Angie Carpenter has served as Islip Town supervisor for little more than one term, taking office after Tom Croci moved on to the State Senate in 2015. But after she has effectively managed the town’s response to an illegal dumping scandal that occurred on Croci’s watch, stabilized Islip’s finances, and worked tirelessly to expand service at Long Island MacArthur Airport, it feels as if she has been guiding the town much longer.
Carpenter, 76, of West Islip, wants another term to finish several ongoing projects, specifically to secure more funding for sewers in places like Oakdale and Sayville, and seeing through the $10 million state downtown revitalization grant Central Islip received.
She faces Thomas E. Murray III, 32, an environmental attorney from Bayport who has returned to the area where he grew up to raise his own family. It’s his second bid for political office; he ran for a New York State Assembly seat in 2018.
Murray says the town does not operate transparently enough, and he wants additional night meetings. He also says the airport should have a private operator that could better oversee long-term planning and day-to-day operations, and that the addition of parking meters in Bay Shore has been mismanaged. He thinks the town should have created a parking district there to ensure all of the money generated by the meters flows directly back to Bay Shore.
The candidates disagree on litigation the town faces to institute councilmanic districts, meaning town board members would no longer be selected by town-wide majorities. Instead, the town would be split into districts, and residents would be represented by one candidate from their designated area. Murray thinks this would help under-represented communities, while Carpenter believes dicing up the town is unwise.
Islip will benefit from the continuity in leadership Carpenter has ably provided, as well as her energy on issues like housing. She has been a key voice in moving forward the Heartland development and is a vocal proponent of innovative housing ideas, advocating for turning a closed elementary school into senior housing and allowing accessory apartments for intergenerational housing. Murray prefers building smaller single-family homes, opposes luxury apartments and lacks an overall vision on how to provide more affordable housing.
In a new four-year term, Carpenter should make sure residents better understand the details of the town’s parking meter program, specifically its extension to other hamlets and how the revenue would be used. She should build on her successes at the airport, which is running a surplus for the first time, by continuing to push the Federal Aviation Administration for a customs facility. Carpenter also should ensure funding for recreational centers in Central Islip and Brentwood.
The transparency Carpenter has brought to town government is a bright spot, especially releasing a readable budget with narratives from each department.