POLITICS

Laura Ahearn tapped to flip LaValle seat blue

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Laura Ahearn, an attorney and victim advocate from Port Jefferson, will run on the Democratic ticket for New York State Senate District 1, after winning the primary in June. The race will decide who will fill the seat of longtime senator Kevin LaValle, who retired this year after 44 years in office. Ahearn will face Republican nominee, assemblyman Anthony Palumbo.

“Voters made the decision that they didn’t want a politician, they wanted an advocate,” Ahearn told the Tide.

Ahearn is an attorney who has been working with victims of sex abuse and other crimes for over 20 years. She founded the Crime Victims Center, which has grown to be a full-service organization helping victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and other crimes.

“We have a very good chance to take this seat,” Ahearn said, noting that the party affiliations are relatively evenly split.

Her top issues going into the election include restarting the economy after the fallout of the pandemic. Ahearn supports investing in infrastructure improvements to create jobs, including infrastructure for clean energy. Also relating to the pandemic, Ahearn wants to bring more resources to school districts and families to help children access remote learning.

“We have to find some way to ensure all these children that are learning remotely have the technology they need,” she said.

Ahearn is also supportive of addressing issues related to climate change, including protecting waters and estuaries in the district. Ahearn is not supportive of “defunding the police,” saying that victim services would be negatively impacted. But she said she is hopeful people can come together to eliminate systemic racism. She also is supportive of reproductive rights for women, LGBTQ+ rights, and addressing the opioid crisis.

In her campaigning, Ahearn has noticed a frustration in voters that the government seems divided. She said that her work over the past 25 years has proven that she has the ability to work with anyone.

“I work toward a common goal, and I’m not going to not work with individuals just because they’re from a certain party,” Ahearn said.

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