Babylon voters will have a competitive election. That’s good news for taxpayers

NEWSDAY – OPINION/EDITORIAL – By The Editorial Board – Updated July 17, 2017 6:49 AM

Thank you, Liuba Grechen Shirley. And thank you, Claire McKeon.

For making sure that yet another political race in Suffolk County does not end up cross-endorsed and uncontested.

It’s the bane of Suffolk politics. Year after year, some candidates face no or only token opposition or have endorsements from so many parties as to render voting meaningless.

In this case, Independence Party member Lindsay Henry declined to seek reelection in November to the Babylon Town Board. Former Suffolk Industrial Development Agency executive director Anthony Manetta planned to run and was backed by the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties. Then add Suffolk Democratic chairman and town Supervisor Rich Schaffer, the master of the cross-endorsement deal, said he supported Manetta and no Democrat would run for the board.

And Babylon Democrats Grechen Shirley and McKeon said: not this time. Then Grechen Shirley, an Amityville economic development consultant, said she would run for the seat. Schaffer declined to back her, citing a commitment to have an Independence Party member on the board, more likely a commitment to repay the party for their extra line when needed. But then McKeon, of Lindenhurst, who runs Babylon’s youth bureau, jumped into the race. With a Democratic Party primary looming, Schaffer said he would back McKeon. Then Grechen Shirley dropped out. Now it’s a competitive race.

Political parties should stand for principles. They should field candidates who run on those principles. And voters should have choices. Thanks to Grechen Shirley and McKeon, in one more race they will.