Half Hollow Hills PTSA Legislation Committee successfully hosted its annual “Meet the Candidates Night” event. Our district hosts this event every year before Election Day and invites all the politicians that are up for election that season. This event was focused around the midterm elections. This midterm election was the most active, and arguably the most necessary, in recent US history. This function builds a familiarity between the politicians and the constituents. Members of the public, as well as HHH residents, can ask any question they feel is appropriate for the candidates.
Prior to Election Day, the Half Hollow Hills School District invited all politicians who were campaigning in Suffolk County and our local community. The event allows each politician to deliver an introduction, answer questions asked by the public, and then deliver a conclusion which emphasizes their goals, qualifications, and professional experiences. During this midterm election season, the candidates were asked their stances on school security, the NRA, and the Trump administration. Each position had their candidates stationed along a row of tables in which the public was invited to have further discussion. Campaign buttons, bumper stickers, magnets, and other information were distributed to anyone who was interested. There was time available for constituents to speak to their incumbent officials or the candidates to replace them.
This event allows politicians to be entirely accessible to the public in addition to being able to address their concerns. Students can interact with the candidates and form new connections that can help them in the future. Many Legislation Committee members walk out of this event with 2-6 internship opportunities. It is indeed an excellent opportunity for HHH students to network and get involved with local politics. This event applies explicitly to those interested in a career in politics, those wishing to pursue a career in political journalism, and those wishing to become involved in other sectors of the journalism field.
High school students are at the point in their adolescent development where they can develop their own opinions and political ideals that they believe to be true. By participating in this event, the community can obtain insight and awareness as to what is taking place on Long Island, in our town, and our local community. In my four years of being on the Legislation Committee, I can deem my experiences with past “Meet the Candidates Night” as both rewarding and valuable. By establishing a positive rapport with local politicians, I have a voice in sharing the concerns of high school students in the Town of Huntington (including those of High School West). I have worked on four campaigns, out of the politicians in the room, and worked in three of their offices. Through Legislation Committee, many students and parents in our district, have become more informed and knowledgeable voters. This is a goal we have for all members of our community. My voice is heard by elected officials who represent us and who can make a difference in our schools and neighborhoods. Collaborating with politicians to improve education, safety, and other vital topics is an essential and valuable way of communicating with elected officials who strive to make a difference.
Following this event, our community became informed; as a result, they were able to form educated opinions on each candidate. The residents of HHH and the public gained an understanding of each candidate and their political views. Some of the positions that were highlighted at “Meet the Candidates Night” are Huntington Town Council, Huntington Receiver of Taxes, NYS Senate (2nd & 5th district), NYS Assembly (10th & 12th district), and the NYS Assembly 11th district.
The results of these elections are as followed:
Huntington Town Council- Joan Cergol (D)
Huntington Receiver of Taxes- Jillian Guthman (D)
NYS Senate 2nd District- John Flanagan (R)
NYS Senate 5th District- Jim Gaughran (D)
NYS Assembly 10th District- Steve Stern (D)
NYS Assembly 11th District- Kimberly Jean Pierre (D)
NYS Assembly 12th District- Andrew Raia (R)