The race to fill the seat of term-limited Jon Cooper features two strong contenders: Republican Elizabeth Black, 58, of Huntington village, a retired secondary English teacher who’s on the Huntington School District board of trustees, and Democrat William Spencer, 44, of Centerport, an otolaryngologist who has served as chairman of the Town of Huntington Housing Authority’s board.
Black’s campaign is emphasizing job creation, but her experience with the Jack Abrams School, which she voted to close, is one of the reasons she’s running for this office. She’d love to see students back at the school some day, but says the area hasn’t changed enough yet. She thinks more cops on the street are essential to getting crime under control and favors a new police class.
Spencer takes a more holistic view of crime, pointing to cultural factors that lead to gang activity. He suggests that businesses with county contracts offer internship programs to local youth. It’s typical of his expansive view of many of the county’s challenges. He has creative ideas — from using rainy-day funds to pay off maturing debt, thus raising the county’s bond rating, to working with local colleges to create a green degree, so alternative-energy companies will have a talent pool here.
Black has great credentials and passion, but she didn’t display the breadth we see in her opponent. Spencer would enter the legislature with an array of proposals that don’t feel like they’re out of the same-old, same-old playbook. Newsday endorses Spencer.