In the race for Riverhead Town Justice, it’s impossible to cast a bad vote. Lori Hulse and Jeanmarie Costello are both experienced attorneys who are qualified for the spot on the bench left open by Justice Richard Ehlers, who chose not to seek an eighth term.
Both candidates would consider adding night court sessions, if the town were to approve the expanded hours and expenses, which would help clear frequent backlogs. Both candidates have a history of town volunteerism and have shown dedication to making Riverhead a better place. Both have also said that, if needed, they would pursue serving in East End Drug Court, an alternative rehabilitation program for some drug offenders.
We believe Ms. Hulse’s background makes her a better candidate. Her work as an assistant town attorney in Southold the past 12 years gives her valuable experience in municipal law. Her time as a prosecutor in the Suffolk and Kings county district attorney’s offices also helps set her apart.
Perhaps most important, Ms. Hulse’s promise to drop her private practice if elected demonstrates a dedication to the bench that is hard to match. Ms. Costello promises to give 100 percent of her time to the weeks she is on the bench, and we have no reason to believe she would not be fair and just during those weeks. But safety issues at the court led to a lawsuit this year and progress in finding the court a new home has lagged for years. This needs to be done.
A justice working week in and week out to lobby the Town Board for improved court conditions could be a real benefit for Riverhead residents — and Ms. Hulse has the qualifications to make it happen.
The News-Review endorses Lori Hulse for town justice.