As he comes to the end of his first term, Manuel Esteban Sr., R-East Northport, the first Latino legislator to serve Suffolk County’s 16th District, says he has learned a lot in office.
“My office has really turned into a community center. Whether it’s a seminar with the small business administration or workshops that I lead, we opened up the office and are very
proud to provide five-star service,” he said.
The 16th District currently includes parts of Commack, Dix Hills, East Northport, Elwood, Melville and South Huntington, Deer Park, Brentwood, and North Bay Shore.
Esteban lives in East Northport with his wife, Mercedes, and seven children.
Esteban is running for re-election to the 16th District against Democrat Rebecca L. Sanin. Esteban, 48, was an Eagle Scout with many awards for his community service. An attorney, he said, he has used his legal knowledge to help those in need through pro bono services, and now devotes his time to his role as legislator.
The 16th District office hosts many events that help inform the community, including domestic abuse awareness programs and health workshops, with topics such as diabetes.
Redistricting will take place this January, adding more areas of Huntington, including Huntington Station, to the 16th district.
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is a huge part of Huntington Station’s current environment. Esteban says the initiative is very well intended.
“Streetscapes, putting power lines underground, widening the sidewalks, are all good measures,” he said.
Esteban said that the business and economics proposals as well as the housing and revitalization proposals in the initiative cannot flourish without sewers. An initiative in Huntington to provide sewers is designed to decrease water pollution.
Water quality is an issue across all of Suffolk County. Recently, Republican county legislators voted down including the Suffolk County Water Quality Protection Act on the Nov. 7 ballot but Esteban believes with some improvements, the bill would be better suited for Suffolk County.
“It didn’t allocate enough for sewers. It’s still being worked on and I’m very hopeful that Suffolk will come together and that we’ll provide the sewers,” he said.
Esteban said that affordable housing is something that will become more accessible with the addition of sewer systems. Housing is a long-standing issue in Huntington, currently
taking shape in a debate over four-story apartment projects.
Since many parts of Huntington are zoned C6 already, Esteban said there is allowance for these apartment buildings if they can reach four stories and stay within the height limits of the zoning regulations.
When asked about the current political climate in the Middle East, Esteban’s said his thoughts went to the people in the region whose lives were suddenly disrupted when fighters from the Gaza Strip attacked Israelis on Oct. 7.
“My heart is wrenched over this. We just want to see all of this stop and people’s lives coming back to normal so that they can enjoy peace and safety and families can be together,” he
Hayley Birmingham is a reporter with The SBU Media Group, part of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism’s Working Newsroom program for students and local media.