Election 2017

Election 2017: Riverhead Town Supervisor candidates

Town Supervisor

Two-year term
Salary: $115,148

Laura Jens-Smith

Hamlet: Laurel

Occupation: Registered nurse

Party lines: Democrat, Independence, Working Families, and Women’s Equality Party

About her: Laura Jens-Smith, 54, lives in Riverhead with her husband, Robert, and their two children. She has served on numerous community boards including the Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education.

Ms. Jens-Smith was raised in Port Jefferson Station and received her associate degree at Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing and her bachelor’s degree from Pace University.

Her pitch: Ms. Jens-Smith has argued that the promises of a revitalized downtown, fixed finances and development at EPCAL have not come to fruition. She said the CEO of Luminati Aerospace, the company seeking to purchase the EPCAL land, had previously been fired for fraud. She said the supervisor has added residential housing to the zoning at EPCAL. Having reviewed the supervisor’s financial policy, Moody’s has reaffirmed the town’s downgraded credit rating, she said. She’s also spoken against the IDA, which she said has given away millions in tax breaks.

In her words: “I believe it is time for new leadership that will be transparent and responsive. I will bring fresh, creative ideas, a full-time commitment and the motivation to get the job done.”

Sean Walter

Hamlet: Wading River

Occupation: Supervisor, attorney

Party lines: Conservative, Republican

About him: Mr. Walter, 51, has been Riverhead town supervisor since 2010, and was deputy town attorney from 2000 to 2006, assisting the town attorney in all phases of litigation, and managing the town’s farmland and open space program.

Mr. Walter began his career in Brookhaven Town’s waste management department, and in 1992, was hired as the environmental manager for the 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach. In 2006, he started a law practice in Wading River, dealing in land-use issues, as well as real estate, estates and litigation.

Mr. Walter has lived in Wading River since 1992 with his wife, Cathleen, and their three children.

His pitch: Mr. Walter said the development of downtown Riverhead, representing $80 million total investments, has made the town a destination. He said there are “exciting things’ happening at the Enterprise Park at Calverton as negotiations continue with two companies to purchase the remaining available land and bring back tech jobs. He cited stable tax rates and turning around a 12 percent budget deficit in six years as accomplishments.

In his words: “Don’t believe the rhetoric, believe what you see. If you are excited about what has been going on in this town and all that has been accomplished over the past eight years would you please consider voting for Sean Walter for supervisor.”