5th District residents.
If elected, Englebright would bring a lifetime of political experience with him into the county Legislature. He had already served in that capacity from 1983-92, followed by three decades in the state Assembly. Also a geologist by training, Englebright’s expertise on environmental sustainability — coupled with his sustained commitment to protecting our groundwater and surface waters, preserving open space and preparing our community for a sustainable future — make him the right choice to meet the growing environmental needs within our county. With simultaneous wastewater and garbage crises brewing along our county’s horizon, we need a firm environmental voice in the county Legislature.
In securing public investment into the 5th Legislative District, we know Englebright will help bring home its fair share and then some. Throughout his political entire career, he has done so repeatedly. With a wealth of experience and connections behind him, Englebright is prepared to leverage those assets to benefit this community.
Anthony Figliola, Englebright’s Republican Party opponent, has good ideas and passion that would be of service to 5th District residents. We hope that he stays involved in the political process.
But this year’s county election is about experience and proven leadership. Because Steve Englebright uniquely possesses those experiences, he has earned our endorsement to represent the 5th Legislative District.
Kornreich is a champion for Council District 1
One of the great civic victories in the Town of Brookhaven’s recent political history was the institution of the councilmanic system.
This system created six separate council districts, each with one representative on the Town Board. The principal fruit of this civic effort has been Council District 1, a traditionally Democratic council district whose representative serves as a valuable check against the Republican Party stronghold in town government.
Since entering the Town Board via special election in 2021, incumbent Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) has been a forceful advocate on behalf of his constituents. Through his efforts, real progress has been made, with tangible policy wins for the people of his district.
Look no further than Port Jefferson Station, a place where a homegrown local renaissance is currently underway. Thanks to Kornreich’s advocacy work, that hamlet’s Train Car Park has become a central community hub. And with the proposed redevelopment of Jefferson Plaza on Route 112, we believe Kornreich will help create a vibrant, traditional downtown feel along that corridor.
During our office debate with the CD1 candidates, we were struck by Kornreich’s depth of expertise in the areas where town government is most central: land use. His private-sector background and his civic leadership within the Three Village Civic Association uniquely qualify him for this kind of work.
We also notice and greatly appreciate the considerable efforts he takes to be present for his constituents. Whether at civic associations, chambers of commerce or other local events, Kornreich always seems to be there and engaged. These frequent interactions between the representative and his constituents are instrumental in identifying and advancing the local interest.
As journalists, access to public officials is crucial for properly informing our readers. Whenever we request a comment from Kornreich, he is quick to offer his insight and perspective. This is an important public service, assisting the local press in informing the public and fostering democracy. We encourage Kornreich to continue contributing op-eds to our newspapers, which help keep our readers up to speed on his work in town government.
Evidenced by his presence and actions, Kornreich is an effective ambassador for his district. It is undeniable that he cares deeply for this community and leverages his experience and skills to make this area a better place.
If reelected, we remind Kornreich that his position — while determined by CD1 voters — has townwide implications. As the lone elected Democrat in town government, residents across the entire town look to him for guidance and leadership. After all, the formation of CD1 was the consequence of a townwide civic effort.
For this reason, we were disappointed by Kornreich’s “yes” vote for the adopted map in last year’s redistricting process — a vote negatively impacting the historically underrepresented communities of Gordon Heights and North Bellport in Council District 4. But while Kornreich’s redistricting vote was a mistake, we believe in his capacity for growth and remind him to let the light of conscience and good will guide similar votes down the road.
We found Kornreich’s opponent, Gary Bodenburg, to be a likable and sincere person. We admire and respect his advocacy work for disadvantaged youth, and we believe his time is most valuably spent if he continues in that capacity.
But this election cycle, the choice is clear. TBR News Media strongly endorses Jonathan Kornreich’s reelection campaign for Brookhaven’s 1st Council District.
Marcoccia is a dutiful department head
Unlike the other races, the Town of Brookhaven Receiver of Taxes race isn’t exactly competitive, with the democratic candidate Tricia L. Chiaramonte not running an active campaign. However, as incumbent Lou Marcoccia (R) offers a high quality choice.
