Sierra Club Endorsements
This is a reminder that the General Election is on Tuesday, November 2nd! The Sierra Club Long Island Group is proud to endorse many environmental leaders in this upcoming election.
The Sierra Club's grassroots volunteer activists considered candidates' records, reviewed responses to our questionnaire, and interviewed those willing to meet with us. Our list of those we have endorsed in Long Island races is below. If you'd like to get involved in one of the races in your area, reach out to the campaign today! Contacts for each campaign can be found here.
SIERRA CLUB LONG ISLAND CANDIDATES RECOMMENDED FOR ENDORSEMENT
Laura Curran (Dem.) – Nassau Co. Executive: Curran is serving her first term as the Nassau County Executive. Throughout this term, she has accorded environmental protection a high priority. The County recently initiated a program which provides grants of up to $10,000 to the owners of homes and small businesses to replace obsolete septic systems with state-of-the-art nitrogen reducing systems. In 2019, she signed a bill banning the use of polystyrene foam containers in the County, which are difficult to recycle and had been polluting County open space and waterways. During her administration, the County has invested heavily in public transit and has initiated a program to install publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations on County properties. In addition, Nassau County has joined New York’s Climate Smart Communities program, thereby committing to keep an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions to establish baseline and reduction goals for County government operations, decrease its energy usage, reduce solid waste generation, and promote the reuse and recycling of materials, and protect biodiversity and water quality throughout the County.
Debra Mulé (Dem.) – Nassau Co. Leg. Dist. 5: Mulé has served in the Nassau County Legislature since 2018. She states that environmental issues have been central to her agenda throughout her tenure, and she was recently named to the bi-county Regional Recycling Task Force, which focuses on devising and promoting waste reduction strategies. In order to reduce retailing waste, she has actively supported the imposition of a five-cent fee on each bag that County retailers provide to customers; a recently commenced project to redirect treated wastewater from the Bay Park Treatment Facility to the Cedar Creek Treatment Facility, which will significantly improve water quality in the Reynolds Channel; and legislation to protect environmentally sensitive lands within her district. If re-elected, among the environmental issues she will focus on is the creation of a district-wide composting program and establishing apiaries to restore the local honeybee population.
Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (Dem.) – Nassau Co. Leg. Dist. 11: DeRiggi-Whitton is serving her third term in the Nassau County Legislature. She has consistently advocated for investing resources to expand and modernize Nassau County’s sewer infrastructure and has helped to bring major sewer projects to several communities, including Glen Cove and Sea Cliff. She has also supported increased funding for an expansion of the County’s program to help the owners of properties not served by sewers to replace obsolete septic systems with state-of-the-art alternative wastewater treatment systems. In addition, she has worked to protect the beaches and other coastal areas within her district through the installation of EPA-approved water filtration systems and a program to strengthen natural seagrass populations, which help to filter pollutants and enhance shoreline resiliency.
Laura Schaefer (Rep.) – Nassau Co. Leg. Dist. 14: Schaefer has served in the Nassau County Legislature since 2014. She is presently Chair of the Legislature’s Planning, Development and Environmental Committee and, in that capacity, has sponsored and helped advance projects to promote sustainability, implement clean energy projects, restore Nassau County’s Western Bays, and protect and improve the County’s open spaces. Among the legislative initiatives that Schaefer has helped to enact are a law to facilitate strategic planning for environmental infrastructure projects, including solar power development and the introduction of a fleet of electric powered government vehicles and electric charging stations throughout the county; legislation authorizing a grant program administered by the Nassau County Soil and Water Conservation District to provide funding to replace obsolete septic systems with new, state-of-the-art nitrogen reducing systems; and a law requiring that designated parkland and other public open space be open and accessible to the public, including requiring enhancements to public parking areas and signage.
Joshua Lafazan (Dem.) – Nassau Co. Leg. Dist. 18: Lafazan has served in the Nassau County Legislature since 2018. He has been a strong proponent of various initiatives to reduce the amount of solid waste that is generated in Nassau County, protect the County’s water resources, and meet the challenges of climate change. He is working to enact code changes that will increase the energy efficiency of new buildings and streamline the permitting process for energy efficient upgrades to existing buildings. He is also working to increase the number of electric vehicles charging stations in the County. He supports “smart growth” development projects that will create livable and walkable downtown communities, including the Nassau HUB in Uniondale, as well as improvements to mass transit, including electrification of the Long Island Railroad’s Oyster Bay Line and electrification of transit vehicle fleets.
