Ed Romaine and David Calone face off in race for Suffolk County executive
One of the most closely watched races this Election Day is for Suffolk County executive.
Republican Ed Romaine and Democrat David Calone are running to replace Steve Bellone who reached his term limit after 12 years.
News cameras were there as Calone cast his vote alongside his wife, Kate, and 12-year-old daughter Meg at Setauket Elementary School. He also has two other children. Meantime, Romaine voted at Clayton Huey Elementary School with his wife, Diane.
Reporters break down the candidates and their priorities and plans for the county.
Calone, a former federal and state prosecutor, and CEO of a private equity firm, faces off against Romaine, Brookhaven’s longtime town supervisor, for the open Suffolk County executive seat.
“I’m feeling great,” Romaine said. “I’m very happy that the campaign is finally coming to an end.”
If Romaine is elected, Republicans could take control of all major seats on Long Island, occupying both county executive seats, both district attorneys’ offices, comptrollers’ offices, and all four congressional seats. But Calone says not without a fight.
“This is their opportunity to elect someone with a different background in county executive before,” Calone said.
Chantee Lans joined both candidates in their final hours of campaigning to ask about the issues that Suffolk County residents care about the most, like taxes.
“Most counties don’t tax your electric bill. We do,” Romaine said. “We tax your propane bill. We tax your natural gas bill. We tax the home heating fuel. I think that’s a regressive tax. I’d like to see if we can move away from doing that.”
“I propose that we cut general fund county property taxes by 10% at least,” Calone said. “I believe as a business person to be able to look at the budget for the first time with that private sector experience, which we never had as county executive before, is a real opportunity to look at how do we make our government more efficient.”
The candidates also spoke about affordable housing.
“It starts with making sure that our jobs, that we have good paying jobs,” Calone said. “A good paying job solves a lot of problems, and we need to make sure we’re creating the next generation of jobs.”
“I talked about taking county properties that we take to taxes and giving them back to not-for-profits like Habitat for Humanity and Long Island housing services,” Romaine said.
They both agree on how to handle the influx of migrants.
“We see what it’s doing in New York City,” Romaine said. “It’s breaking the back of the city, according to Mayor Adams. We don’t need that.”
“I’ve been very clear that Suffolk County is not a sanctuary county under Steve Bellone’s, our current county executive, and it won’t be under my leadership.”
The winner will replace Bellone, who is term-limited after 12 years.
The job carries a 4-year term with a salary of about $240,000.