Marcoccia’s dedication to serving his constituents cannot be underestimated. He has made it clear that he truly wants to help the residents of Brookhaven in ways such as allowing them to turn in their taxes after the office has closed on the last day possible, and not charging them a hefty late fee. He doesn’t have to do this, but he chooses to, which shows his true character.
He does not concern himself with party politics, but rather sticks to being a good leader and superb manager, very rarely raising his voice. His strive for accessibility is admirable, as there are many times when the blind and deaf community have to fight for basic accommodations.
However, Marcoccia makes sure to offer an inclusive environment. TBR News Media looks forward to another term served for Lou Marcoccia as the Brookhaven Receiver of Taxes and endorse his campaign for reelection.
Cavalier will bring continuity to the 6th Legislative District
Due to county term limits, incumbent Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) cannot seek reelection, creating an open contest for the 6th Legislative District for the first time in over a decade.
To succeed Anker, two well-qualified attorneys have stepped forward. During our office debate with Dorothy Cavalier (D-Mount Sinai) and Chad Lennon (R-Rocky Point), we were struck by their shared knowledge of the law and familiarity with their community.
It’s unfortunate that only one of these candidates will be selected this November because we believe each has a unique set of ideas for guiding our county in a positive direction. But like the voters, we can only endorse one. And while the decision was close, TBR News Media supports Cavalier this November.
If elected, Cavalier will bring with her a wealth of legal knowledge to the county Legislature. Given her experience as Anker’s chief of staff, she has a firm grasp of the issues at stake and a rooted understanding of the challenges facing 6th District residents.
Cavalier’s boss has been a positive force during her time in county government, working across the aisle to attain cross-partisan appeal. We believe Cavalier seeks to continue the work Anker has started.
During our debate, Lennon demonstrated an enthusiasm and dedication we deeply respect. His interest in veteran issues especially moved us. Given his combat experiences and his evident passion for his fellow service members, we believe Lennon is ideally suited to chair the county’s Veteran Services Committee if elected this November.
The only variable that brought Lennon down a notch in our eyes was his tenure on the Town of Brookhaven’s controversial redistricting committee last year, resulting in a botched process and a gerrymandered map. We wish cooler heads could have prevailed within that committee and remind Lennon he must be an independent voice for 6th District constituents capable of bucking his party when necessary.
To represent the communities across northern Brookhaven, our staff endorses Dorothy Cavalier for Suffolk’s 6th Legislative District.
Bonner is an ambassador for Brookhaven’s 2nd District
In the race for Brookhaven’s 2nd Council District, which covers the northeastern hamlets from Mount Sinai to Wading River and a large chunk of Coram, residents are weighing various quality-of-life concerns.
Seniors and young people are becoming increasingly priced out of the region. Commercial districts, such as those along state Routes 25 and 25A, are struggling post-pandemic. And the town government is staring down a sizable loss of public revenue due to the planned closure of the Brookhaven Town landfill.
To meet this moment, Brookhaven requires experienced, knowledgeable public servants in office. Given her track record, we believe incumbent Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) will rise to the occasion.
Bonner’s commitment to the 2nd Council District is undeniable. She has served in this capacity for well over a decade, and her continual reelection suggests that her policies are registering with voters.
We also appreciate Bonner’s continued presence within the community. While covering local events, we often bump into the councilwoman. Making frequent public appearances is critical for connecting with the public and advocating on their behalf in town government. Bonner has done just that.
Bonner’s challenger this election cycle, Carol Russell (D-Coram), has some good ideas and has demonstrated an interest in serving her community. If elected, we believe Russell would be a positive force within the Town Board. We hope she stays involved in the community, regardless of the outcome.
But given a choice, we will stand by the incumbent for this election. Bonner has our endorsement for Brookhaven’s 2nd Council District.
Caracappa will show up for 4th District residents
Uncontested elections are all too familiar in Suffolk County, evidenced by the current race for Suffolk County’s 4th Legislative District.
Incumbent Legislator Nick Caracappa (C-Selden) is running virtually uncontested, his Democratic Party challenger Timothy Hall a candidate on paper only. Hall is not running an open campaign and declined to attend an office debate with the incumbent.
