A lifelong Mastic resident and William Floyd graduate, incumbent Rudy Sunderman is running for re-election for Suffolk County’s 3rd Legislative District. He said he has put people before politics and will continue to stand by that.
“The most important thing to me, as a legislator, is quality of life for my residents,” Sunderman said, “and I will continue to fight for them.”
During his two-year term, Sunderman said he has been dedicated to the Forge River watershed sewer district program. After securing funding for phases one and two, which together cover northeastern Mastic and the Montauk Highway corridor of Shirley, connecting 1,800 homes and 150 businesses, Sunderman plans to nail down more funding for two more upcoming phases.
“It is a really important project,” Sunderman said, “and it is going to reduce the nitrogen loading into the Forge River. It is going to be good for boating, swimming, clamming and fishing for our communities.”
Sunderman also said that a goal of his, if re-elected, is to continue to push for funding and support for phases three and four of the sewer project.
“We have to get into that Mastic Beach community and get them a sewer district so that we can have their quality-of-life issues resolved as well,” Sunderman added.
Considering his background with the Mastic Fire Department — as well as serving in other capacities of first-response — Sunderman has played an active role in combating the opioid epidemic throughout his term. He said that he heavily supports Narcan training and Ugly Truth seminars as well as working with various organizations like Families in Support of Treatment, the Joey Project and Seafield outpatient centers across the county.
“We are utilizing all of these organizations so that we can all come together to reach out to the families in need or who want the help and let them know it is there, and it is available,” Sunderman said. “It is really about treatment and education, and that is how we can get help and fight this opioid epidemic.”
As for the area’s zombie homes, Sunderman said the opioid epidemic is relevant in this regard, too. He referenced his co-sponsored legislation, which passed last December, and strengthened the nuisance property law to hold landlords accountable for illegal activity.
“Zombie homes do affect the quality of life for our residents, and it is an extremely important topic that working with all levels of government makes a difference,” Sunderman said, adding that zombie homes are not only a topic of concern among residents, but for himself as well. He said this was one of the reasons he initially ran for office last cycle.
“As a fire chief, I pulled a squatter out of a zombie home. I had to take the boards off the house, and this gentleman was trapped in a hole. I was able to save his life,” Sunderman said. “I take these zombie homes very seriously, because somebody could be in one of these vacant homes.”
Why should you vote for Sunderman? He said that his record stands for itself. “The strides we have taken in my first term have made our community very successful,” he said. “I look forward to being here in the future.