The student news site of Ward Melville High School


The student news site of Ward Melville High School


The student news site of Ward Melville High School


A Guide to the 2023 Local Elections
Photo courtesy of Element5 Digital on

Three Village residents are going to the polls November 7 to elect several county and town-level positions as well as to vote on two statewide proposals. The most contentious race this year is between Republican Ed Romaine and Democrat Dave Calone for Suffolk County Executive, a seat that is being left vacant due to Democrat Steve Bellone being term-limited after occupying that position for 12 years. Republicans are hoping to take control of the seat with an influential endorsements from the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association; this is the first time the union has supported a Republican for county executive in 20 years (Newsday). In another close election, longtime New York State Assembly member Steve Englebright, a Democrat, is running against Republican Anthony Figliola for the County Legislature seat left open by term-limited Kara Hahn. County Legislature elections are taking place in redrawn district lines after both parties agreed on a map late last year. Residents can reference to know what districts they are in and where to vote. The candidates and issues in several key races are discussed below.


Suffolk County Executive

This year will be Suffolk’s first open election for county executive since 2009. Republican candidate Ed Romaine has been involved in local politics for nearly four decades and has been the Brookhaven town supervisor for a decade. Running against him, Democratic candidate Dave Calone is a private equity businessman who has never before held elected office. However, he helped convict an al-Qaeda terrorist as a federal prosecutor and was a former county planning commission chair. Romaine has notably focused on the need for sewer infrastructure improvements and clean water, arguing that Suffolk has not been aggressive enough in making use of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and New York’s Environmental Bond Act. Calone has focused on expanding affordable housing and public safety, where he plans to appoint a chief housing officer to address the county’s affordability issues.


Replacing outdated septic systems across the county has been a major point of contention, with the Republican-led County Legislature blocking a ⅛-penny sales tax meant to fund wastewater and sewage improvements from being a ballot proposal. Calone supports this tax but is open to making changes. In addition, he stresses the importance of moving quickly to claim federal and state subsidies. Romaine wants to see more funding for sewer infrastructure rather than for septic systems as well as for the tax to be instituted through state legislative approval rather than as an addition to the state budget. Another major issue is the future of waste management in the county, as the Brookhaven landfill will soon be shut down. Romaine has embraced sending waste out of the county by rail to be managed elsewhere, while Calone agrees but seeks to prioritize better recycling and reducing waste.


On the issue of crime, Calone has stressed his background as a prosecutor. He wants to require schools to submit safety plans and has also emphasized the need to address the root causes of crime. He plans to be more aggressive with drug traffickers and to reduce the number of guns on the streets, as well as improve the county’s cybersecurity. Romaine has focused on filling all vacancies within the police department and notes his endorsement from Suffolk County’s law enforcement unions. Both candidates are against the use of county funds to house migrants and have called on the federal government to implement tighter border restrictions. You can watch a debate between the two candidates at


Suffolk County Legislator

In the elections for Suffolk County Legislature, almost all of the Three Village district is within District 5. District 5 is in a competitive race, where Democrat Kara Hahn has been the legislator since 2012 but is term-limited. Republicans see a chance at flipping the district, and Democratic nominee Steve Englebright will face off with Republican nominee Anthony Figliola. A small portion of our district in Lake Grove, near the intersection of Pond Path and Hawkins Road, is in District 12, while another small section near Harbor Road and Avalon Nature Preserve is in District 13.


Steve Englebright was our representative in the New York State Assembly for three decades before losing his re-election campaign last year. He has been a longtime leader in environmental causes. Anthony Figliola is a business development professional who first ran for office in our Congressional election last year, coming in third out of the 3 candidates in the Republican primary. Englebright is strongly opposed to the county Legislature’s failure to allow residents to vote on a ⅛-cent sales tax that would raise funds for water quality and wastewater improvements. He views the tax as necessary to protect the county’s aquifer and waterways. Figliola supports the Legislature’s actions, arguing more flexibility between funding for septic systems and sewage infrastructure is needed. In addition, he has focused on addressing fentanyl overdoses in the county and providing the police department with sufficient resources. To address the affordability crisis in the county, Englebright has specified plans to build hundreds of housing units in Setauket, while Figliola has advocated for removing red-light cameras and reducing fuel taxes. Both candidates oppose housing migrants at locations such as Stony Brook University without adequate funding and preparation.


