Twenty-year Southold resident Rona Smith has made her mark on the Town by leading advisory committees and thus influencing policy. Currently, she serves as Chair of the Housing Advisory Commission, sits on the Economic Development Committee, and is Vice-Chair of the Southold Local Development Corporation. All three of these groups have taken direct steps to improve the lives of Southold residents and Rona has been a determined leader.
Rona’s professional career was primarily in the housing industry; from selling to marketing to development and to financial analysis. She was the longtime head of an investment development group specializing in multi-family housing. She has taken that extensive experience and knowledge and shared it with the Town in pursuit of much needed workforce housing.
The need for affordable housing is dire, sending our well-educated kids to live elsewhere, forcing businesses to scrounge for workers, and often causing young people to postpone establishing their own households. A fifty unit complex is about to be built in Southold, thanks to Rona’s efforts to proactively pursue affordable housing developers, encouraging them to build in Southold. This was accomplished working across party lines. The development is soon to be home to 50 local families!
The loss of her son, David, in 2012, personalized her focus on health care. David did not have health insurance because of the high cost. He postponed seeing doctors and, when he finally did, he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. If not for the Affordable Care Act and its pre-existing-condition provision for cancer, he would not have received the aggressive treatment that was his only hope.
Watching the Affordable Care Act coverage being ripped to shreds is a source of fear. Hard-working people should not be afraid to get sick. Rona will work in New York State to re-establish a diminishing safety net. With the opioid epidemic on the rise and mental health care limited or non-existent, these serious crises are on her urgent Assembly agenda.
Rona’s education has given her the tools to solve the difficult challenges we face in these trying times. She earned her college degree at Queens College, CUNY. She went on to earn an MA and a PhD from New York University, and an MBA from Columbia University. Rona lives in Greenport with her dog Pluto. Her daughter, Letty, a doctor, also lives on Long Island.
As the Assemblywoman for the 2nd district in New York State, she will set high performance standards while aggressively serving the community of which she is proud to be a member.