The Suffolk County Republican Committee has selected Riverhead resident Remy Bell to oppose incumbent Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue).
Mr. Bell, 59, is currently an election clerk at the Suffolk County Board of Elections and a longtime member of the Polish Town Civic Association.
He’s also the chair of Riverhead Town’s Handicapped Advisory Committee and the financial secretary of the Riverhead Polish Hall.
“I’ve been a Riverhead resident for more than 30 years,” he said Monday outside the Portuguese American Center of Suffolk in Farmingville, where the Suffolk County Republicans held their nominating convention.
“I think are many issues on the North Fork that have to be addressed,” Mr. Bell said in an interview. “And I think that the environment is the number one issue. We also have to look at bringing better paying jobs to the North Fork and the entire legislative district so young people can stay here and afford to live here.”
The district covers all of Southold and Riverhead towns, as well as a portion of eastern Brookhaven Town.
Mr. Bell owned Alfred’s Meat Market in Polish Town from 1983 to 1987 and Bell’s Food Market in Hampton Bays form 1979 to 1984.
This is not his first run for elected office.
In 1985, he was the Democratic candidate for the Suffolk County Legislature, opposing incumbent Republican Greg Blass of Jamesport. Then in 1986, he was the Democratic candidate for state assembly, opposing incumbent Republican Joe Sawicki of Southold.
He lost both races.
Why the party switch?
“I was originally a Republican and I switched to Democrat, but I found out that my views were more in line with Republicans, so I went back the Republican party, where I belong,” he said. “I’ve been a Republican for the last 29 years now.”
The incumbent, Mr. Krupski, a former Southold Town Councilman, is seeking a third term in the Legislature.
In Jan. 2013, he defeated Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter during a special election by a 7,152 to 3,447 vote to win the seat, which had been vacated by Republican Ed Romaine.
In Nov. 2013, Mr. Krupski faced Republican candidate Albie de Kerillis of East Marion and won by a 15,514 to 5,022 margin.
Mr. de Kerillis is running for Southold Town Board on the Democratic line this year.
As for this year’s Legislature race, Mr. Bell described Mr. Krupski as “a nice guy and a good businessman on the North Fork.”
“I don’t think that he can donate the time to the job that he needs to,” Mr. Bell added. “His business obligations have taken a lot of his time.”
Mr. Krupski, who is a farmer, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mr. Bell wasn’t the only Riverhead resident to be nominated by county Republicans Monday.
George Harkin of Baiting Hollow was nominated to run for a Family Court judge. He is currently a principal law clerk for New York State Supreme Court Justice David Reilly and has worked as a principal law clerk in the state attorney general’s office, as well as the state court of claims, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office and has had his own private practice.
He’s also been involved in coaching youth sports for many years.
“I’ve always wanted to be a judge,” Mr. Harkin said.
He is one of two Republicans opposing incumbent Democrats Marlene Budd and Martha Luft.