Joseph Saladino (Rep.) – Oyster Bay Town Supervisor: Saladino has served as the Oyster Bay Town Supervisor since 2017. He has worked to clean up a number of polluted industrial sites within the Town, including the former US Navy / Grumman research and manufacturing facilities in Bethpage, which have severely contaminated nearby soil and groundwater, the former Cerro Wire property in Syosset and the Commander Oil site in Oyster Bay. He has been instrumental in advancing a major project to transform downtown Hicksville into a sustainable, transit-oriented community and helped the project to obtain a $10 million award from New York State, which will be utilized for walkability and pedestrian safety enhancements, bicycle lanes and new housing opportunities within walking distance of Hicksville’s Long Island Railroad station. He has also worked to increase waste recycling within Oyster Bay. The Town recently issued a Request for Proposals for the construction of a state-of-the-art recycling facility, and it offers a number of recycling awareness and education programs. The Town has also recently expanded its hazardous waste and electronic waste collection programs.
Wayne Wink (Dem.) – North Hempstead Town Supervisor: Wink has been in public service for 20 years, previously serving on the North Hempstead Town Board and in the Nassau County Legislature. He currently serves as the North Hempstead Town Clerk. Wink strongly supports the aggressive climate change goals embodied in New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and he wants to make North Hempstead a leader in local adoption of renewable energy initiatives. He will seek to install solar energy arrays and electric vehicle charging stations on a number of Town properties, including its parking facilities. He has worked on the Town’s current initiative to replace many of its vehicles with electric vehicles and, if elected, he will seek to expand and accelerate this project. In addition, Wink supports the full electrification of the Long Island Rail Road’s Oyster Bay Line, which now uses polluting diesel equipment. With respect to water resources, Wink supports an aggressive program to connect additional Town properties to it sewer system and, for those properties that cannot be promptly connected, replacement of aging obsolete septic systems with state-of-the-art low nitrogen systems.
Donald Clavin (Rep.) – Hempstead Town Supervisor: Clavin is serving his first term as Hempstead Town Supervisor after having served 18 years as the Town’s Receiver of Taxes. As Town Supervisor, Clavin has overseen a number of environmental protection initiatives. The Town recently introduced Vision 2040, which calls for the Town to replace its entire vehicle fleet with clean-energy vehicles by the year 2040. As part of this initiative, the Town recently acquired and is now field testing an electric garbage truck, one of only several in existence, and it has also purchased fully electric vehicles for its Conservation and Waterways Department. Hempstead has established a monthly cleanup of the Town beaches in coordination with the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society and its efforts regarding beachfront plover management and habitat protection earned it the first ever “Share the Shore Award” from Audubon New York and Audubon Connecticut. With respect to the protection of its waterways, the Town has installed thousands of filters in its storm drains to keep non-point source pollutants out of local bays and waterways. It has acquired wetlands in Lido Beach that were threatened with development, and it has restored other wetlands.
Al Krupski (Dem.) – Suffolk Co. Leg. Dist. 1: Krupski has served in the Suffolk County Legislature since 2014 and currently chairs the Legislature’s Public Works, Transportation and Energy Committee. Last year, he led a successful fight to defeat proposed legislation which would have allowed Suffolk County to divert money from voter-approved farmland and open space preservation uses to the County’s general fund. Krupski and his staff have actively worked with the Long Island Commission for Aquifer Protection (LICAP), which advocates for a coordinated, regional approach to the management of Long Island’s groundwater in order to protect and preserve this precious resource. He is a member of the Suffolk County Coastal Resilience and Sea Level Rise Task Force, which develops policies and recommendations to assist the County and its municipalities in protecting coastlines from erosion and other damage associated with sea level rise. In addition, he introduced and secured passage of legislation requiring the County’s Department of Public Works to consider rising sea levels in connection with all roadwork projects.
Bridget Fleming (Dem.) – Suffolk Co. Leg. Dist. 2: Fleming has served in the Suffolk County Legislature since 2016. She is currently Vice Chair of the Legislature’s Public Works, Transportation and Energy Committee and chairs its Renewable Energy Task Force. In 2019, she introduced and obtained passage of legislation establishing a Community Choice Aggregation Task Force. The Task Force issued a report in 2020 which outlined the benefits of aggregating the buying power of energy customers on a municipal or County-wide basis in order to lower costs and provide opportunities to secure cost-effective alternative energy supply contracts. She and several colleagues in the Legislature worked closely with the Nature Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife to issue a 2021 Long Island Solar Roadmap, which identifies numerous sites on Long Island on which solar energy projects could be effectively deployed without negatively affecting the region’s natural areas or prime farmlands. In the Legislature, Fleming has also worked to secure funding for mass transit improvements and mitigate the impact of budget driven service cuts.
