Susan A. Berland is entering her 20th year in elected office in 2021. Susan was first elected to the Suffolk County Legislature to represent the 16th Legislative District on November 7, 2017 and took her oath of office to serve a second term on January 2, 2020. On November 18, 2020, Susan was elected to be majority leader of the legislature by her colleagues in the Democratic Caucus. The 16th Legislative District encompasses the areas of Brentwood, Commack, Deer Park, Dix Hills, East Northport, Elwood, Melville, North Bay Shore and South Huntington.
Susan serves, as the Chair of the Veterans & Consumer Affairs Committee; Vice-Chair of Ways & Means; Vice-Chair of Economic Development, Planning & Housing; and Member of the Budget & Finance; Education & Labor; Fire, Rescue, EMS & Emergency Preparedness; Government Operations, Personnel, Information Tech & Diversity; Public Safety; and Public Works, Transportation & Energy Committees.
Prior to being elected to the Suffolk County Legislature, Susan served as a member of the Huntington Town Board from 2001 until 2017.
As Legislator, Susan has worked to address the pressing issues facing the 16th Legislative District and Suffolk County at large. As she has done over the course of her career in public service, Susan strives to improve the quality of life of the constituents that she represents. She has distinguished herself as an effective advocate for our entire community.
As Chairwoman of the Veterans & Consumer Affairs Committee, Susan champions organizations and causes dedicated to serving veterans. Susan sponsored legislation creating the Suffolk County Women Veterans Advisory Board. The Board ensures that the voices of all our veterans are heard and that the concerns of our female veterans are addressed. She also sponsored legislation creating Women Veterans Appreciation Day; extending and creating property tax exemptions for Cold War-Era and Operation Graphic Hand veterans; declaring May Military Appreciation Month; creating a Voluntary Registry for female veterans living in Suffolk County; and modifying the definition of veteran so that those veterans who were discharged because of their LGBT orientation or other qualifying conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Military Sexual Trauma, will be eligible to receive veteran's services and benefits from the State.¬¬ She and her staff partake in the Suffolk County Veterans Run Series, the proceeds of which benefit Suffolk County veterans’ organizations.
Susan has worked to provide equity and fairness in Suffolk County. She authored the “Ban the Box” legislation, which removes the conviction history “check box” from job applications. It addresses the concern that applicants with criminal records should have the opportunity to get their foot in the door and address their criminal history with a prospective employer later in the process. Ban the Box also protects the employers right to investigate the backgrounds of its applicants after an initial interview. Susan also authored legislation to improve the quality and affordability of housing in Suffolk County by requiring a portion of the County’s contribution to any future affordable housing development be used to create units that remain affordable in perpetuity. This initiative will give more people a chance to live and work in Suffolk County. In an effort to combat illegal squatters, Susan sponsored legislation which requires that the County notify public utilities when homes owned by the County become vacant. Susan also sponsored legislation designating June “LGBTQ+ Pride Month” in Suffolk County to honor the County’s diverse LGBTQ+ community and to affirm that everyone has the right to live without fear of prejudice, discrimination, violence or hatred.
Susan has been deeply involved in environmental efforts, working to protect open space and our fragile aquifer, avert overdevelopment and maintain our vital infrastructure. As Legislator, she voted to reauthorize the Long Island Commission for Aquifer Protection; to mitigate plastic and Styrofoam pollution; to modernize the Suffolk County Transit bus fleet with new hybrid-electric buses; and supported an initiative to create the Marine Industry Revitalization Advisory Council, of which she is a member.
Susan is committed to the safety and well-being of Suffolk County’s residents. Susan sponsored legislation that officially declared May as “Asthma and Allergy Awareness” Month in Suffolk County. Susan took the lead in addressing the importance of asthma inhaler education through the “Know the Difference” campaign, requiring stores that contain a pharmacy in Suffolk County to post the “Know the Difference” poster. The poster, developed in conjunction with the Asthma Coalition of Long Island, the Allergy & Asthma Network, the New York State Children’s Environmental Health Centers, the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition and the Suffolk County Department of Health Services displays examples of “rescue” and controller medications so that people can know the difference and safely use their inhalers.
Susan introduced and championed legislation to require that any criminal offense committed against a person at a water park or an amusement park be immediately reported to law enforcement. Susan worked to establish a free sunscreen dispenser program at twenty-one County parks, beaches and golf courses to provide access to protection from harmful ultraviolet radiation and to reduce the incidence of skin cancer and melanoma in Suffolk County. She supported measures banning cigarette sales from pharmacies and appropriated funding for the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. She is committed to using the office of Legislator to bring awareness to crucial causes and introduced resolutions declaring October “Dyslexia Awareness Month” and May 14th “Childhood Apraxia of Speech Day” in Suffolk County.
Susan advocates for transparency in government and has introduced legislation requiring that all gifts given to the County be vetted by the receiving department or the procurement department before being presented to the Legislature.
Susan is a staunch supporter of the arts and, as a member of the Operating Budget Working Group, fought to bring funding back to the 16th Legislative District for vital cultural arts programs.
Independent of her role as a public servant, Susan is an engaged and proud Dix Hills resident. She is a past Vice President and Member of the Board of Directors of House Beautiful in Dix Hills, one of the leading civic associations in the Town of Huntington and a member of Temple Beth Torah in Melville.
Numerous civic and charitable organizations have honored Susan for her many contributions to the community. As Legislator, she has been recognized by Senior Net as well as the Police Surgeons Benevolent Association. She was honored by organizations including the Townwide Fund of Huntington, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Young Leaders, the Melville Chamber of Commerce and the Child Care Council of Suffolk County.
Susan is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, where she worked as a New York State Senate aide, and later graduated from Hofstra University School of Law where she currently serves as an Adjunct Law Professor. Before her election to the Suffolk County Legislature and Huntington Town Board, Susan served as a New York State Assistant Attorney General in the Prisoners Litigation Division where she prosecuted parole violators and kept dangerous criminals off our streets, an Assistant Town Attorney for the Town of Huntington and as an attorney in private practice. She lives in Dix Hills with her husband and four children.