Kennedy said the legislature needs to focus on reducing a ballooning structural deficit, calling the matter urgent. “The county has been living above its means for a long time,” she said. “If there is a stock market correction, I desperately fear for us.” The county will have to reduce spending on nonessential items for the next five years, she said. Beyond health, safety and infrastructure, “everything else is gravy” and could be eligible for cuts, she said. She continues to work on environmental issues she called critical, spearheading purchase of land near the headwaters of the Nissequogue River and cleaning up land near the Bavarian Inn in Lake Ronkonkoma.
Kennedy, 61, of Nesconset, is running on the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform party lines. She is completing her first full term in the legislature. Kennedy graduated from Holy Family High School in South Huntington in 1974. In the late 1970s, she began working at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson as a secretary. She became a registered nurse in the mid-1980s and held numerous positions before leaving the hospital in the early 2000s. Kennedy was also a legislative aide in 1989 and 1990 to the late Donald Blydenburgh, a former presiding officer of the county legislature. From 2004 to 2014, Kennedy worked part-time in the administrative office at Seafield, a substance abuse facility in Medford. She earned an associate degree in nursing from Suffolk County Community College and is continuing her education there for certified alcohol and substance abuse counseling. She also has worked as a paid aide to her husband, John M. Kennedy Jr., who formerly held this legislative seat. They have four children.