Chad Lupinacci, elected Huntington Town supervisor in 2017, didn't make it to this Election Day ballot. Lupinacci is finishing his term, politically derailed by personal controversy, after a longtime aide accused him of sexual misconduct.
The result is an open race among the Republican, Deputy Supervisor Edmund J. Smyth; Democrat Rebecca L. Sanin, who’s president and chief executive of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island; and town board member Eugene Cook, who’s running on the ad hoc "Stop LIPA" line.
Residents should seize this opportunity for a fresh start to move forward the town of more than 200,000, and its varied villages and hamlets, by choosing someone who will streamline and modernize services, upgrade technology, guide development, and alleviate parking and traffic challenges.
That will take an expansion of vision and initiative at the top of Town Hall.
Smyth, 50, of Lloyd Harbor, could be a steady hand on the tiller. "There's not going to be any surprises or drama in my administration" compared with the last couple of years, he told the editorial board. He's well-versed in town operations. He calls infrastructure his top priority and credibly defends the town's settlement of the property tax appeal lawsuit involving LIPA's Northport power plant.
Cook, 59, of Greenlawn, follows his own drumbeat, and the three-term town board member has his supporters. Cook disagreed with Smyth’s vote to accept the LIPA deal, and warns about the fiscal future, vowing to hold the line on taxes and to borrow for projects only as necessary.
Entering the electoral fray for the first time is Sanin, 43, of Huntington Station. She makes a persuasive case for upgrades in the town, saying justly that residents should not find it necessary to pay "expediters" to get building permits. Sanin recognizes the woeful lack of data and metrics that would help town officials better govern and, channeling voter dissatisfaction, emphasizes the need for a 311 nonemergency system and information technology that track services and complaints and accept filings and applications online.
She adds, insightfully, "When you talk about downtown, it's not just Main Street in Huntington. There's lots of commercial establishments all throughout our township of 98 square miles that we want to expand economic investment in."
Heading a major nonprofit gives Sanin executive experience as well as a useful sense of what resources can be brought to bear for providing services, especially for poor and vulnerable people so all communities can thrive.
She will need seasoned, high-quality top appointees to help implement her ambitious plans to re-imagine how the town's 17 departments can better deliver services.
Newsday endorses Sanin.