Students ‘Speed-Date’ the Candidates

Safety for students and honesty and transparency from politicians were two big themes in  a  “speed dating” candidates night Thursday at the Harborfields Public Library.

The youth group, Students Promoting Inclusive Civic Engagement, with an assist from a few adults, including Dr. Eve Krief and Northport teacher Darryl St. George, put on the forum, which had candidates sitting in circles, answering questions from students. After several minutes, students, most of whom aren’t old enough to vote Tuesday, moved on to the next circle, until each group had a chance to meet all candidates.

Along with questions about what, exactly, elected officials do in their jobs, students raised questions about school shootings, and whether elected officials were honest and open in their dealings with the public.

Students came from Northport, Harborfields, Huntington and Commack; most were high school age, but a few were middle schoolers.

Candidates who joined in the discussion included: incumbent Jillian Guthman and challenger Janet Smitelli, running for the receiver of taxes job; Assemblyman Andrew Raia and his challenger, Avrum Rosen; Councilwoman Joan Cergol and her challenger James Leonick; Assemblyman Steve Stern and challenger Jeremy Williams, and  Kathleen Cleary, who is seeking to upset State Sen. John Flanagan, who did not participate. Aide Bob Lopez sat in for challenger James Gaughran, who is trying to replace State Sen. Carl Marcellino, who did not participate.

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