For much of her adult life, supervisor Angie M. Carpenter has been a caretaker and a trailblazer on all fronts.
The first female supervisor in over 300 years of history for the Town of Islip, Carpenter brings a nuanced perspective of feminine care to the position that has been instrumental in developing longstanding programs to help others with their children and family.
As a young mother, Carpenter had her own business in printing and graphic design (which explains the talent behind the tastefully drafted “Angie” signature lawn signs of her 2019 re-election campaign for supervisor) and was heavily involved in her town’s local chamber of commerce as well as the PTA.
“My parents weren’t able to participate in school affairs and I was determined to be different for my children,” said Carpenter, “so when my second child was born, I called the school and inquired about how active the PTA was.”
Even before getting involved in politics (Carpenter had a long tenure in the legislature before becoming supervisor), Carpenter answered the call of public duty when town officials looked to her to establish youth services.
Reaching out to contacts she had made through her dedication through the chamber and PTA, Carpenter was able to establish Youth Enrichment Services (YES) in West Islip and eventually turned it into a town-wide program.
Thirty-five years later, the program is still running and provides students with activities in the summer and school breaks.
Another program established by Carpenter, pre-supervisor days, was Ask Us (After-school Kids Under Supervision) that, pre-COVID, provided extended before-school and after-school care for working parents.
“Even now, I see my son and daughter-in-law scrambling for care programs for my 7-year-old grandson,” said Carpenter. “I worked a series of jobs to be sure to be home with my kids, but that’s not necessarily an option anymore.”
From the PTA to Cub Scouts to selling hot dogs at the concession stand at the baseball fields, Carpenter has been the kind of mom that relishes the opportunity to be involved.
When tasked with restarting the Republican Women’s group, Carpenter said, “The timing was right. My sons were grown and I wanted to empower women.”
When Rick Lazio left a vacancy in the Suffolk County Legislature in 1992, Carpenter ran and won by only 30 votes. As it was a special election, she had to run for her seat again that November and in the short span of time, managed to win her second election with 64 percent of the vote.
During her 13 years as legislator, Carpenter had a particular fondness and devotion to youth-targeted legislation and awareness campaigns.
“We had drug abuse awareness programs,” said Carpenter. “In working with parents in the community, we learned that a big problem was just erasing the stigma and getting people to admit there was a problem in the first place. Once we had that acceptance, we could work on tackling the bigger issue.”
Carpenter tells of late nights reviewing the county budget line by line to maximize community expenditures and minimize wasteful spending. This led to her taking over a vacancy opened in 2005 for county treasurer.
“I decided to throw my hat in the ring,” said Carpenter. “The position was more administrative than community-oriented, though. But it was a good learning experience for my future work in bringing projects and funding to my constituents.”
In the fall of 2014, when Tom Croci left as supervisor for the state Senate, Carpenter again accepted the challenge to run in a special election in March, knowing she’d have to run again in November, similar to her first term as legislator.
“I had a deep care and respect about the town and the issues affecting us,” said Carpenter. With a lengthy list of accomplishments, Carpenter counts the myriad of parks taken over and/or improved by the town under her leadership as a special endeavor for providing families with the Islip of pastoral lore.
During the pandemic, Carpenter worked to push her team to accommodate local business owners with free-of-charge outdoor permits, often turning applications in less than a day. “We made sure to allow that process to start early this year so that businesses could at least feel assured they would be able to get through the summer,” said Carpenter.
With senior centers being closed, Carpenter increased meal delivery and even made exercise DVDs to mail to seniors to keep up with their exercise (a DVD made by the town titled “Get Fit With Nick” proved incredibly popular, especially with the senior women, and was broadcast on the town’s local channel).
Feeling like a “Chief Mom” in many senses, Carpenter said it is a role she is “happy to fulfill.”