Coates said he wants to provide "better fiscal management" for a town that has struggled for years with budget gaps. He said he wants to shake up an all-Republican town board that he said has been paralyzed by bickering. "They just don't get anything done," he said. Coates said he wants companies to install solar panels over some or all of the remaining land at the 2,900-acre Enterprise Park at Calverton. He said solar projects would bring immediate tax and lease revenue to the town. Coates also said the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency has given tax breaks too freely to developers and he would reform the process.
Coates, 54, of Riverhead, is running on the Democratic, Working Families and Women's Equality party lines. Coates is a financial adviser and insurance broker for New York Life. Republican Town Supervisor Sean Walter employed Coates as a public affairs consultant in three political races between 2009 and 2013, but Coates said he split with Walter over fiscal and economic policies. Coates said he also previously worked as publisher of the Port Jefferson Record newspaper and as a lobbyist for the New York Public Interest Research Group in Albany and Washington, D.C.