Ed Romaine (R) vs. Dave Calone (D)
Former federal and state prosecutor Dave Calone (D) and current Brookhaven Town supervisor Ed Romaine will be vying for the Suffolk County executive seat as current county executive Steve Bellone is term-limited and will leave office at the end of 2023.
ED ROMAINE (R)
Ed Romaine said he is running to create a government that is fiscally responsive, just as he did with the town. He wants to increase the county’s bond rating and manage it in such a way that it becomes cost efficient while also restoring the public’s faith in government.
“I am running to work for the future of this county and its residents,” he said of his campaign. “We need safer neighborhoods. We leave from the burden of high property taxes, less traffic, and overdevelopment, and a county government that works and is responsive to its residents.”
He also noted that he can’t support the governor’s affordable housing plan, which he said, would force the island to grow without proper sewers in place. He also promised to maintain his goals for the environment, focusing on clean water.
“This is going to be a challenge,” he admitted. He said, he hopes to take his life experiences and put it to work. “This is for the future of Suffolk. My grandchildren are growing up here, and I want them to stay here.”
Romaine and his wife, Diane, have three grandchildren who live in East Moriches.
“They are my joy,” he added. “I lived here most my life, since I was 6 months old. I want a better future than what I see on the horizon. I envision a better future and want to work towards that future as county executive.”
The Center Moriches resident began his career as a history teacher in the Hauppauge School District, then served in Brookhaven’s Housing and Community Development and Economic Development departments. Romaine was elected Suffolk County legislator, then county clerk, then was elected again as legislator between 1986 and 2005, during which time he wrote the county’s first Clean Water Act, acquired thousands of acres of open farmland, urged and supported dredging projects throughout the county, and froze county general fund taxes.
After winning the 2012 Brookhaven supervisor election to complete former supervisor Mark Lesko’s term, Romaine ran again in 2013 for his first two-year term, also on the Conservative and Independence lines.
As supervisor, some of Romaine’s top priorities included making sure the town was fiscally secure, to prevent overdevelopment and preserve open space near waterways, wetlands and environmentally sensitive areas. He is proud of the high credit and bond ratings that he said allows the town to borrow at lower rates as well as his commitment to green improvements across the town, including solar panels on almost all town facilities. Romaine was also the first supervisor to announce that the town landfill will be scheduled to close in 2024. He has also been working with the town board to set up adequate measures leading up to and following its closure.
He ran for supervisor and won reelection in 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021, and would have been up for re-election this year. Brookhaven Town deputy supervisor Dan Panico will be running to fill his seat against Brookhaven Democratic chairwoman and the mayor of Hamden, Conn., Lillian Clayman.
If elected, his top goals include:
Ensuring the financial stability of the county government. “I will work to make this county more affordable for the people who live here. Government is no more complicated than a household. Don’t spend money you don’t have.”
Instead, he said, he plans to go after the millions of dollars in federal infrastructure money.
“We need to make sure we get our fair share,” he added. “We can’t continue to tax people and expect them to put up with it. So many people are leaving with the cost of living too high. It’s just a mess; we’ve got to do something. If we don’t, we’re going to lose our future.”
Clean water for Suffolk County. Romaine said he will ensure clean water with the appropriate treatment of waste by implementing sewers and IA systems.
Public safety. “Our public safety remains a major concern for the voters. We need to fund our police, corrections officers, deputy sheriffs and detectives adequately. I believe in strengthening our criminal justice system with a strong public safety presence. That is the key of a good suburban quality of life.”
Dealing with environmental challenges. Romaine said he hopes to combat climate change, rising sea level, and the use of fossil fuels. “I want to continue my work as supervisor as county executive, working every day to move away from fossil fuel and to go solar.” He believes educating residents about the programs out there will help implement solar on both homes and businesses. He also said he will address rising sea level and erosion at Fire Island and the county’s beaches by working with the Army Corps.
