With all eyes on the 20th congressional district here in NY, a seat formerly held by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a special election was held yesterday and as reported by the NY Times, the race is too close to call.
However there was another race here on Long Island that was not close to call. It was the special election for the Town of Brookhaven’s supervisor seat and it was won handily by the Democratic candidate, Mark Lesko. Lesko won 55% percent of the vote where his challenger, Republican Timothy Mazzei garnered 44% of the vote.
What truly amazed me if one believes in all politics is local is that only 14% of registered voters came out to vote in this special election. What happens in local government is the first line of how one is governed. After all, those in local offices decide your property taxes, which roads get repaved, and how other services are provided to its citizens. Juxtapose this percentage of voter turn out with the past presidential election which was roughly 70% and it truly boggles the mind.
I often liken local politics to the real meat and potatoes politics, because what is decided in these offices directly affects its residents. So, it astounds me when someone complains about services and local taxes think they have the audacity to complain when they have not even voted in these local elections. In past campaigning for any candidate especially local candidates, I have told voters to take their bills especially their property tax bills into the voting booth and base their votes on them. One wonders if any actually listened to my suggestion, but I felt it was important enough to state it.
For those of you who are not familiar with this town or Long Island politics, former supervisor, Brian X. Foley ran against the incumbent Republican challenger, Caesar Trunzo and trounced him handily this past November. Trunzo served as a New York State Senator for 35 years.
Up until this special election was held, Lori Baldessare governed the Town of Brookhaven becoming its Acting-Supervisor. Before moving on to become a state senator, Baldessare was Foley’s chief of staff. I truly wish her well in her future endeavors whatever they may be. Lesko should take into account her years of experience and keep her on in some useful position. It would only be a win-win situation for the future of the Town of Brookhaven, NY. Ms. Baldessare lives and breathes the Town of Brookhaven and as a constituent of hers up until the special election, I am extremely thankful to her.
But, getting back to the Town of Brookhaven and its significance, we have a higher population than the State of Alaska and Vermont. So, this supervisor’s seat is on par with governing a state. Mark Lesko will be facing the same challenges as many governors across this country. Being a former prosecutor, I am sure that the town is in good hands. It is my hope that the Republican controlled board of council members will extend to him a feeling of bi-partisanship and not look to those Republican leaders in Washington, who have offered none. We who reside in the Town of Brookhaven deserve far better.
In fact, in his concession speech, Timothy Mazzei promised such bi-partisanship. Let us hope he lives up to his word and signals to the rest of the Republican council-members to do the same.
Lastly, to Supervisor-elect, Mark Lesko, listen to the advice of those presently elected to their various seats within the town as well as your new constituents. The future of this town, which is a town greatly loved by so many, only wish you and it the utmost success.
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