In District 12, Republican Leslie A. Kennedy seeks a fifth term after succeeding her husband in 2016. Her main focuses include improving the county’s wastewater treatment, improving sewer systems, closing Brookhaven’s landfill, and building more affordable and senior housing. Her opponent, Democrat Denis M. Graziano, is not actively campaigning. In District 13, Republican Robert Trotta, who is seeking a sixth term, is running unopposed. He has criticized efforts to raise taxes to improve wastewater infrastructure and has blasted Suffolk’s School Bus Safety Program and Red Light Camera Program, which he views as ineffective and corrupt. He has also promoted private ownership of homes over apartment renting as a solution to Suffolk’s high cost of living and advocated for greater open-space conservation. Trotta was taken off the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee in March after uthe county’s largest municipal workers and police unions called for his removal.

Brookhaven Town Councilmember

In Brookhaven’s 1st Council District, incumbent and former Three Village School Board member Jonathan Kornreich, a Democrat, is being challenged by Republican special education teacher Gary Bodenburg. In regards to affordable housing, Kornreich has advocated for building apartments on top of retail spaces to create mixed-use buildings in downtown areas, but Bodenburg has cautioned against mixed-use buildings as going against the character of the town. To address the loss of income that will come from the closure of the town’s landfill, Bodenburg wants to limit unnecessary spending, while Kornreich believes a wind farm and solar farm will bring in revenue. Kornreich has also focused on environmental and historical conservation. He has done significant outreach to the Asian American community in his first term, forming the Asian American Advisory Board as one of his first actions. Bodenburg has drawn attention to the need for actual outcomes from long-going studies such as the one on a Route 25A corridor.


Ballot Proposals

On the back of the ballot, voters will decide on a proposal for whether to remove a debt ceiling on capital projects for small city school districts (those in a city of under 125,000 people) so that they would operate under the same debt limit as non-city districts. The measure would allow 57 small city school districts across the state to increase the amount they can borrow for capital projects from 5% to 10% of their property values (Olean Times Herald). Proponents argue that voting “Yes” would allow these school districts to complete projects and improvements more quickly, rather than having to spread them out over the course of years. The proposal would not increase taxes, and would affect the Long Beach City School District and Glen Cove City School District on Long Island.


A second proposal concerns whether to allow local governments to continue to exceed their debt limits for sewer infrastructure improvements. This exception was instituted in 1963 to allow greater spending on sewage treatment and disposal, but must be renewed every 10 years by voters. Local governments have factored this exception into their long-term planning, and sewage health has become increasingly important as climate change worsens. However, the state Conservative Party opposes the exception due to there being no specific restrictions on costs.


Other Elections

Other elections include the race for Brookhaven Town supervisor, where former Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee chair Lillian Clayman is running against Republican Councilmember Dan Panico. The seat is being vacated by Ed Romaine in his bid for Suffolk County Executive. Panico has been heavily involved in redevelopment projects across the town. Clayman has focused on improving sewer infrastructure to allow for sustainable development and has warned against overdevelopment. Both candidates have been vocal about preserving open spaces and describe the fentanyl crisis as a major issue, although Panico views it as requiring state and federal action while Clayman supports expanded community education and outreach on the local level.


In the election for Brookhaven receiver of taxes, only Republican and incumbent Louis Marcoccia is actively campaigning. Democrat Tricia Chiaramonte is on the ballot but is not running a campaign. For Brookhaven Superintendent of Highways, Democrat Michael Kaplan is running against incumbent Republican Dan Losquadro. Kaplan wants to increase private contracting for major environmental events such as snowstorms, expand the workforce in the Highway Department, and ensure that all residents calling would be responded to within 72 hours. Losquadro plans to continue raising roads and improving drainage where possible in response to rising sea levels. Additionally, Democrat Cynthia Vargas and Republican Steven Weissbard are running for District Court Judge.

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About the Contributor
Oliver Wu, Editor-in-Chief
If you're in Ward Melville, feel free to reach out to me with any story ideas or suggestions! My email is: [email protected]

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