Former Riverhead Town supervisor to run for state assembly

Jens-Smith Looks North To Albany




Laura Jens-Smith

Laura Jens-Smith isn’t the type to enjoy retired life. Just weeks after walking out of town hall in Riverhead — she lost her reelection bid — Jens-Smith is looking to fill a new hot seat.

On January 21, she announced her intention to seek a spot in the New York State Assembly. For now, incumbent Anthony Palumbo intends to seek reelection, although rumor has it the Republican may go after Ken LaValle’s state Senate seat. LaValle is retiring after 44 years.

Palumbo hasn’t decided, and is discussing it with his family, sources said.

Republican Yvette Aguiar upset Jens-Smith to capture the Riverhead Town supervisor seat last November.

Jens-Smith is so far the only Democrat to announce her candidacy for the Second District seat.

“Hope is not a good plan,” she said. “Palumbo hasn’t accomplished much in six years. I want this to be a challenge on the issues . . . I’m very strong.”

The major issue is water quality for those on the East End. The North Fork district is bipartisan, Jens-Smith said, and requires a unified effort, as opposed to political bickering.

“I was on the minority of the board in Riverhead,” she said. “You have to build legislation. The issues are the issues.”

Jens-Smith also noted her constituents bemoaned the high cost of health insurance. “A lot of the problem is health care and prescription costs,” she said. “That’s where all our money goes. We can’t afford it.”

Lowering Riverhead school district taxes is also an important issue for the former supervisor, who recently attended a rally in support of the measure.

The Democrats, meanwhile, have a wealth of candidates who may vie for LaValle’s seat, including Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright; Laura Ahearn, a lawyer and executive director of the Crime Victims Center; Tommy John Schiavoni, a retired teacher and Southampton Town councilman from Sag Harbor; and Skyler Johnson, a 19-year-old college student from Mt. Sinai.

Suffolk County Democratic Party chairman Rich Schaffer said the candidates would run at-large in a primary on June 23.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com