Sean Walter has spent the better part of the past six weeks hammering home to residents on the North Fork that his is the type of voice they need in the Suffolk County Legislature, where he’s argued his opponent would be little more than an extra vote for the Democratic super majority.
That opponent, Southold Town Councilman Al Krupski, has run a quiet campaign, knocking on doors and letting his record of bipartisan cooperation and fiscal conservatism speak for itself.
It’s been exactly the race one might expect, reflecting the general nature of each candidate and the communities they represent: the vocal vs. the tranquil, Riverhead vs. Southold.
Style and personality should play a major role in determining who you vote for in Tuesday’s 1st District special election. It is this newspaper’s belief that Mr. Krupski’s calm demeanor and cooperative approach make him better suited to serve out the remaining nine months of former legislator Ed Romaine’s term.
Despite being the lone Democrat on Southold’s Town Board, he’s proven himself an adept conciliatory voice capable of shoving partisan politics aside for the good of his constituency.
Mr. Krupski’s a true fiscal conservative who questions the cost of every plan that involves spending money, consistently asking “is it needed?” and “who will pay for it?”
Mr. Walter has often suggested during this race that he’d be the squeaky wheel that would get the oil the North Fork needs from its county government, but sometimes a squeaky wheel ends up leaving you with little more than a headache. In a legislative body where representatives meld 18 different opinions into one vote, Mr. Krupski’s style could be a better fit.
Perhaps the silliest stunt in Mr. Walter’s otherwise strong campaign was his attempt to portray Mr. Krupski as the type of Democrat who would favor party interests and Western Suffolk ideals over the traditional values of the East End. A champion of open space preservation and an opponent of big-box development, it’s hard to imagine Mr. Krupski abandoning his reputation in the interest of party politics.
If we sense he’s voting for his party over his constituents, though, we’ll be the loudest voice calling for his ouster come November.
Truth is, the North Fork can benefit from a legislator serving in the majority and, despite what Mr. Walter has said during the campaign, he can do more for the people of Riverhead as town supervisor — a role in which he’s been mostly effective — than he can as a county legislator.
Still, Mr. Krupski will need to learn when to turn up the volume if elected, and a good place to start would be in working with his opponent to ensure the Enterprise Park in Calverton realizes its potential as an economic engine and in taking up the cause of ridding the East End of the unfair burden of housing the county’s entire homeless sex offender population.
Mr. Krupski is a good choice for the 1st District seat in the Suffolk County Legislature.