Promising a more efficient county government and an administration “rooted in the values of hard work, personal initiative, and accountability,” Ed Romaine took the oath of office as Suffolk County executive in a New Year’s Day ceremony.
Romaine succeeds Democrat Steve Bellone, who was term-limited after 12 years in office.
Romaine, a Republican, promised in his inauguration address at Eastport-South Manor Junior-Senior High School, to “cast a new eye on old problems.”
“Our path must be based on the experiences of past administrations, while being willing to find our own path and reinvent county government,” he said.
The outgoing Brookhaven Town supervisor laid out the priorities for his new role. He wants to strengthen county finances, reduce the county’s debt, and work with the county legislature to develop a structurally balanced budget.
Romaine also wants to fund law enforcement, improve the performance of Child Protective Services, and harden the county’s information technology infrastructure after it was hit by a September 2022 data hack, “which, unfortunately, affected every aspect of county government,” he said.
Romaine said he wants to preserve open space, make Suffolk a more affordable place to live, and work with town supervisors across Long Island to develop a regional plan for disposing of solid waste.
A host of elected officials, including U.S. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer and U.S. Reps. Andrew Garbarino and Nick LaLota, attended the inauguration to pay tribute to Romaine, who has served in local government for decades after starting out as a public-school teacher.
“He cared about every part of Brookhaven,” Schumer said. “He did such an amazing job. He never let partisanship get in the way.”
Incoming Brookhaven Town supervisor Dan Panico said Romaine has been a mentor to him and “a person who has dedicated his life to making other people’s lives better.”
“He puts his heart and soul into everything he does,” Panico said. “He’s the right person at the right time.”