Jay Schneiderman is the incumbent 2nd District Suffolk County Legislator who resides in Montauk. He is running as a Democrat and Independence Party nominee. The district extends from Montauk to East Moriches, including the Town of East Hampton, and the Town of Southampton. Schneiderman somehow seems to be everywhere in that district. In an interview for this article Schneiderman expressed his vision for the county moving forward saying, “I want to protect the environment, stimulate the economy to create jobs and preserve the ones existing, without increasing taxes.”
I asked him about some of his accomplishments and pointed out his most recent achievements, saying, “Without a doubt the widening of County Road 39 has impacted the lives of people in the district with a safer, quicker route with less traffic buildup.” He is also very proud of the success of the program he sponsored to get the county buses rolling on Sundays saying, “That’s a total success with the county public buses full, getting people to work and to shop on Sundays, that’s just a win-win situation.” The conversation turned to the environment and the preservation of open space. He said with passion, “This is who we are…this issue is the core to our economy, influences property values, it’s just the right thing to do on multiple levels.” He emphasized his role in preserving “thousands of acres.” About taxes he informed me of his past record saying, “When I was the Town of East Hampton Supervisor I never raised property taxes,” insisting that raising taxes is not his option for fixing any county fiscal problems. He proudly points out that while he has served in the Suffolk County Legislature “these last eight years county government has grown by less than 1% a year and only 6% over the whole time, that’s lower than the inflation rate over that period. I suppose you could say, when you factor in the inflation, county government actually shrunk.”
The reason he believes he should be re-elected is, “I have the experience, the proven record of service.” It may be noted that this is his challenger Cornelius Kelly’s first attempt to be elected to public office.
As for his background, Schneiderman is a life-long resident of Long Island. He graduated from high school in Hauppaugue, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from Ithaca College and then obtained a Master of Arts degree in Education from the State University of New York at Cortland. After college, Schneiderman taught science, mathematics, and music in East End schools. He also managed his family’s business in Montauk, and later formed a property management company on the East End. He is the proud father of two and often brings his children with him to the many civic functions he attends. I must mention another passion of Schneiderman’s is music and he often shares his talent (percussion and drums) at establishments on the East End on weekends.
Schneiderman is running on the Independence and Democratic line but was first elected to the County Legislator as a Republican in the 2003 election. He left the Republican Party when he was at odds with the philosophy of George Bush. The year after the switch he easily won re-election.