5th District Council
I have been a resident of Patchogue Village for the last 17 years. I am a parent to two college students - one who lives with an autoimmune disorder, one on the autism spectrum. I have 10 years of experience as a credentialed family peer advocate and parent educator in the Suffolk County children's mental health system where I facilitated support groups, partnered with parents at committee on special education meetings, and lead parent education programs like Active Parenting and NAMI Basics.
While working and caring for my family, I also acted as a health proxy and caregiver to both of my parents at the ends of their lives, navigating the medical and hospice systems in order to support them.
I hold a degree in English and Written Communications from University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA and also earned the Family Peer Advocate credential from Families Together New York State, Nassau-Suffolk Office of Children’s Mental Health, and Columbia University. I have been married for 28 years, including ten as a military spouse in the US Navy.
I am running for Town Council because I want to ensure that a mix of housing options exists and remains accessible across the lifespan in Suffolk County. Young adults already saddled with debt are either priced out of our market or are relegated to grim basement apartments. At the other end of the spectrum, seniors who have helped create the communities they live in struggle to stay in their homes on fixed incomes but have limited options for down-sizing affordably. LEED-Certified Golden Age Zoned communities and work force hubs of mixed-use development can be part of a Green New Deal for Long Island that will diversify our housing market, provide the ridership density necessary to make our county bus system viable, and meet the financial realities of our grown children and seniors so that Long Island families can be there to enjoy and support each other.
I also would work to ensure that Town Government explores new solutions to quality-of-life issues like our malodorous town dump, including better air monitoring, a call-in number for complaints, and necessary upgrades to the landfill so that off-gasing into the community is better controlled. On the subject of waste disposal and waste management, I further believe that Brookhaven needs to create a solid waste task force in order to address issues like the loss of our glass recycling program and the imminent closure of our town dump. This task force could also provide educational programming to the community so that families can participate in carbon-footprint-reducing activities like composting and also become better-educated consumers.
Finally, it is vitally important to both our health and our financial well-being that we protect our drinking water, our bays and our water ways. We need to replace our aging, nitrogen-leaching septic systems so that the bays we swim and fish in run clear and our drinking water remains healthy. Sewering is one option but it is also the most expensive and should probably be focused on areas planned for higher-density development. Nitrogen-exchange septic systems are likely a better solution for much of the town, and it will be incumbent upon town officials to seek out all grants and abatements and partner with all clean water coalitions so that cost here is contained.
Families are the core unit in our culture. At an institutional level, we expect family to provide the greatest amount of support when medical or personal issues arise. If that is the case, responsive town government should create systems and policies that support families and help them to stay together. I am a 'families first!' candidate for Town Council District 5 that will strive to protect the health and interests of all town residents.