A compiled list of the Town of Islip candidates up for election on Nov. 5
Islip Town Council
John Cochrane (R, C),
John Cochrane is a former local businessman and a U.S. Navy veteran, and he said that both his previous endeavors have contributed to his decision-making skills as a councilman in the Town of Islip.
Cochrane is an incumbent on the Republican ticket, running for Town Council. He prioritizes infrastructure, development, policing and the environment. Touching upon property taxes, he reverted the conversation to infrastructure and development, as they are directly relevant, especially in the Town of Islip, and especially now.
“Taxes are never going to go away,” Cochrane said. “[Dealing with them is] an integral part of the position.”
He said that spending the money the right way is key, and infrastructure projects are absolutely granted consideration for funding.
“Paving a road is automatic recognition,” he said. “Nearby residents who drive on a particular road every day are immediately and directly impacted when you fill in potholes, some that have not been touched in 30 or 40 years.”
The Maple Avenue project in Bay Shore is one of Cochrane’s prized jewels, as he said this project represents his strides to improve infrastructure.
In addition to touching upon the opioid epidemic and gang presence in the township, Cochrane brought up the 320 additional cameras around the town.
“The cameras will help alleviate crime when people know there are eyes on them,” he said.
Cochrane has put paramount focus on the train stations with nearby bus stops. He said bus stops situated near train stations have become a convenient avenue for heroin dealers.
Cochrane called himself a conservationist, making note of his dedication to aquafarming in the Great South Bay. Cochrane said that aquafarming in the GSB was ultimately championed by him.
Cochrane made note that the eastern parts of the township are without sewers.
Mary Kate Mullen (R, C),
Mary Kate Mullen is a Republican incumbent running for Town Council. She is a mother of three, in addition to being an attorney involved in all aspects of civil litigation.
With a career background involving five years at the Suffolk County Narcotics Bureau, Mullen was appointed Islip Town liaison for the Opioid Task Force in 2018. She called the Islip Goes Purple event on September 26, a baby step toward addressing the opioid crisis in the township.
She said all of the effort put forth by the Town of Islip and all other organizations involved has garnered opportunity for every resident to help address the opioid crisis.
“If people aren’t afraid, they can stand up, and they can make a difference, too,” Mullen said.
Mullen said installing the cameras is one way the town has been addressing criminal activity, as well as promoting public safety.
Mullen said that work has been done on several baseball fields. She also noted that 25 playgrounds across the township have been redone in recent years.
Mullen said that hearing out the entirety of any development plan and doing adequate research is necessary, as a councilperson, before coming to a conclusion. She added that location is always worth considering as well as the need for the application’s respective use in an area.
Mullen said that future affordable housing projects should be geared more toward transit-oriented development.
Environmental projects, like Homans Creek project in Bayport completed in 2018, are important in the eyes of Mullen. She also made note of Browns River in Sayville, as a dredging project was necessary there, too.
Mullen also touched upon the need for sewers in Sayville and other eastern areas of the township, adding that restaurants face limitations with the lack of such access.
Mullen expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve the Town of Islip thus far.
“It is an honor and a privilege,” she said. “The four years have just flown by.”
Jorge Guadron (D)
Jorge Guadron was born in El Salvador and moved to the United States in 1980. He is a small business owner and has been a Central Islip resident for over 16 years. He is also the acting president of the Salvadoran American Chamber of Commerce.
Guadron is running for election for Islip Town Council on the Democratic Ticket. He said with his vast experience in communication and small-business creation, he can make a difference for Islip residents regardless of hamlet.
“Our proposals are based on our residents’ needs, concerns and basic human dignity and not on partisan ideology,” Guadron said.
Guadron touched upon the 50.29 percent increase of the town’s general tax fund since 2012.
“A strategic plan for Islip Town must be created and implemented for a short, medium and long term — not planning for the next election,” Guadron said.
When considering the rate of development, Guadron honed in on the use of smart-growth strategies to maintain a suburban lifestyle character.
“We must plan in a careful, responsible and thorough way where development should or should not go to help and encourage growth, where business can thrive on walkable downtowns and residents can live close to their daily commute,” he said.
When talking about crime prevention, Guadron stressed the importance of keeping the youth busy the entire year by means of cultural and sports programs.
Guadron said that a lack of accountability from the Town of Islip has moved roadway monies from its allocated purpose. He also said that irresponsible approvals for residential projects are a direct cause of overbearing traffic.
Guadron made note of beach closures caused by nitrogen pollution in the Great South Bay. He suggested more involved tree-planting programs to minimize the levels of nitrogen and other chemicals.
Guadron was grateful for the opportunity to share his reasons for running for local office.
Leigh-Ann Barde (D)
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 being on the Democratic ticket for Town Council.
Barde has worked as part of several Democratic campaigns for office since 2012. She is also the vice president of the Central Islip Little League, and she searched for ways for years to get work done on the town-owned baseball fields 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.”
Barde said Brentwood and Central Islip, as hamlets within the township, have been neglected.
Barde made note of the large housing projects currently in the works.
“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. “None of these new developments are affordable.”
Barde said 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. “Here, we do not need more housing. Lack of people is not a problem in Central Islip and Brentwood.”