Our staff would have appreciated a spirited discussion on the issues. The 4th District has many challenges ahead, from limiting overdevelopment along Middle Country Road to expanding housing options for seniors and young people to addressing the plight of homelessness within the district.
In this race, only one candidate is willing to offer any ideas or potential solutions. Caracappa has thought through the many issues facing his constituents and is determined to address the quality of life needs within the area.
We appreciate Caracappa’s willingness to serve, advocate for his community and make the Greater Middle Country area a better place to live. For showing up for the people of his community, TBR News Media endorses his reelection campaign this November.
In the meantime, we are deeply distressed by and strongly condemn the tendency of the Suffolk County Democratic Committee to sacrifice races to their opposition. Holding contested elections should not be a calculation of cost or likelihood of victory. Having two viable candidates debate the issues is a universal good for our local deliberative process.
We ask that Suffolk Democrats radically rethink their current political strategy. They are bleeding seats across all levels of local government precisely because of their unwillingness to debate the issues and run contested campaigns. Our democracy depends upon a functional two-party system. We hope to have one again in elections to come.
Leslie Kennedy is a compassionate voice for Suffolk’s 12th District
Leslie Kennedy has served as legislator of Suffolk County’s 12th District for the last eight years and is seeking another term.
Within her work as a legislator, she is recognized for her focus on constituent services, showing compassion for those needing aid and assistance. She serves as a voice for the district’s residents.
As a result of the recent county redistricting, District 12 now includes more low-income residents, a cohort she seeks to help.
Kennedy is often recognized for her compassion for helping those within the elderly community, most often those economically disadvantaged. In an interview with TBR News Media, she shared a story detailing her experience with seniors, typically women, who cannot afford retired life based on the Social Security stipend they receive. She touched upon her work connecting seniors to food pantries, accessible transportation and affordable housing options.
She has also voiced her views on one of the most significant issues this election cycle, Suffolk County’s wastewater infrastructure and the proposed sales-tax referendum accompanying it. Kennedy voted against the referendum to enhance the existing infrastructure by instituting a 1/8% sales tax increase due to her expectations for a future plan including a more well-thought-out and effective revenue split between sewers and Advanced/Innovative septic systems.
Kennedy is a major proponent of open-space preservation, with efforts to combat the ever-growing development slowly engulfing Suffolk County. She continuously expressed concerns and the need for adequate legislation for young people and families seeking life on Long Island who are increasingly unable to afford it.
If elected, Kennedy plans to continue her important work serving the residents of her district. Her opponent, Democratic candidate Denis Graziano, is not actively campaigning. TBR News Media endorses Kennedy’s reelection campaign.
McCarthy will do the job of Smithtown town clerk
To fill the vacancy left behind by former Smithtown Town Clerk Vincent Puleo (R), who vacated the post in January when he assumed the Suffolk County clerkship, Smithtown voters are faced with two candidates with starkly different outlooks on the office’s role within town government.
On the one hand, candidate Bill Holst (D) brings a wealth of public-sector background and civic energy to this campaign. During our office debate, he advocated for a more assertive clerk to help steer the Town Board toward better policy outcomes.
On the other hand, Tom McCarthy (R) — not the town councilman — has a private-sector background that qualifies him for the demands of the office. Given the growing fears over cybersecurity both locally and more broadly, McCarthy’s experience in the security sector could be a major asset for town government.
But given the pick of only one candidate, the choice seemed clear. While we admired Holst’s drive, McCarthy seemed genuinely interested in the position.
There is nothing sexy about record keeping. Serving as recording secretary during Town Board meetings does not conjure ideas of political intrigue either. Yet this position is an elective office because it’s quite important for the operations of government.
We believe Smithtown residents deserve a clerk who is engaged by the office. An effective town clerk must be 100% dialed in. As evidenced by last year’s cyberattack against the county, when officials are not fully dialed into these seemingly mundane municipal affairs, things can go wrong quickly.
Tom McCarthy seemed to be excited by the prospect of performing these tasks. He had ideas about maximizing the office’s customer service potential. We hope he continues that enthusiasm if elected.
