Suffolk County Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches) has announced he will seek the Republican nomination for Brookhaven Town supervisor, which will be left vacant by resigning Supervisor Mark Lesko this fall.
Mr. Romaine, now serving his fourth consecutive term as a legislator, said he was approached by Republican leadership to run for the office.
“This is something I thought long and hard over,” he said. “But then I said, hey, that will make this race very interesting because even if I lose I come back to the job I love.”
Brookhaven’s supervisor seat will be left open this September. Town Supervisor Mark Lesko announced his resignation earlier this month to lead Accelerate Long Island, a nonprofit organization. Mr. Lesko helped found the group, which seeks to make Long Island more appealing to tech startup companies
Mr. Lesko’s resignation comes just before a difficult financial season for the town, which faces a multi-million dollar budget crisis. His resignation takes effect next month, and his position will be filled during a special election this November.
Mr. Romaine, a longtime Center Moriches resident, was a teacher before serving in Brookhaven’s housing and community development department in the 1980s.
From 1986 to 1989, Mr. Romaine served as a county legislator and was later elected to Suffolk County Clerk, where he served until 2005.
That year, he was again elected to the Suffolk County Legislature and currently serves the First Legislative District, which reaches from eastern Brookhaven along the North Fork, including Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island town.
Mr. Romaine said that the “challenge” of balancing Brookhaven Town’s budget appeals to him, adding he would work to trim the excesses in town spending while keeping vital services intact.
“We will ‘Reinvent Brookhaven’ by streaming government, by making it more responsive to its residents, by working to resolve quality of life issues, by making our town a better place to create jobs, and by preserving our environment,” he said in a statement.
Mr. Romaine said the town “cannot spend monies [it doesn't] have,” but added that he would not seek to layoff town jobs to fix Brookhaven’s fiscal problems if elected. Mr. Romaine also stressed the importance of keeping the environment safe while letting each of the town’s 44 hamlets “be heard.”
Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter, a fellow Republican, said he was “really excited” by the news.
“I was sorry to see Mark Lesko go,” he said. “Those are big shoes to fill and I think Ed Romaine can definitely fill them…I think it’s wonderful.”
Mr. Walter said Mr. Romaine’s skills would be better used by serving as a town supervisor, adding that he would encourage the county’s Republican Committee to choose Mr. Romaine as the nominee.
“It’s a no-brainer,” Mr. Walter said.