Ed Romaine elected Suffolk County executive; Republicans gain seat in Suffolk Legislature
After over a decade with County Executive Steve Bellone in the top spot, many Suffolk residents said they are embracing change following Election Day 2023.
Islip resident Kevin Barbaur said, "I'm open to anyone who has the people's hearts in front of their agendas."
The Suffolk County GOP had several big wins. In his victory speech, Ed Romaine said the county was painted red.
Romaine won the Suffolk County executive race in a landslide with 57% of the vote.
Romaine said it’s time to put partisan politics aside and vowed to work with every member of the Republican-led Suffolk County Legislature.
Romaine told News 12 he plans on what he calls a “common-sense” agenda when he enters office in January. The current Brookhaven Town supervisor is the first Republican elected as county executive in more than 20 years. Among his priorities: focusing on public safety, asking for a fiscal audit of the county and taking a close look at CPS and the agency’s staffing levels following the death of 8-year-old Thomas Valva.
He criticized the current budget, which he said taxes people for positions left unfilled, including dozens of detective positions. He said he will take a careful look at that to make sure law enforcement has all the tools needed “to keep us safe.”
Republicans had made up the majority of the Legislature already. By clenching the only vacant seat, they now have 12 seats to the Democrats six, giving the GOP a supermajority.
"As your County Executive elect I intend to bring all of Suffolk together for common sense of agenda that moves us forward, that keeps our taxes low, that keeps us affordable, that makes sure that we're safer, that our law enforcement has the tools they need to do the job," Romaine said.
Suffolk County resident Jerry Friedman said he liked the idea of unity.
"I'm old enough to remember when people couldn't get housing because of the way they looked, and I'd like to see that ease up even more and not be afraid of their neighbor in many ways," said Friedman.