Local residents gathered at Patchogue's Tuesday night to learn more about the candidates running for political office within Brookhaven Town and county-wide.
The event allowed a four-minute introduction for each candidate, including their goals and issues they hope to resolve followed by questions from the public.
Calarco v. Giannott
One of the biggest races in the area is between Rob Calarco and John Giannott, who are both hoping to replace Jack Eddington, who is not running for re-election, as a county legislator in the 7th Legislative District, which includes Patchogue, Medford, Holtsville and Blue Point.
Calarco, a Democrat and currently Eddington's chief of staff, discussed three main areas of concern: job availability, housing options and an efficient government.
“We’re at a crossroads in Suffolk County and we need to start focusing on how we’re going to develop and remain an affordable middle class,” said Carlarco, who was born and raised upstate and now lives in Patchogue.
His opponent, Republican John Giannott, a graduate who runs two businesses in Bellport, said he was looking at the county’s problems from a business perspective and how to improve governmental relations.
“It’s time to start thinking outside the box, we need business people to start making decisions with our money,” Giannott said. “Our government is spread all over the county. It’s time to get them under the same roof.”
Lesko v. Forte
The two candidates for Brookhaven Town supervisor--incumbent Democrat Mark Lesko and Republican Ceclie Forte--were also on hand Tuesday night and both faced questions about their plans to improve the job market.
Forte, and educator and author, said the best solution was to accept more business offers instead of turning them down and she took a shot at the incumbent.
“We’ve had a turndown in finances in our country since 2008. What was my opponent doing while he was in office? What happens when you have 20,000 people unemployed?” Forte said. “None of these problems are insurmountable, and I believe in working for the people.”
Lesko, elected to office in 2009, said his administration has focused on local job growth.
“I’m running for town supervisor, I’m not running for president of the United States,” Lesko said. “There are things we are doing to generate jobs at a local level and the first thing we need to do is re-develop properties in our township.”
Mazzei v. Cavanaugh
Property issues were a topic of discussion for Republican Town Councilman Tim Mazzei, who is up for re-election. Mazzei said he’s glad to say that Patchogue's Plaza Theatre was under his watch, as well as renovations made to the Patchogue ferry marina.
“All of that and more has been accomplished while holding the line on Brookhaven taxes,” Mazzei said. “I’m here because I care about the community I work for and represent in a bi-partisan fashion.”
Democrat Tom Cavanaugh is running against Mazzei for chance to represent the Fifth Council District, which includes Patchogue, Medford, Ronkonkoma and Blue Point.
Cavanaugh declared he is “ready, rolling, and able,” and found support from the crowd in discussing new businesses yielding job openings.
Other candidates in attendance Tuesday included county executive candidates Steve Bellone and Angie Carpenter, District Court judge candidates Vincent Martorana and Tony Parlatore; and Joseph Santorelli, a candidate for justice of the Supreme Court.
Elections will be held on Nov. 8.