Kara Hahn (Dem.) – Suffolk Co. Leg. Dist. 5: Hahn has served in the Suffolk County Legislature since 2012. She currently serves as the Legislature’s Deputy Presiding Officer and Chairwoman of its Environmental, Parks and Agriculture Committee. Since entering the Legislature, Hahn has been a consistently strong advocate for environmental protection. During the past two years, she has sponsored legislation establishing the Suffolk County Regional Recycling Assessment Task Force, which is exploring region-wide approaches to waste recycling; established the Pollinator Pathway Task Force, which is seeking to create pollinator gardens throughout the county; created a pilot program for beach cleanup stations in partnership with the non-profit Relic Sustainability; and worked with the County Parks Department to encourage residents to “adopt” and help maintain unstaffed county parks, increase park accessibility and usage by installing additional trails and parking facilities, and obtain funding for the North Shore Rail Trail, a 10-mile recreation path now being constructed on former Long Island Rail Road right-of-way.
Sarah Anker (Dem.) – Suffolk Co. Leg. Dist. 6: Anker has served in the Suffolk County Legislature since 2011. She chairs several committees and is a member of the Environment, Planning and Agriculture Committee. In 2015 Anker formed the North Shore Coastal Erosion Task Force. The task force is engaged in a detailed study of present and future trends in coastal erosion along Long Island’s north shore and the development of a comprehensive coastal wetland restoration and conservation plan. She has sponsored legislation to partner with the Town of Brookhaven to establish a single stream waste recycling program and legislation prohibiting the intentional release of helium balloons within the County, which were a significant source of pollution and harm to sea life. She has supported a number of resolutions to facilitate the County’s purchase of open space for public recreation and the protection of environmentally sensitive parcels and preserve agricultural lands through the purchase of their development rights.
Susan Berland (Dem.) – Suffolk Co. Leg. Dist. 16: Berland has been a member of the Suffolk County Legislature since 2018 and presently serves as its majority leader. Before entering the Legislature, she served for 16 years on the Huntington Town Board. In order to protect our water resources, she has vigorously supported the construction of new sewer systems throughout Suffolk County and, for areas not served by sewers, the creation and expansion of the grant program for the replacement of obsolete septic and cesspool systems with advanced low-nitrogen septic systems. Recently, she sponsored a county pilot program for kayak and canoe storage racks at six County parks in order to encourage the use and appreciation of our waterways. As a member of the Legislature’s Public Works Committee, Berland has supported the purchase of hybrid-electric buses for the County’s transit system and funding to make County facilities more energy efficient. She has also supported a number of improvements to County parks, including wastewater upgrades for golf courses, campground improvements and the removal of toxic and hazardous materials from park facilities.
Peter Van Scoyoc (Dem.) – East Hampton Town Supervisor: Van Scoyoc has served as East Hampton Town Supervisor since 2018, after serving two terms on the East Hampton Town Board. While serving as Town Supervisor, he has been a strong environmental advocate. He recently helped the Town reach an agreement with Orsted / Eversource to grant easements permitting the transmission cable landing for the New York State’s first offshore wind farm. He oversaw the Town’s approval for the installation of dozens of public electric vehicles charging stations and the Town’s expansion of its own electric vehicle fleet. He also oversaw completion of two utility scale battery storage facilities, which will help to meet peak energy demand for thousands of homes. With respect to protection of water resources, Van Scoyoc has overseen a number of projects that reduce storm water runoff using rain gardens, bioswales and constructed wetlands and helped initiate an oyster gardening program with over 100 residents participating. In addition, he recently negotiated an agreement for the Town’s purchase and protection of 32 acres of prime farmland in Amagansett.
Robert Calarco (Dem.) – Suffolk Co. Leg. Dist. 7: Calarco has served in the Suffolk County Legislature since 2012 and is currently the Legislature’s Presiding Officer. He oversaw a multi-year project to clean up Canaan Lake in North Patchogue, which involved draining the lake and removing invasive plants and other contaminants. The project was successfully completed earlier this year. In order to protect Suffolk County’s water resources, he has actively supported a very significant expansion of the County’s sewer system, which is ongoing and has already allowed thousands of additional homes to connect to sewers. He is also working to increase funding for the grant program that enables properties not served by sewers to install advanced low-nitrogen septic systems. Calarco helped to secure State and County funding for a remediation of the brownfield site previously occupied by the Blue Point Laundry. The remediation is complete, and he is working with the Town of Brookhaven to convert the site to a hamlet park with active recreation for children.
