Editor’s note: This story as been updated to reflect absentee ballot counts.
The results for this year’s heated mayoral race in Port Jefferson are in, and the winner is the incumbent mayor, Margot Garant.
Garant, in her 12th year as mayor, beat challenger John Jay LaValle, a former town supervisor and Republican chairman, 1,519 to 1,013, good for 60 percent of the vote.
“We are going to prosper; this village is on the upswing,” Garant told enthusiastic supporters during an election night victory party at Old Fields. “I am going to tell you right now, every store that’s vacant, let’s get rented tomorrow!
“I am committed; I’m not going anywhere.”
She also talked about the village being welcome to everyone, “whether they stay for a lifetime or a day.”
Garant’s slate on the Unity Party line swept the elections, with incumbent Trustee Stan Loucks winning with 1,387 votes and his running mate, Kathianne Snaden, getting 1,383.
Loucks and Snaden ran against LaValle running mates Tom Meehan (1,230 votes) and Tracy Stapleton (1,009) for two open seats, each carrying a two-year term.
(Trustee Laurence LaPointe did not seek reelection.)
Throughout election day, GreaterPortJeff interviewed several residents to get an idea about the issues that mattered most to them.
Only one resident declined to give a name. Here’s what they said:
“No way can I support Lavalle,” said Arnold (Arnie) Tropper. “My biggest issue is that he is a huge Trump supporter and it’s one of the few anti-Trump statements I can make that actually has some results.
“My vote is more of an anti-Trump vote than a pro-Margot vote, even though I think she’s done a good job. Port Jeff is not all about the businesses,” Tropper added.
“Community involvement, active participation in local issues, engagement. And the restoration of our beaches, which is already in progress thanks to the tireless work of Margot Garant and her team,” said Alice Glass.
“Upper Port, beach maintenance and access control, zombie storefronts,” resident Timothy Frost said about the issues that matter most to him.
“I do not want our village to turn into an overcrowded city as it has been doing,” said Kathleen Acker. “I want it to remain a village with quaint charm because it is older and established. It was once quiet and a lovely place to stroll through and enjoy. Now it is too crowded and becoming too modern.”
“Uptown and vacant stores” – Tom Capodanno
”Integrity and experience.” – Alice Van Orden Tomasello
“Our main concern is the Uptown Funk, as it is called. My husband and I moved in six years ago. It wasn’t good then but the elected village officials at that point were saying they were working on it and it would get better,” said an Upper Port resident who declined to give a name.
“Should not have not been so trusting,” the resident continued. “It has gotten so much worse in those few years. I dread to think what will happen in the next six years! I love my home uptown but we probably would have bought elsewhere if we thought things were going to get worse.
“The “boat sculpture” at the station doesn’t quite cut it. But what businesses will move in up here with the parking situation, blight and gang activities? Get rid of the gangs first and build a parking lot for the businesses.
“There are a couple of buildings on Perry Street that should come down and the parking problem is solved. That should help bring in new businesses not just more apartments. Fix uptown and downtown will benefit also.”