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Bellone is best

It’s a real race for the Suffolk County executive spot this year. In one corner, you’ve got a seasoned incumbent, Steve Bellone (D), who has an ambitious vision for the region’s future. On the other side, you’ve got Republican Jim O’Connor, who knows finances and is in tune with the taxpayers’ pockets. It was a tough call, but we say re-elect Bellone. While Bellone’s judgement call in tapping James Burke — who recently resigned as the county’s police chief amid a federal investigation — gives us pause, the county executive has some big plans ahead. Those include better connecting Suffolk’s existing downtowns to its research institutions to create an attractive environment that entices millenials and employers to stay on the Island.

Losquadro paves the way

Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro had a busy year filled with rain, sleet, snow and, now, a re-election bid. We think he handled them all fairly well and deserves a second term. Just two years removed from being elected, Losquadro is just getting started at the Highway Department level after stints in the Suffolk County Legislature and New York State Assembly. After coming into office with the inheritance of a mounting debt and crumbling infrastructure, we feel the highway superintendent has been proactive and pragmatic in finding solutions to the county’s problems, while remaining transparent throughout his office’s shortcomings. In one of the most tangible litmus tests, Losquadro has remained accessible with his office’s

Help Hahn win re-election

Since 2011, Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) has worked to defend the public’s health and safety. She spearheaded a law to protect our water supply from hazardous plastic materials; worked to eliminate toxic chemicals from toys; preserved open space; and put a lifesaving drug into the hands of our first responders to help them

O’Connor said he sees it in a different light, saying it’s too expensive to live on Long Island and that county government needs to make it cheaper for residents, who are leaving in droves, to stay put. We appreciate a focus on finances, but we prefer Bellone’s long-term vision of the county’s future. Now, if he could only prevent his dreams from getting in the way of action. The county executive has grand plans to change a lot of things in Suffolk, from his proposal to connect those downtowns to his desire to increase the sewer network and improve water quality. But after trimming his salary, the size of government and his own body weight, there’s one more thing he must trim: his big goals, into more tamed, specific plans of action. It’s great to have ideas that would transform the way we

live on Long Island, but we can’t get there in just one leap, which our county executive’s rhetoric seems to demonstrate. We have to take small steps that add up to larger ones. Bellone can do it. He demonstrates an understanding of complex issues — for instance, he knows the solution to the Island’s drug addiction issue is to work on prevention and treatment resources, not just add more cops on the streets. Simple improvements like getting all the county’s town supervisors in one room to agree on streamlining a building process in the county may seem small, but it’d make a huge difference in spurring economic growth, which would also feed into his larger plans. And maybe he might want to add O’Connor to his administration. He seems to have some good ideas.

attempts at putting a dent in a backlog of road repaving and repair projects, while also admitting there was no way he could tend to every single one. That kind of honesty demonstrates his willingness to work with the public and trust in those he serves. The winter was brutal and full of snowfall, and it didn’t stop there. We even saw a horrific tornado barrel through the North Shore in August. All the while, we were pleased with Losquadro’s handling of the storms, hitting the pavement quickly and remaining accessible throughout. He has also worked to bring the Highway Department into the current century, ushering in new technology and implementing new methods of doing business. Losquadro’s opponent, Democrat Jason Kontzamanys, has based much of his opposition campaign on knocking the county’s debt and vowing

to watch after the taxpayer’s dollar. While we agree with the sentiment of his argument, we don’t feel that is something the current superintendent fails to recognize or act upon. There is always debt in government, but Brookhaven has stood out with a Moody’s bond rating of Aa2. If Moody’s has given the town a favorable rating, then the town is not in dire financial straits. Businesses that don’t carry debt are few and far between, and while we recognize the town has mounting debt, we also feel Losquadro is privy to the financing of that debt and works to deal with it accordingly as much as a highway superintendent can. Losquadro is just getting started. He had a tough winter with very little criticisms, especially from the ground level of his constituents, and we feel he should get another term under his belt.

prevent opioid overdoses. Hahn is accessible to the people she represents, and her ideas are moving the county in the right direction. Republican challenger Donna Cumella has lived in Suffolk County for 44 years and is quite knowledgeable about the big issues, and we applaud her willingness to serve the community. But Hahn has proven that she takes action to improve her constituents’ quality of life. She should be re-elected to another term.

Luft: Tough but fair

Martha Luft has served as a judge in Suffolk County Family Court for the past decade, and her experience and compassion while serving are why she deserves another term. She is no stranger to serving in emotional courtrooms and meeting face-to-face with some of the most vulnerable members of our society. She comes to the job with humility, and the passion she shows while discussing different

Romaine is super

Ed Romaine has a solid record of getting things done. He has kept the lid on taxes; brought single-stream recycling into the town, which added revenue and made collection day easier on residents; and fought bad neighbors who run their homes as illegal boarding houses or abandon their properties and allow them to fall into disrepair. And under the leadership of the Republican Center Moriches resident, the town paid off its

pension debt this year — an important factor in maintaining fiscal stability in the future. On top of these efforts that affect residents where they live, he has attacked broader initiatives, including supporting laws that encourage residents to use alternative energy sources. His Democratic challenger, Douglas Dittko, is nowhere to be found, but that’s OK because what Romaine has been doing is working. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Re-elect Romaine.

Cartright’s the right pick The race to represent Brookhaven Town’s 1st District is a good one with two ambitious and qualified candidates, but we feel one of them is just the right fit at just the right time, and that’s incumbent Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station). Cartright, an attorney, was first elected to the seat two years ago and has been busy ever since. She can be seen at various community events and working on some of the town’s most pressing issues, like drug-related crime, zoning and planning. She has hosted roundtable discussions as part of her “be a good neighbor” campaign, bringing all involved parties together to address illegal student housing in the communities surrounding Stony Brook University, resulting in new code proposals to better regulate the housing. All in all, she has been responsive in addressing what her constituents identify as concerns facing the district. Much of the same can be said for Cartright’s opponent, civic president Ed Garboski. The face of the

aspects of her work is impressive. Some of the driving qualities she said keep her going include patience, communication and an ability to deliver tough love for those who need it most while still operating with compassion and understanding. She said she often calls on her experience as a mother of three and a grandmother of as many to guide her when working to balance her heart with her mind in her judgeship. In her re-election bid, she faces off against Marlene Budd,

Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association, Garboski is a proven leader on community issues and was named a Times Beacon Record Newspapers Person of the Year because of it. However, Cartright’s perspective and life experience is necessary to the Brookhaven Town Board. Not only is she a Democrat on a Republicancontrolled board, but she also has a background unlike her council colleagues — she brings a valuable perspective to town politics that would be lost without her. Garboski is still a great candidate and an effective leader, and we hope he does not go away if he loses this election. If re-elected, Cartright said she hopes to build upon her constituent outreach by perfecting her communication methods, knocking on doors and bringing in the senior community to better address their concerns in the district. She has already made great strides in bringing groups together to address and discuss problems, and she should be given another term to continue her work.

George Harkin Jr. and Matthew Hughes. But of the four candidates seeking the two judgeships up for election this year, Luft was the only one rated highly qualified for the position, according to an Independent Judicial Election Qualifications Commissions report. Luft is an exceptional candidate with a track record that supports our conviction. She told us she loves family court. She said she thinks she found her calling, and so do we. Re-elect Martha Luft.

The Village Times Herald - October 29, 2015