Mark Cuthbertson (Dem.) – Suffolk Co. Leg. Dist. 18: Cuthbertson has served on the Huntington Town Board for 24 years and during his Board tenure has made environmental protection, including energy conservation and renewable energy initiatives, a top priority. He spearheaded a plan to create a microgrid to provide reliable power to a number of essential Town facilities, including Town Hall, Huntington Hospital, and its wastewater treatment plant. He was also instrumental in having the Town participate in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Building initiative, which assists municipalities in improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse emissions, and in the Town’s 2015 adoption of a Climate Action Plan, which made Huntington the first municipality on Long Island to adopt a CAP. Recently, he helped the Town obtain a grant from the State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) which was used to install a 12kW solar energy system and five electric vehicle charging stations at the Town’s Long Island Railroad South Parking Garage. Cuthbertson has received recognition for his longstanding work supporting sustainable development projects, including a large residential development near Huntington’s Long Island Railroad station.
Timothy Sini (Dem.) – Suffolk Co. District Attorney: Since taking office as the Suffolk County District Attorney in 2018, Sini has acted aggressively to protect the environment and pursue environmental justice. Upon assuming office, he created a multidisciplinary Environmental Crime Team, which focuses on investigating and prosecuting crimes that harm the County’s environment, and his office empaneled a Special Grand Jury to investigate environmental crimes. This resulted in the largest illegal dumping prosecution in New York State history, a 130-count indictment against 30 individuals and 9 companies for illegally dumping hazardous substances on numerous properties throughout Suffolk County. All of the defendants pleaded guilty to the charges and the District Attorney’s office seized and forfeited approximately one million dollars in criminal assets, which were used to clean up and remediate the dump sites. Sini’s office thereafter recommended to the State Legislature that a series of amendments be made to the Penal Law to make illegal dumping a felony and increase the associated penalties. This legislation was passed and signed into law in 2020. Sini’s office has also focused on the detection and prosecution of the illegal disposal of liquid waste, which poses a significant threat to the County’s waterways and aquifer. His office is now partnering with the Suffolk County Water Authority to share intelligence and use a variety of scientific tools regarding aquifer contamination, including testing wells and pollution mapping.
Rebecca Sanin (Dem.) – Huntington Town Supervisor: Sanin is presently President and CEO of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, a nonprofit health and human services planning, education, and advocacy organization. She previously worked as an assistant to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and played a leading role in the County’s Superstorm Sandy relief and recovery effort. Protection of Huntington’s water resources is one of her main priorities. She wants to undertake a comprehensive study of the origins of the bacteria that affect water quality and contribute to frequent closures of the Town’s beaches in order to better address these issues. She also supports the dredging and cleanup of Northport Harbor, which has been polluted from a number of sources, including extensive stormwater runoff. Sanin wants to expand and improve the Town’s HART bus system and increase the number of electric vehicles charging stations installed on Town property. With respect to solid waste, she is committed to taking a number of steps to increase the amount of waste that is recycled and reducing the volume and types of single use plastic that enter the Town’s waste stream and foul its public spaces.
Rich Schaffer (Dem.) – Babylon Town Supervisor: Schaffer has served two stints as Babylon Town Supervisor, with the current stint commencing in 2011. During his tenure, Babylon has undertaken a number of environmental protection initiatives. The Town completed a $14 million sewer project which provided sewer access for the first time to a large area located in the Carlls River watershed and annually eliminates over 11,000 pounds of nitrogen discharge into ground and surface waters. Schaffer strongly supports the goals of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, and the Town has taken a number of steps to help the State achieve those goals. Through its award-winning Long Island Green Homes program, which assists residents in retrofitting their homes with energy efficient improvements, over 2,000 Babylon homes have received funding for and implemented improvements which substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions while saving residents money on their utility bills. The town has also implemented measures to simplify the local process for the installation of rooftop solar energy equipment on homes and commercial buildings. In addition, Babylon was one of the first towns on Long Island to implement a large-scale program of installing electric vehicle charging stations on municipal properties and it is continuing to expand and modernize its EV charging network.
