Freeport Village Election 2019

Five candidates vie for two seats in Village of Freeport election

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Freeporters will head to the polls on March 19 to elect two new village trustees. Incumbent Deputy Mayor Martinez will defend his seat, while the other candidates are seeking Trustee William White’s seat. White joined the board after former village trustee Debra Mulé stepped down after becoming a Nassau County legislator, representing the 5th District, in January 2018. The candidates discussed their plans to increase transparency, improve the village’s infrastructure and work with the current administration to ensure there are no tax increases.

Martinez, 56, has served on the board since 2007 and is running with local businessman Chris Squeri, 46, on the Unity Home Rule Party line. Squeri has served as vice chairman on the Board of Directors of the Freeport Community Development Agency. Martinez said he, along with fellow trustees, have been working to launch a five-year plan that would support the police and fire departments, as well as the redevelopment of North Main Street, a part of Freeport that is overdue for revitalization. Squeri added that he would like to work on creating a stronger Freeport economically.

The president of the Freeport Board of Education, Michael Pomerico, 58, is running solo on the Village First Party line. Pomerico, a Freeport native, has served on the school board for the last 12 years and will soon retire as a detective from the Freeport Police Department. His term on the Board of Education will finish in June and said he does not plan to run for re-election to the school board. Pomerico said he wanted to ensure the village was more open to the residents and to work with the board to develop a two- to 15-year master plan to further develop Freeport.

Dr. Joseph Gambino, 39, who is the South Freeport Civic Association president and a local chiropractor with a practice on Smith Street in Freeport, is also running for the board, along with Jennifer Winters, 35, a financial service professional who lives in south Freeport. The duo is running under the Residents Stand United Party. Winters said she wants to bring more non-tax revenues to the village, and Gambino said he would improve transparency in the village through by ensuring that bidding is more public and accessible.

Village of Freeport Board of Trustees Candidates

Deputy Mayor Jorge Martinez

Incumbent

Age: 56

What can be improved in Freeport?

We have accomplished a lot in the last six years, but we are not done. There is still work to be done to keep our community moving forward.

Regarding the National Guard Armory:

As I have stated before, if the State of New York returns the National Guard Armory property to the Village of Freeport, we would need to have a village-wide conversation as to what is the best use for this property.

On affordable housing in Freeport:

Michael Pomerico

Party: Village First Party

What can be improved in Freeport?

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in our village? 

Residents will be involved in the process for our strategic plan and involved in all decisions that I will be making if I get elected. I have walked many of the streets located throughout the village during this campaign and upon speaking to the residents have heard some fabulous and innovative ideas. During my tenure on the school board, I have heard the voices of many other residents who have voiced their concerns as well as proposals for new endeavors and have presented them to my fellow board members for consideration. The input from the residents has indeed been vital to the decision making process. I feel I have and will continue to make decisions based on the residents concerns and make sure their input is heard.

On storm resiliency:

Regarding the National Guard Armory:

If the village was able to acquire the Armory property, it is imperative to the success of our village to leave our options open and do what is best for the residents and the village. Whether the village sells it for a fair-market value, uses it for parks and recreation, a community center, to protect village assets or other options, the decision should be based on the needs of all parties.  No matter what the decision is, it will take a significant amount of time to bring to fruition due to the various laws that will have to be complied with, environmental and traffic studies to be completed and economic analyses to be reviewed, to name a few.  It is important for everyone to understand that this is a complex endeavor that will not happen overnight.

On affordable housing in Freeport:

We all know the housing market and cost of living on Long Island is of the highest in our country.  I would like to see affordable home ownership programs become more available, particularly for the young professionals beginning their adult life and our veterans who have completed their service and are looking to make Freeport their home. Affordable Housing for our senior citizens is equally important and an additional avenue to be pursued.   

Jennifer Winters

Party: Residents Stand United

Age: 35

What can be improved in Freeport?

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in the village?

By offering more public forums outside of the village board meetings and offering live streaming for those who cannot attend.

On Storm resiliency:

We are extremely resilient as a community. However, preventive measures need to be strengthened.

Regarding the National Guard Armory: 

This decision is multifaceted. Once assessed the impact to the environment and quality of life will best determine how the property should be utilized. Engaging the community and offering a vote by referendum is the best course of action to take.

On affordable housing in Freeport: 

In order to determine if the village should invest in additional affordable housing, an analysis of the need would be required. It is imperative to protect a reasonable student teacher ratio in our school district.

Chris Squeri

Party: Unity Home Rule

What can be improved in Freeport?

If better is possible, good is never enough. We need to continue to create business opportunities as well as continue to increase the quality of life for our residents, providing our first responders with the proper equipment and latest technology needs to continue.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in our village?

Through public comment, Tuesday Quality of Life Meetings, planning, zoning and other public hearings, the residents deserve ample opportunity to weigh in on the subject.

On storm resiliency:

My family was affected by two storms — Irene and Sandy — at our home. We have since lifted our home to avoid future storms.  We need to continue projects that will safeguard our utilities, such as the current electric line being replaced from our plant under Freeport Creek to South Main Street.

Regarding the National Guard Armory:

If the village was to regain the property, it needs to be assessed by architects and engineers for structural, safety and environmental concerns. After that is complete, the village needs to receive input from our residents as to the best use(s) to serve our village.

On affordable housing in Freeport:

The administration has maintained no tax increase over the last six years.  That is critical to making Freeport affordable.  We need to continue to work on smart projects that will help our tax base while providing opportunities.

Dr. Joseph Gambino

Party: Residents Stand United

Age: 39

Married with children

What can be improved in Freeport?

Through our community engagement, transparency and budget management.

On storm resiliency:

The existing check valves have already malfunctioned and are not delivering an effective and efficient drainage system. Due to persistent, significant flooding in south Freeport, our draining plan needs to be revisited on making improvements for a more efficient drainage system.

Regarding the National Guard Armory:

I believe that this issue should be decided by the entire community. The village board should conduct an official poll to see where the community is on this issue.

On affordable housing in Freeport:

In order to make housing affordable, we need to focus on creating more jobs and bringing more commerce to Freeport by promoting small business. We can do this by applying for grants at the state and federal level to secure funding for these small business. There are too many empty storefronts on Main Street, Merrick, Road and Sunrise Highway because of the inability for small business being able to thrive.