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Five fighting for Huntington Town supervisor's position

Primaries for three parties coming next week

Harry Acker. File photo
September 05, 2013 | 09:33 AM
Huntington Town residents registered to vote with Republican, Independence and Working Families parties will get the chance to cast ballots in a primary election on Tuesday for various candidates vying for Huntington Town supervisor.

On the Republican line, Independence Party member and incumbent Councilman Gene Cook is facing off against former Huntington Republican Committee Chairman Bob Lifson. Cook is also in a contest with town Senior Harbormaster Harry Acker for the Independence Party line. Cook is running unopposed on the Conservative Party line.

Gene Cook. File photo
Also, Huntington Station resident Valerie Stringfellow is looking to snatch the Working Families Party line from longtime incumbent Democratic Supervisor Frank Petrone in next week's primary election. Her husband, Rich Hall, is also locked in a Working Families Party primary election with Democratic Town Board candidates Tracey Edwards and incumbent Councilman Mark Cuthbertson. Petrone is also running unopposed on the Democratic and Stop the LIPA Tax Hike lines.

Cook and Petrone didn't return calls or requests seeking comment on Tuesday and Wednesday. In phone interviews this week, Lifson and Acker both touted their skills and experience as reasons for why they're good candidates for the town supervisor post.

Acker, 57 and a Centerport resident, has been working for the town since he was 16, he said, beginning by mowing lawns and rising through the ranks to part-time senior harbormaster, where he oversees lawn services, marinas and beach maintenance.

Bob Lifson. File photo
"I have 40 years of government experience," Acker said. "I know [Cook] touts his business experience, which is all great and good. It really doesn't translate all that well into government."

He and Lifson both see LIPA's looming reassessment challenge of the Northport power plant as a serious issue facing the municipality, Asharoken Village and the Northport-East Northport school district. The agency has charged that the plant is grossly over assessed, and a reassessment could result in dramatic tax increases for the municipalities. The municipalities were recently offered a settlement, where LIPA would drop its tax assessment challenge of the local power plant in exchange for the town reducing the assessment by almost 59 percent over the course of 10 years.

Frank Petrone. File photo
"I think the deal's a bad deal," Lifson said. Lifson, a 63-year-old Huntington resident, said issues like the reassessment challenge and redefining the town's land-use policy to be "prospective" not "reactive" are important to him.

As for Stringfellow, her husband Rich Hall spoke on her behalf on Tuesday, saying the pair wants to block Cuthbertson and Petrone from getting reelected.

Valerie Stringfellow.
"I'm done with who's in office now," Hall said, speaking of term limits for Political office and dedicating more money and resources to Huntington Station and its youth as issues that are important to him. Stringfellow, 50, is a nurse at Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Petrone, 68, a Commack resident, was first elected supervisor in 1993. Cook, a Greenlawn resident, has served on the Town Board since January 2012 after ousting former Democratic Councilwoman Glenda Jackson.

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