Catherine Kent (Dem.) – Riverhead Town Supervisor: Kent has served on the Riverhead Town Board since 2018 following a 31-year career teaching in Riverhead schools. As a Town Councilperson she formed the first Riverhead Town Environmental Advisory Committee, which is made up of community members with expertise on various environmental topics and serves as a resource for conservation and environmental stewardship by the Town and its residents. The Committee helped to establish Riverhead as a Climate Smart Community through the State Climate Smart Community program. Kent also led the Town to form a partnership with the nonprofit organization Peconic Green Growth, which has worked with the Riverhead School District on a water conservation program, supplying water sensors to the school district to save water on irrigation and installing a rain garden at a local elementary school. In addition, she formed the Riverhead Downtown Revitalization Committee, which produced a downtown master plan with a number of recommendations for sustainability, particularly in connection with the flooding that frequently occurs in the downtown area along the Peconic River. With respect to clean energy, she has helped to make Riverhead a regional leader in the production of solar energy. When projects now in development are complete, the Town will have over 660 acres of solar facilities.
Jorge Guadron (Dem.) – Islip Town Board: Guadron owns a marketing company and serves as President of the Islip-based Salvadoran American Chamber of Commerce. He is seeking to represent and give a voice to several Islip communities – Brentwood, Central Islip, and North Bay Shore – that have been historically neglected and have received a disproportionate share of polluting facilities and activities. He is presently working to prevent a waste transfer station from being constructed on a site that is located in the heart of Brentwood and is surrounded by residential neighborhoods. He is also working to bring major improvements to Brentwood’s Roberto Clement Park, where construction contractors, waste brokers and waste haulers had illegally dumped contaminated construction waste for a number of years. If elected to the Town Board, he will work to ensure that contractors guilty of illegal dumping and other unscrupulous activities be prevented from participating in the Town’s municipal procurement process. Guadron strongly supports smart, sustainable development and the preservation of open space. He has worked to ensure that the proposed Heartland Town Square project in Brentwood is developed in a way that is sustainable and beneficial to the entire community. He will also work to ensure that Knoll Farm, a Brentwood equestrian facility, is not redeveloped with intensive uses.
Kathee Burke-Gonzalez (Dem.) – East Hampton Town Board: Burke-Gonzalez has served on the East Hampton Town Board since 2014. With her active support, the Town has adopted a Comprehensive Energy Vision with a goal of satisfying all of the Town’s electricity demand with renewable energy. In furtherance of that goal, she worked to grant the required Town approvals for the South Fork Wind offshore wind farm and to overcome the opposition of some residents to the project’s underground transmission line that will be located in the Town. She has been involved in a number of initiatives to protect and improve the Town’s water resources, including the completion and adoption of a Town-wide Waste Water Management Plan, the creation of a Water Quality Technical Advisory Committee to review and recommend water quality improvement projects, the mandating of low nitrogen sanitary systems for all new building construction and substantial reconstruction, and the Town’s acquisition of hundreds of acres of property to protect critical groundwater recharge lands and fragile shoreline areas.
Juan Micieli-Martinez (Dem.) – Riverhead Town Board: Micieli-Martinez is a winemaker who has worked in Long Island’s wine industry for many years. During this period, he has worked closely with the Cornell Craft Beverage Institute and has been a leader on the Long Island Farm Bureau in an effort to support and strengthen this industry which is so vital to the economy of Long Island’s East End. While working in a local winery he implemented Long Island’s first tasting room draft system for dispensing wine directly from kegs, which eliminated much of the single use waste generated at the facility. More recently at another winery, he oversaw the installation and operation of the nation’s first Biogill onsite wastewater treatment system, which significantly reduced the soluble biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) in the winery’s wastewater. Micieli-Martinez wants to work to preserve Riverhead’s rural character and agricultural economy and protect the town’s precious water resources. He wants the Town to adopt land use policies that encourage new development in downtown areas and tightly regulate development along the Town’s shorelines, which have suffered from erosion and flooding.
Susan McGraw-Keber (Dem.) – East Hampton Town Trustee: McGraw-Keber is serving her first term on the Town Trustees, who are responsible for managing many of the Town’s beaches, waterways, and bottom lands on behalf of the public. She strongly supports East Hampton’s goal of generating all of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. She was actively involved in the process which culminated earlier this year with the Town Trustees and the Town Board entering into a Community Host Agreement with Orsted / Eversource to allow a transmission line of the South Fork Wind offshore wind project to run under Town land. With her strong support, the Trustees have implemented a number of recent measures to protect the Town’s water resources, including an expansion of Sag Harbor’s water quality monitoring program, upgrades to the water quality improvement programs for Georgica Pond and Wainscott Pond and an expansion of the Town’s popular oyster gardening program. In addition, she spearheaded the Town’s adoption of a ban on the intentional release of balloons, which had been polluting the Town’s environment and injuring wildlife.