Jen Hebert wants a chance to tackle head on what she sees is Huntington’s biggest problem–mismanagement and a lack of leadership on a townwide level. She is seeking one of two open seats on the Huntington Town Board in Tuesday’s election.
Hebert, a Democrat, was already in the race when Republicans tapped another educator, Dr. Dave Bennardo, to also run.
Despite her quiet approach, Hebert is known to have definite ideas on what to do or not do in office, after serving nine years in the unpaid job on the Huntington school board, including as president.
“The town has a habit of solving problems in a reactive way instead of with a cohesive management,” she said.
“My job on the Board of Education gave me tremendous experience and skills transferable to the Town Board, most importantly understanding responsibility with taxpayer money.
“In addition, that gave me the best skills preparation you can have to be really responsible to constituents. When a constituent had a concern, they knew they could call me up and I’d get back to them and I’d come back with a solution,” she said.
Beyond management, she believes the biggest issue facing the town is development and how it is affecting the town’s infrastructure. How some of it has come about is another issue to be considered. “I’m not against all development–we need to bring in vibrant new businesses. I just don’t feel we should be putting up as much our town with such reckless abandon.
“We have a tremendous opportunity now with the fedral instructure money, a once in a lifetime chance to basically help everyone in Huntington,” she said. She just wants a clear plan to accomplish the most.
She mentions a 311 system proposed by Democratic town supervisor candidate Rebecca Sanin, which is designed to improve residents’ access to Town Hall to report problems. She said she found “it’s almost impossible to find your way” around the Town Hall system, and as a result, diffcult to get the help people need.
She notes that she is cricitizing systemic problems, not employees.
“One of the greatest things I look forward to most is that I would get to work for all the wonderful people who work for this town and keep it ticking. I feel I have the cacpacity to make Town Hall work where teamwork is really valued. Meeting with some of the labor unions, they’ve been fantatic and supportive,” she said.
Parks and recreation available to the residents are another topic of concern.
“We need to be treating our parks better. We had all that super hot weather, we could train high school kids or local colleges who have the ability to be lifeguards, we even have the YMCA,” to train more lifeguards to keep the beaches open longer during the summer,” she said. “It has everything to do with mismanagement.”
She also believes the town should stop repainting signs at parks and other facilities every time there is a new supervisor or town council member. “Stop changing the signs, put the money somewhere else. It’s a ridiculous waste of money and time,” she said.
As far as town elected positions, she said, “A lot of people want to win the job but then don’t want to do the job. I want the honor of representing the community,” she said.