As the clock approached midnight on Tuesday, there were chants of “Joe! Joe! Joe!” throughout Mirelle’s, in Westbury, from Republican supporters, after they learned that Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino had been re-elected. The eatery, the Nassau GOP’s traditional election-night headquarters, was packed with well-wishers hoping to celebrate his win.
Saladino defeated James Altadonna Jr., a Republican who ran on the Democratic line. Also winning were incumbent Town Board Trustee Steve Labriola, a Republican, who received 20 percent of the vote, and first-time candidates Vicki Walsh and Laura Maier, both Republicans, who each earned 19 percent, besting Democratic challengers Erin Guida, Melissa McCardle and Ned Newhouse.
Saladino, 57, of Massapequa, who was a state assemblyman for 13 years, was appointed supervisor in February 2017 to lead a town suffering from a tarnished image, after federal corruption charges led then Supervisor John Venditto to resign. Saladino won handily later that year, receiving nearly 59 percent of the vote.
Saladino said that one of his key objectives in the future is to secure the town’s finances. Over the past two years, he said, his administration has eliminated the town’s deficit and paid down $150 million in capital debt, while still borrowing money to repair roads. Taxpayers will save money despite plans to continue borrowing thanks to the town’s bond rating, which he said would continue to rise.
“We’re reinventing Oyster Bay,” Saladino said. “It’s the best it’s been in years. We’ve closed the chapter on the past, and now we’re moving full-throttle forward, and we’re going to continue to do everything and keep delivering for our residents.”
Labriola said he would continue to focus on New York American Water. He pointed out that while he was a state assemblyman from 1997 to 2003, a commission was formed to study the possibility of a state takeover. The state, he said, would need to find a way to purchase NYAW.
“We’re going to start with a lobbying effort,” Labriola said. “We’re going to get all of our Long Island delegation on board that are affected by this water [company], and then we’re going to have to get legislation passed so we can form a task force that can study this again with these current numbers and see what we can do.”
Labriola also said that town officials had sent out a request for proposals to install electric car chargers in parking lots across the town. Solicitation of private companies is moving forward. The town, he said, is waiting to see what the companies offer, but is prepared to act if an agreement cannot be reached.
“If that doesn’t work with the private entities,” Labriola said, “we will try with grant monies through the state. We’ve put it out there for 40 charging stations in all of our popular destinations in the Town of Oyster Bay, so we’re just waiting to see how the requests come back.”
Walsh and Maier both expressed gratitude for their wins, and said they were excited about becoming Town Board members.
Oyster Bay-East Norwich Civic Association President Rich LaMarca, a Republican, also won in the race for town clerk, receiving 57 percent of the vote against Democratic challenger Rachel Klein.
Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan held his District 18 seat, winning with 68 percent of the vote over Republican Timothy Jenks.
“I’m humbled beyond measure to represent a district where I have such overwhelming support from Republicans and Democrats, which makes me an incredibly lucky guy,” Lafazan said. “What makes this win so special is it is a mandate to have me continue to serve in a bipartisan fashion. People appreciate my brand of open, honest and compassionate government.”
And County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, a Democrat, was re-elected in the District 11 race. She beat Glen Cove resident James Greenberg, garnering nearly 73 percent of the vote. DeRiggi-Whitton said she looked forward to working in the district’s best interest. “I’m incredibly humbled by the support and trust the district has put in me,” she said.