Reduce waste and solve the waste crisis. Romaine said he wants to do so by building better cooperation with towns and villages. “We need to recycle and handle this by getting the county and towns involved in a regional solid-waste plan,” he said.
As for why he should be elected as the best person for the job, he said: “I have a clear vision for the future of this county. I know what to do and I will be ready to go from Day One. I have a proven track record balancing budgets with a triple a bond rating, caring about the community and getting rid of zombie homes, caring about the quality of life, making sure things work as best as we can. No government is perfect, but I am ready on Day One to take a new course of direction for safety and affordability of Suffolk County.”
DAVE CALONE (D)
Dave Calone has served as both a federal and New York State prosecutor, where he prosecuted corporate fraud and terrorism and helped negotiate what was at the time the largest health care fraud recovery for taxpayers in state history.
He is currently a business leader who helps start and build technology companies on Long Island and around the country. Calone served as chair of the Suffolk County Planning Commission for eight years, where he spearheaded the creation of Suffolk County’s 2035 Comprehensive Master Plan. His work supporting renewable energy through unified solar permitting won Suffolk County a National Association of Counties Achievement Award.
He co-founded the Suffolk County Forward program, the county’s initiative to support local small businesses and workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and he served as chair of Suffolk County’s Superstorm Sandy Review Task Force.
Calone also created the Long Island Emerging Technologies Fund to help launch new companies based on innovations at Long Island’s research institutions, and was the founding National Board chair of Patriot Boot Camp, a not-for-profit that helps veterans, active-duty service members and military spouses to start small businesses.
Calone has received the endorsement of RWDSU/UFCW Local 338, Iron Workers Local 361, IBEW Local 1049, and the New York State Iron Workers District Council. Also endorsing Calone at the start of the campaign are Long Island leaders John Durso (president of RWDSU/UFCW Local 338), New York State assemblyman Steve Englebright, Suffolk County Legislature minority leader Jason Richberg, Suffolk County Legis. Kara Hahn, Southampton Town councilmember John Bouvier, and Brookhaven Town councilmember Jonathan Kornreich.
Calone lives in Setauket with his wife, a Presbyterian minister, and three children.
“I’m running for county executive to make sure that everyone benefits from the same kind of opportunities that I have enjoyed growing up and living in Suffolk County. I’m eager to get to work for the people of Suffolk, to enable everyone to have the chance to get a good-paying job, to protect our clean air and water, to help families afford to live here, and to create safe, thriving communities,” said Calone.
If elected, his top goals include:
Keeping Suffolk County safe. “I would be the first prosecutor ever to be county executive,” he said. “Keeping Suffolk County safe starts with making sure our law enforcement officials have the tools and technology they need. We need to make sure every school in Suffolk County has a safety plan and put that together with law enforcement.”
Creating jobs and supporting small businesses. “I also would be the first business person to ever be county executive, and that background allows me to have the insight needed to support our existing small businesses and create new small businesses,” he said.
Part of his plan for jobs, he added, is to create a small-business success center to help create successful new businesses and job growth.
Focusing on affordability. “I want to create a Suffolk County grant office to go after federal and state funding. There is over a trillion dollars in federal infrastructure money coming available in the next 10 years. The county needs a way to go get that funding,” he said.
Sewer projects. “The most obvious big project is for sewers and clean-water funding. I am a big proponent as the chair for the planning department. In that role, I lead the effort to fight for clean water and funding for clean water. It is terrible the county legislature voted down the opportunity for our voters to vote on a clean-water plan. I want it back on the ballot,” he said.
Lowering taxes. “We need to get away from this mentality here on Long Island of constantly raising taxes,” Calone said. “I am committed to freezing county general property taxes. The cost of living here is too high. As a business person, I have an eye how to make government more efficient.”
As for why he should be elected as the best person for the job, he said: “I have a different background as a prosecutor and a business leader for Suffolk County. I have a record of solving problems and I have also been involved in Suffolk County in significant ways.”