Environmentalist considering historic state Senate run

Adrienne Esposito
Environmentalist Adrienne Esposito is considering a run for state Senator Lee Zeldin’s seat. (Carrie Miller file photo)

Long Island environmental advocate Adrienne Esposito confirmed Sunday she’s considering a run for state office on the Democratic line. If elected, she’d be the first woman from Suffolk County elected to a seat in the state Senate.

Ms. Esposito, 53, of Patchogue, is a co-founder and current executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. She has worked for the Farmingdale-based nonprofit group for 29 years.

She confirmed a Newsday report published Saturday that she’s had a meeting with Suffolk Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer and another meeting with New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee chairman Michael Gianaris to discuss running for state Senator Lee Zeldin’s seat in the third district.

Mr. Zeldin (R-Shirley) has announced he may vacate his seat to campaign against Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton).

Ms. Esposito said she’s been approached several times in the past to run for other elected seats, including for Brookhaven Town Board and state Assembly, but never seriously considered campaigning for public office until now.

“The state Senate has more appeal — it has a lot more weight,” she said when asked why it was more attractive than previous offers.

Ms. Esposito said the position would allow her to work on statewide environmental issues, especially water quality issues like protecting the Long Island Sound and fighting against hydrofracking.

Her group has been successful with several legislative actions in recent years to protect the environment, including ending Broadwater Energy’s plan for a floating liquefied natural gas terminal in the Long Island Sound off the coast of Wading River and helping to craft a contamination cleanup plan for Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Ms. Esposito said she plans to take the next two weeks to think about moving her efforts to Albany.

“I truly love what I do and we get a lot accomplished,” she said. “It’s a lot to consider.”

Suffolk Democrats have not fared well in state Senate elections.

Mr. Zeldin’s predecessor, Brian Foley (D-Blue Point), is the only Suffolk Democrat elected to the state Senate since 1902. Mr. Foley, who lasted just one term, had defeated 36-year incumbent Republican Cesar Trunzo to win the post.

The third Senate district spans from Shirley west to Brentwood.

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