Gene Parrington is doing something few others have done in recent memory. He is a Democratic Town Councilman seeking re-election in Islip.
Running with fellow Democrat , the Sayville resident is vying for a second term on the five-member council. Republicans John Cochrane and Anthony Senft are challenging Parrington and Ortiz. The two candidates receiving the highest number of votes votes will each take a seat on the Town Council in January.
During his first term, Parrington pointed to several initiatives he helped drive. Among them is a relaxation of building codes aimed at helping seniors and those with disabilities make modifications to their homes to accommodate wheelchairs or install ramps.
“This is something that works to their benefit and helps folks where they live,” he said.
Parrington also speaks proudly of the town’s anti-graffiti efforts, a program made possible by a $160,000 grant Islip received from New York State. Using those funds allowed the Town to refurbish two trucks with power washing and painting equipment that allows for quick response and cleanup to graffiti reported by local residents.
“When we get a call about graffiti we can respond quickly and get rid of it,” he said. “This program has worked very well.”
The councilman, a veteran of the Vietnam War who was awarded the Purple Heart, has also been focused on issues that pertain to military members. He was instrumental in bringing a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to West Islip. Working with local business leaders in the hamlet the event held in the fall of 2010 attracted thousands.
Also, Parrington founded the Hometown Heroes program, where local military members home to Long Island MacArthur Airport from service in Iraq and Afghanistan are greeted.
“I have personally met more than 100 veterans and want to continue doing that,” he said. “I get a very heartfelt feeling. It’s something that my comrades and I never got when coming home from Vietnam.”
While Parrington looks back at the past nearly four years on the Council, he said he is also looking ahead as well. A big issue for him, should he be re-elected, is the effort to retain local businesses and attract new businesses in an effort to create new jobs.
He said over the past four years, the Town has been focused on keep companies in Islip, and claimed that effort saved between 2,000 and 4,000 jobs.
“We have kept some companies from moving out of state,” he said. “Every job saved is really a job gained for the Town.”
This is the second in a series of articles featuring candidates for Islip Town Council.