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.
Barde suggested different ways to help lower nitrogen levels in the Great South Bay, including stopping using fertilizers containing nitrogen as well as planting native trees near the water.
Islip Town Clerk
Olga Murray (R, C, I),
Murray, an Oakdale resident with a private law practice, is running for her third term as Islip Town clerk. She said technological improvements are among her biggest goals for the post. Murray also considers the “sheer volume” of material that her office handles as an achievement on its own. By the end of her second term, she estimates the office will have processed about 11,000 passports, 9,000 marriage licenses and 3,500 business licenses
Murray doesn’t feel her office should weigh too heavily on the more popular town issues, such as controversial developments. She sees recording and maintaining the town’s minutes and votes, along with other documents, as the office’s biggest responsibility.
The town clerk also hopes, in the near future, to enroll the office staff in a sensitivity training course that focuses on dealing with individuals suffering from memory impairments. Murray said it isn’t uncommon for individuals to walk into the office and struggle to understand why they are there.
Joseph Fritz (D, L)
Fritz, a Brentwood resident and East Islip-based attorney, wants to be town clerk because he sees it not just as an “administrative position” but as a place where he can be a “catalyst” and provide input on important issues pertaining to the town.
He is running, largely, in opposition to both the parking meter program in Bay Shore and the controversial Heartland and Island Hills developments in Brentwood and Sayville, respectively. The projects, he said, would become an economic strain on taxpayers and create an urban environment in communities that have historically been suburban.
Fritz, who previously served on the Brentwood school board and Islip Town Zoning Board of Appeals, has run for elected office numerous times in the last 40-plus years. The last time he was on the ballot was in 1993 when he ran against former Islip Town supervisor Pete McGowan. Since then, Fritz has been limited mostly to primaries, which included an unsuccessful for New York State Senate, in 2016, on the Women’s Equality line.
Islip Town Supervisor
Angie Carpenter (R, C, I)
Back in 2015, Angie Carpenter took over the role of Islip Town supervisor after being appointed to finish Tom Croci’s term when he was elected New York State senator. In March of that year, she was elected to her first full term. Carpenter was previously a small-business owner when she was elected Suffolk County legislator in the 11th District in 1992.
Carpenter, though not advised by her attorney, responded to the Bay Shore meter issue by saying the chamber originally requested the meters to help with Fire Island parking issues; however, the chamber rescinded their decision when it became an issue for employees working on Main Street.
As for the Island Hills project in Sayville, she said, she hopes to come up with something that the community can support without wasting tax dollars and fearing a lawsuit. However, she said, as the proposal currently stands, she can’t support it.
Carpenter also has her eyes on the environment, with two solar farms at the capped landfills and as the only municipality with a compost facility. Currently, the town is also in the final stages of getting the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s approval to farm an additional 1,400 acres of bay bottom in addition to the current 100.
Upon first entering office, she called in personnel to look over all the town’s operations to see what was being done right and wrong, as well as the crediting agency to higher the town’s rating to the highest AAA rating.
Carpenter also rejuvenated the once-decrepit animal shelter, made the town-owned MacArthur Airport profitable and self-sustainable again, and opened the town’s permit department one night a week as well as implemented pre-permitting meetings.
Next year, she said, a new serenity garden will be created at Brookwood Hall in East Islip. If re-elected, she plans to continue her work with the parks foundation and address all the town marinas by hiring an engineer to rate which ones need repairs.
“Supervisor is a very rewarding position. I am very hopeful the residents will reaffirm what we’ve done and continue to let me move Islip forward,” she said.
Thomas Murray (D, WF, L, SAM)
Thomas Murray, a 2005 Sayville High School graduate, said his hometown is one of the reasons he’s running for public office. Murray, a 2005 Sayville High School graduate, ran unsuccessfully for the New York State assembly (District 7) in 2018. Prior to that, he was elected to the Sayville library bard and served until he entered law school. He has since become an environmental attorney.
Murray opposes the proposed Island Hills development and, during his run for assembly, expressed concern about the impact the project would have on the Oakdale merge.
The challenger said that if he is elected town supervisor, he plans to conduct a hamlet study in Sayville so that if and when the developers file a lawsuit, the town can be ready with a list of reasons why the denial decision was made.
“Another couple hundred apartments on Lakeland Avenue and other developments are going to continue to put a stress on that area,” he said, promising to vote down Island Hills upon election. “I have spoken out against it since Day One.”
As for the Bay Shore meters, he promises to stop them, take a look at the program and salvage it in any way possible.
As an environmental attorney, Murray said he is concerned about the quality of Long Island water. He believes the issue of sewers needs to be addressed, since many areas in the town he hopes to represent do not have them.
Also, he said, the town can help clean the bay by discontinuing use of nitrogen fertilizers on all town-owned property and encouraging homeowners to do the same. He also hopes to initiate a plan to plant more native trees. The town also needs to place more standards on new construction to be more efficient, he added.
Murray also believes, when it comes to the opioid problem, the solutions are early education and Narcan training. He also supports more treatment facilities like the one that was proposed for Blue Point a few years ago.
Murray and his wife, Caitlin, currently reside in Bayport; together they have one daughter.