Candidates for local, county and state offices came out Thursday night for a forum at the South Huntington Public Library.
The South Huntington-Huntington Station Civic Association hosted the event, one of several such forums before the elections on Nov.6.
Kicking off the event was Jim Gaughran, the Democratic nominee for the 5th District State Senate. Gaughran has a long history in local politics. In 1983, Gaughran was elected to the Huntington Town Board at the age of 27. A few years later, he was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature. He promises to vote on legislation that would punish corrupt politicians and help to ensure that adequate funding is provided to the district. “I want to go to Albany and fight to do what we can to bring back our fair share of funding to all communities I will represent.” Gaughran said.
His Republican opponent, State Sen. Carl Marcellino, also participated in the forum. Marcellino, who’s represented the 5th Senate District since 1995, is a proponent of environmental legislation, saying that he has written over 100 environmental laws while in office. His policies involve providing clean water, protecting open space, and reducing pollution in the community. “It always helps if we can keep the community in good shape.” Marcellino said. “I sat on the environmental committee longer than any other senator in the history of this state, and I wrote more bills to protect our environment than any other senator.”
Up for re-election this November is New York State assemblyman Steve Stern. Stern represents the 10th assembly district in New York, and has supported laws that helps protect veterans, elderly, and public school districts. “Education is one of our very top priorities,” Stern said. “I’m a father of young children and I understand how important it is to maintain our education, and making sure our children graduate with a world-class education from our local school districts.”
Challenging Stern in November is first-time Republican candidate Jeremy Williams. Despite his young age, Williams displays a passion to help his community. “I’m 22 years old,” Jeremy Williams said. “I don’t have the experience that my opponent has, but what I do have is a fresh, unencumbered perspective about how government affects us all.” Williams is a lifelong Huntington resident who wants to help make his community an affordable place for young adults to live. “It’s simply too unaffordable to live here,” Williams said. “A dream of buying a home here as a young person is fleeing. Today, less than 21% of all Long Island’s youth own homes.”
Huntington Town Councilwoman Joan Cergol said she supports an open and transparent government, and believes that communication between town officials and residents is the key to a thriving community. “We need a human infrastructure of people to get together to talk about the problems,” Councilwoman Joan Cergol said. “That was one of the first things that I was doing; bringing people together to the table to talk about some of the problems in Huntington Station and how we can solve those problems.”
Challenging is Jim Leonick, who has been nominated to run for Huntington Town Council by the Republican Party, Conservative Party and Reform Party. Leonick also supports a strong communication between town officials and residents, but believes there are major transparency issues with the former. “I believe in representing people for what the community wants.” Jim Leonick said. “What residents want, residents should have.”