Crime victims advocate Laura Ahearn announced today she will challenge State Senator Ken LaValle in next year's election.

Parent’s for Megan’s Law founder Laura Ahearn today announced her candidacy for the First Senate District seat held by State Senator Ken LaValle since 1977.

Ahearn, who serves as executive director of the Crime Victims Center/Parents for Megan’s Law, is an attorney and social worker from Port Jefferson.

“I’m an attorney, a social worker and a mom. For 25 years, I have fought to keep Suffolk County residents and children safe from sexual predators,” Ahearn said in a statement issued this morning.

“I founded the Crime Victims Center/Parents for Megan’s Law from a room in my home and built it to become a nationally recognized, powerful force with nearly 30 full-time staffers who protect and educate our most vulnerable and provide help to children and adults who were victimized,” she said.

“I am running for New York State Senate because I want to continue to fight for us in Albany. I am committed to protecting you, our children, our families, our drinking water, and our environment,” Ahearn said.

LaValle, a Republican, was first elected to the State Senate in 1976 and is its longest-serving member. A former public school teacher, LaValle has focused on education and the environment. He was the author of the Pine Barrens Protection Act and has been a strong advocate for Stony Brook University, where the sports stadium bears his name. He also has been a strong advocate of a Suffolk County health care system led by Stony Brook University Hospital.

“I approach every election the same way,” LaValle said today. “I stand on my continuous record of accomplishments and years of service to our communities.”

Ahearn is a Suffolk County native who earned a social work degree at Stony Brook University and a law degree from Touro. She chairs the Suffolk County Family Violence Task Force Legal Systems Subcommittee and as the victims’ services representative on the Suffolk County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

The State Senate election takes place in 2020.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.