For his interest in the work ahead, TBR News Media endorses McCarthy’s candidacy for Smithtown town clerk.
Trotta adds a healthy dose of pessimism to county government
A government as large and complex as Suffolk County’s could take any reform-minded individual down an arduous and ultimately unfulfilling rabbit hole.
Take Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga), who has been running on a reform agenda since 2013. Trotta is running for his sixth and final term in the county Legislature, and his prospects for reelection look promising — he is running unopposed. He has always been a rebel, but entering his last term, he pledged to go out with a bang. We hope he does.
The county government is at a critical juncture in its history. From aging cesspools polluting our water to long-term uncertainty over our regional waste management system to the potential for serious financial strife in the years ahead, there are many challenges our county government must soon resolve.
Trotta not only concentrates on the principles of good government; he has staked his entire political career upon these precepts. And with just two short years before he is termed out of office, he has nothing to lose.
In the coming term, we wish Trotta well and hope that he achieves his goal to “clean up this mess.”
We also support his platform of open space conservation, which is critically important in this time of often continuing development. Our county must protect the few remaining parcels left, and Trotta seems determined to do so.
Meanwhile, we strongly condemn the Suffolk County Democratic Committee for refusing to run an opponent against the sitting incumbent. This practice is detrimental to our local deliberative process and quite possibly explains the staggering loss of Democratic seats in the county Legislature and for countywide office.
But despite the committee’s faults, we have good reason to back the incumbent. This November, TBR News Media strongly endorses Rob Trotta’s uncontested reelection campaign.
Majority endorsement: Hebert and McKay will bring needed change for Huntington
Watch a typical public comment period during general meetings of the Huntington Town Board and the takeaway will be clear: the people yearn for change.
This year, voters are considering a qualified slate of candidates, all deeply motivated and informed on local policy. Yet there are some noteworthy differences between them.
During our office debate, our staff was deeply moved by Jen Hebert’s depth of insight, her conviction and her compassion for local residents. For each issue we asked her about — from accessory dwelling units to land use to quality of life decisions — Hebert seemed to speak to the core issues facing ordinary citizens, offering tangible policy solutions for each problem.
We believe Hebert’s background as a trustee on the South Huntington school district Board of Education uniquely qualifies her for the task of breathing new life into Huntington Town Board. This year, each member of our staff enthusiastically endorses her vision for town government.
In deciding between the other two candidates, a majority of us felt Don McKay had the slight edge.
If residents desire change, then McKay would be the ideal vessel to carry out their will. McKay said he is not looking to make friends while in office but to bring about real reforms. If elected, we hope he follows through on his objective and brings change to a system which evidently demands new vision.
We thank each of the candidates for a substantive and cordial discussion of local topics. Any one of these three candidates, we believe, will be a force of good for town government.
But given the choice of only two, a majority of our staff endorses Jen Hebert and Don McKay for Huntington Town Board.
Minority endorsement: Mari will preserve Huntington’s charm and character
During a roundtable debate with TBR News Media, Theresa Mari exhibited an ardent dedication to the betterment of the Town of Huntington.
Mari prides herself on her strength of character and commitment to being a strong leader.
Mari’s vision for Huntington revolves around responsible development and sound infrastructure. While acknowledging the necessity for housing, she stands against large-scale development projects that could alter the town’s character.
Mari is equally dedicated to maintaining financial stability. If elected, she vows to “hold the line” on taxes, ensuring that residents’ tax burden remains stable. Simultaneously, she aims to enhance infrastructure, addressing issues like road maintenance and safeguarding drinking water resources.
Mari also showed a deep care for community youth as she shared plans to bridge the gap between youth organizations and school districts to create positive programs for the town’s young residents. This includes collaborating with youth courts, local drug rehabilitation centers and school districts to offer crucial support, particularly in the area of mental health.
As Huntington faces the upcoming election with two vacant seats on the Town Board, Mari stands out as a dedicated advocate with a clear vision for the town’s future. Her legal background, commitment to community service and passion for preserving Huntington’s character make her a compelling candidate for the Town Board.
She, therefore, has the endorsement of a minority of our staff.