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Smithtown
Saturday, May 25, 2024

Endorsements: Kennedy, Puleo, Surdi and Rodriguez

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The Messenger Endorses John M. Kennedy Jr.

John M Kennedy Jr., Suffolk County Comtrpoller

 In the race for Suffolk Comptroller, The Messenger endorses incumbent John M. Kennedy Jr. in his bid for his third and final term. Despite the administrative nature of the job, Kennedy has saved the county millions of dollars, safeguarding taxpayer interests.

 Through the refinancing of Suffolk’s debt, Kennedy has saved $52 million in interest payments alone, an impressive feat. In conjunction with his auditing staff, $5 million in disallowances were discovered and rectified. Functions handled by his office were streamlined through the creation of online portals to pay delinquent taxes and to receive proof of residency for those applying to Suffolk County Community College.

Kennedy has been able to deliver big for Suffolk by advocating for his office under Democratic and Republican-led legislative majorities. From the time he was first elected in 2014, his auditing staff has grown to 34 from 19.

His experience in government cannot be downplayed, having worked in the County Clerk’s and County Executive’s offices and as an elected legislator for ten years. With government experience spanning several decades, it is no wonder that Democrat Thomas Dolan has not been running an active campaign. You would be hard-pressed to find someone with the level of technical knowledge of Suffolk County processes as Kennedy.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve another term,” said Kennedy. “There is still a lot of work to do.”

The Messenger Endorses Vincent Puleo

VinnypuleoLong
Vincent Puleo, Town of Smithtown Clerk

The race for County Clerk might be confusing for the casual observer, especially after the contentious primary election that had the zeal of a general election. However, the race goes on, and The Messenger endorses Vincent Puleo for the position.

Puleo has 16 years of experience as the Town of Smithtown Clerk, in addition to his experience as a business owner and 40- year membership in the Nesconset Fire Department. During his tenure in Smithtown, he has streamlined government function, utilizing new technologies to help the taxpayer. We look forward to him applying the same level of dedication to this new endeavor, working in tandem with fellow elected officials to make county processes as seamless and streamlined as possible.

The Messenger Endorses Kevin Surdi

Kevin Surdi

While we must give credit to incumbent Phil Ramos, where credit is due in his acquisition of state funds for various projects in the district, The Messenger instead endorses challenger Kevin Surdi.

While some may view it as a bold decision to endorse a political newcomer over a 20- year incumbent, we happily disagree. An office is not an inheritance, nor should it be held with no expectation that a challenger may arise and claim it. Surdi has, in spite of the odds, run an active campaign reaching out to every hamlet in the district.

Surdi’s background as a nurse is aptly suited for the day. Likewise, his campaign has centered on high-importance issues for the area, such as rising crime, rising inflation, and healthcare. Through his professional background, Surdi is acutely aware of mental health issues and drug addiction issues that need to be remedied.

The Messenger Endorses Wendy Rodriguez

State Senate | Wendy Rodriguez | New York
Wendy Rodriguez

For the newly constructed, open 4th Senate District, The Messenger endorses political newcomer Wendy Rodriguez over former Senator Monica Martinez. Martinez was handily defeated by Senator Alexis Weik (who was redistricted elsewhere) due to votes she took on so-called ‘bail reform,’ the repeal of section 50-a, and other votes against law enforcement. Martinez failed to hold up to pressure from her progressive colleagues in the city, and it stands to reason that, if re-elected, she will return to her feeble posture of promoting the interests of New York City over her constituents.

Rodriguez represents a wonderful alternative and has expressed a willingness to familiarize herself with the behemoth that is Albany. And, while doing so, she would bring her 20-plus years of business experience, and remain cognizant of the needs of her constituency.

Through Rodriguez, our region would gain a member to a dedicated voting bloc pushing Long Island interests. Through Martinez, New York City will gain yet another seat in the State Senate.

The Editorial Board
The Editorial Boardhttps://www.messengerpapers.com
The Messenger Papers Editorial Board aspires to represent a fair cross section of our Suffolk County readers. We work to present a moderate view on issues facing Long Island families and businesses.