Democrat Sanin Seeks Huntington Supervisor Seat

Rebecca Sanin, the president and CEO of Health and Welfare Council of Long Island and a former Suffolk County assistant deputy county executive, wants to be the Town of Huntington’s next supervisor.

“I love the Town of Huntington – currently it’s being mismanaged,” Sanin, a Democrat, told Huntington Now.

Sanin sees Huntington’s recovery from COVID as a pivotal moment, as residents and businesses regroup from the pandemic, while millions of federal dollars pour into the town through the American Rescue Plan. In this key instance, she said, leadership is key.

“We are living in a very unusual moment in history,” Sanin said. “You need a seasoned executive manager at the helm, with the passion and compassion to lead the town’s recovery and build our innovative future.”

Sanin, a self-described data-driven executive, aims to build a culture of accountability. That includes inside the town’s Building Department, which she called “absolutely broken.” Knocking on doors throughout every corner of Huntington, Sanin said residents are experiencing “months of delays when attempting to get permits to upgrade their homes.”

The delay triggers a domino-effect of new challenges.

“It’s denying someone the opportunity to work,” she said. “It’s also impacting our housing stock when it comes to affordable housing [and] accessory apartments. Residents need the building department to issue permits to do that. It causes a huge impact on the economy of the town and the quality of life of residents.”

Quality of life is a big theme for Sanin, who points out that residents want “access to opportunity and a chance for their families to live their best lives. It’s not a Democratic or Republican premise. People want leadership to work for them, to fight for them and protect them. I am absolutely that leader.”

As proof, she points to her earlier roles in overseeing the county’s response to Hurricane Sandy, and co-leading Suffolk’s performance management team to find efficient, cost-effective ways for government. And HWCLI, which she leads, coordinated outreach for the region’s 2020 Census count.

“I spent my entire career in public service solving broken systems,” she said.

Her focus includes investing in infrastructure, including the town’s sewer system, bringing it to parts of the town that lack it. She wants to protect harbors and beaches and build up the maritime department. She also aims to construct a state-of-the-art 311 system to connect residents to resources, and track and respond in a data-driven way.

Sanin would fill her administration with accountable leaders who are “fiercely focuses” and “the highest quality decision makers” and “experienced, empathetic and committed to excellence.” Her administration would be “transparent so people know how their tax dollars are spent,” and see that Sanin and her team are “judicious stewards” of tax dollars, with the understanding that every dollar spent is “an investment to improve people’s lives.”

There are a number of challenges to tackle, including vacant storefronts. Sanin said she would “work with the business community” to see how best to “provide relief as a town,” The process could include reducing permit fees, and collaborating with the town’s business improvement districts and chambers of commerce “to attract investment into the town.”

To improve safety, Sanin would work to boost crime prevention by partnering with the Suffolk County Police Department’s 2nd Precinct. Sanin would work with police to analyze data and understand issues and remedies, including new lighting, which the town controls, traffic flow on particular roads and other measures to “support policing efforts to keep residents safe,” she said.

She would ensure the town implements disaster mitigation investing in “blue-sky time” in “resiliency and disaster preparedness,” noting that “flooding means that someone can’t get through” the roads, which can be life-threatening in an emergency. There would be a strategic “plan for every part of the community,” with table-top exercises in the event of another pandemic, a chemical weapon attack or a hurricane.

In reforming the Building Department, she would analyze workflow access to identify bottlenecks of permitting delays. She would digitize the process and establish benchmarks to “fix the broken process,” she said.

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” she said.

Sanin would also address what she calls the “overuse of leaf blowers,” which clog storm drains. This can trigger street flooding, and cause leaves to decay, harming waterways. “We need a safer method of lawn care,” she said, adding that one way to do that is by educating the community.

Sanin said that during her campaign, she’s spent a lot of time knocking on doors, hearing from residents and business owners. And in her work with the Census, she spent time building relationships with houses of worship. She said she would continue that effort as town supervisor, “ensuring that they are at the table in a meaningful way.”

She would encourage them to take civil-service exams and apply for jobs in the town so that its government “reflects the people it serves.” And she would continue listening so that she’s in-tune with what’s important to constituents

She would collaborate with residents to develop “solutions to maintain the charm of the town and address the housing needs of the community” so that people could afford to stay here.

These are just some of the ways Sanin would lead as town supervisor.

“I don’t own the problems,” she said. “I own the solutions.”

Sanin is in a three-way race, running against Town Council members Ed Smyth and Gene Cook in the Nov. 2 election to succeed Town Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci.

Democrats Pick Sanin to Run for Supervisor

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