Longtime campaign worker plans to give CI and Brentwood a voice
Leigh-Ann Barde is a mother of four, two of which are on the autism spectrum. Along with other major concerns, a lack of services across the Town of Islip for individuals with autism and other mentally impairing disabilities has resulted in Barde deciding to hop on the Democratic ticket for town council.
She has worked as part of several Democratic campaigns for office since 2012, beginning with former president Barack Obama’s re-election. She is also the vice president of the Central Islip Little League, and searched for ways to get work done on the town-owned baseball fields located on Eastview Drive in Central Islip.
Despite getting then-legislator Monica Martinez as well as Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone involved, Barde said nothing got done until very recently.
“[The fields] did work, but there is still plenty missing,” she said. “I cannot get a crosswalk in front of a ball field. That should be a no-brainer. The front gate did not work for six months last year. It was kind of perpetually closed.”
At the end of the day, she chalked it up as a victory, but said her long-lasting frustration on the matter is another considerable reason for her campaign for local office.
Barde said Brentwood and Central Islip, as hamlets within the township, have been neglected. Barde has lived in both locations and said she would provide representation where it is due.
On the topic of development, Barde made note of the large housing projects currently in the works, specifically mentioning Heartland Town Square in Brentwood and Farrell Hudson Place on Eastview Drive in Central Islip.
“Those are the only jobs that seem to be complete, and I do not understand why, because now you are not factoring in quality of life for anybody here,” she said. “Affordable housing is an issue throughout Islip. None of these new developments are affordable.”
She continued, stating that businesses along Carleton Avenue in Central Islip and select areas in Brentwood would be beneficial toward the overall revitalization effort.
“Every hamlet has their unique identity and their unique needs,” she said. “The one-size-fits-all answer is just to build more housing. We do not need more housing. Lack of people is not a problem in Central Islip and Brentwood.”
Barde also commented on the roadways ridden with potholes and the lack of sidewalks in many areas, contributing to the conversation of pedestrian safety. She has also taken stances on issues south of the Southern State Parkway. With regard to the Island Hills plan in Sayville and the parking meters in Bay Shore, she has sided with the residential opposition in both cases.
As for the environment, Barde suggested different ways to help lower nitrogen levels in the Great South Bay, including stopping the use of fertilizers containing nitrogen as well as planting native trees near the water.