Candidate: Republican Esteban seeks legislative seat in the 16th district
Manuel Esteban, Republican and Conservative, challenges Democrat Susan Berland, outgoing President and Majority Leader, in the 16th District of the Suffolk County Legislature.
Esteban embodies the American dream. Born to a Colombian immigrant mother, he had very few opportunities to grow up in Astoria, but it was his hard work that made him succeed. Today, he is a lawyer in New York, with many professional accomplishments to his name, both in Suffolk County and overseas. Speaking fluently English and Spanish has enabled him to serve in both cultures with great ease.
Esteban, who lives in East Northport with his wife and seven children, has a full resume and a deep history of community service. In addition to helping the local community, he helped raise funds for Fundacion Renacer, an orphanage in Colombia and served as a lay Catholic missionary in Peru.
Esteban has also been active in community affairs, most notably as chair of the Hispanic City of Huntington Advisory Task Force and as a member of the Lower Eastside Tenement Museum Advisory Board.
Here is his position on some important issues for the region:
What is the solution to the many vacant lots and offices around Huntington due to the Covid pandemic and other business stresses? Esteban believes that one way to jumpstart businesses is to involve the community and start using existing small business services and supplies to avoid further devastation. In addition, he believes that businesses in other areas where rents are exorbitant may be offered relocation assistance.
Another problem is the condition of many roads in need of repair. If elected, he would work closely with the county and engineers to determine if there is a way to divert traffic to limit further damage and at the same time undertake repairs. Of course, he notes, it comes down to funding.
As a lawyer, he is aware of the rise in crime, theft, gang violence and vandalism as well as white collar crime and corruption in the county. Esteban believes that community education, advocacy for citizens to be more involved and more vigilant, and improved policing that involves a more culturally diverse police force that represents the community are good steps forward. He thinks that “legislation” is not always the best solution.
Another major subject of discontent in Suffolk County is the lack of affordable housing. Esteban believes that the housing problem is a chronic problem and that it will take time to resolve it. High rents and the lack of land to build more housing are two main reasons that have made it difficult to resolve the crisis. However, he reiterates: “We need smaller, affordable units like studios and one and two bedroom apartments for students, the elderly and people who live alone or have small families. These units would be affordable and save people money.
When asked what would happen in the Legislature if Republicans won a majority, Esteban replied: “I get along well with my fellow Democrats and I admire the programs they have invested in, including diversity training, tax breaks, affordable housing etc. no intention of changing what works. However, he added, “there will be issues that we may not be on okay, but we have to work in the best interests of families and individual taxpayers. “
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of interviews we are conducting with candidates for City Supervisor, City Council, Superintendent of Highways and Suffolk County Legislature in the election of the November 2.