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Kent Tapped to Challenge Aguiar for Supervisor

Denise Civiletti

Councilwoman Catherine Kent is running for supervisor. The first-term council member was tapped by the Riverhead Town Democratic Committee Tuesday night, the committee announced in a press release.

Kent, of Baiting Hollow, is currently serving the fourth and final year of her first term as councilwoman.

She will face off against Supervisor Yvette Aguiar, a Republican seeking a second two-year term. The two have frequently been at odds since Aguiar took office in January 2020, frequently arguing over policies and town board procedures.
Kent, a lifelong Riverhead resident and retired educator who spent her career teaching in Riverhead schools, heads a town board ticket that includes Evelyn Hobson-Womak and Juan Micieli-Martinez.

Hobson-Womak is retiring after a 28-year career in the Riverhead Police Department, where she currently serves as a detective. A military veteran, she has given her time to Riverhead Youth Court and is a member of First Baptist Church of Riverhead.

Micieli-Martinez is a longtime Riverhead resident with strong ties to farming and agriculture. He was general manager and winemaker for Martha Clara for more than 10 years.

Rounding out the Democrats’ slate this year is William “JR” Renten for highway superintendent, and Tara Taylor and Ellen Hoil for assessor.
Renten is an employee of the Riverhead highway department and volunteer since 1986 in the Riverhead Fire Department, which he currently serves as third assistant chief. He is a U.S. Navy veteran. He hopes to succeed his boss, Highway Superintendent George Woodson, who is retiring at the end of his current term.

Tara Taylor is making her second run for assessor. She placed third in a four-way race for two seats in 2019, behind two Republican incumbents. She holds degrees in accounting and business administration.

Ellen Hoil is an attorney with long experience in both regulatory and corporate law, including corporate property valuation in mergers and acquisitions. She has been involved in her condominium community association, serving as its president in 2019-2020.

The Riverhead Democratic Committee held its convention last night via a Zoom video conference that was not open to the press. According to a press release sent out Tuesday night announcing the candidates, the slate was presented by the Democrats’ screening committee and unanimously accepted by the full committee.
Riverhead Republicans held their convention Monday night at the VFW post, with access via Zoom. They picked Supervisor Yvette Aguiar for a second term, Councilman Ken Rothwell, owner of Rothwell funeral homes, who was appointed to the town board last month to finish out former councilwoman Jodi Giglio’s term after her election to the N.Y. State Assembly, and Robert Kern, who is the president of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce and serves on the board of the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency. They nominated deputy highway superintendent Mike Zaleski for highway superintendent and tapped longtime incumbent assessor Laverne Tennenberg for a ninth term.

Republicans did not pick a candidate Monday to run for the position being vacated by longtime assessor Mason Haas, who is retiring Feb. 26. GOP chairwoman Tammy Robinkoff introduced Dana Brown to the committee Monday night as the likely nominee. Brown works as a senior assessment clerk in the assessors office. The committee is expected to nominate Brown for assessor after Haas’ retirement takes effect. The town board, on which Republicans hold a four-person majority — Kent is the sole Democrat — will likely appoint Brown to fill that vacancy.