Yvette Aguiar speaks out against the proposed $100 million bond at the Sept. 24 school board meeting. Photo: Maria Piedrabuenai

On September 26, in a last-minute election ploy, my opponent announced a plan to address the issue of illegal, overcrowded housing. This is an issue I have spoken to residents about throughout my campaign for Riverhead town supervisor, and, on September 25, I issued a 10-point strategic plan to combat this critical quality-of-life issue. 

I find it astonishing that my opponent based her own plan on what I proposed. We need a supervisor who can lead on the issues, not follow. For two years, the supervisor has done nothing to address this issue. My opponent has not brought one Supreme Court action against the violators. But soon after I touted my own plan, we finally hear from her announcing a plan of her own. Where has she been for the past two years while our schools were overburdened, and our public resources were being drained?

We need to crack down on these unsafe homes, where people are forced to live in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. The Illegal overcrowding crisis we are faced with is having an impact on our children’s ability to learn and burdening our teachers’ ability to effectively teach. While the Riverhead School District has great academic programs, the success of our students is the primary goal of everyone involved. We need to ensure we maintain the quality of education our children receive. Meanwhile, the homeowners who work hard to maintain their property, follow the rule of law and pay their taxes on time are the ones enduring higher taxes.

Rather than make Riverhead taxpayers absorb the burden of $100 million for a Riverhead school district upgrade, my opponent should be working with the Riverhead school district the same way Southampton Town works with the Quogue School District, which requires the students’ parents to sign a residency affidavit to verify that a home is legally occupied. This approach has resulted in stable enrollment in the school districts. I will also work with Southampton officials to ensure the town code is enforced in Flanders, since it impacts the Riverhead School District. 

My goal as your supervisor, when faced with adversity, will be to make common sense and effective decisions on quality-of-life issues. Proactive government is true government. I have experience in law enforcement and business management and the leadership skills necessary to work cohesively with all my constituents to move Riverhead forward. 

I have lived locally since 1999. I joined my family, who have lived out east since the 1970s. When I retired from the New York City Police Department, I could have lived anywhere in the world. We chose Riverhead because of its central location and its bucolic environment. I am a member of the Riverhead Lions, Elks and Moose Clubs, among various other volunteer, community-centered organizations. I have also raised two service dogs for the Smithtown Guide Dog Foundation. In the years before my decision to run for Riverhead town supervisor, I have worked arduously in my community and hear you loud and clear regarding your concerns. I will bring Riverhead back to the people.

Yvette Aguiar is the Republican candidate for Riverhead town supervisor. She lives in Riverhead.

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