Suffolk County Legislator Kate Browning was elected to office in November 2005 and re-elected in November 2007. She defines herself as a working mother and an activist. Before taking office, Legislator Browning worked as a school bus driver in order to make ends meet and have the same hours as her children while they attended school. She and her husband, Steve, have three children: Aoife, Sean, and Aodhan.
Born and raised Catholic in war-torn Belfast, Northern Ireland, Legislator Browning was subjected to violence and discrimination throughout The Troubles. At 19, Browning left Belfast for Germany, where she met Steve, who was serving in the U.S military. The couple settled in Shirley in 1989.
Legislator Browning is proud of her husband and her son, Sean, who both serve in the military. Steve is a police officer in New York City and retired from the Army National Guard in 2006. Sean is a member of the Air National Guard and has served three tours in Afghanistan. Aoife lives in Colorado and Aodhan attends William Floyd School District. Legislator Browning avidly supports our service members overseas and their families here at home.
As an elected official, Kate has and continues to be a strong voice for working people throughout Suffolk County. She continues to support legislation that will ease the tax burden on our families and seniors in her district. She is fighting to protect our environment, including the :
- Artist Lake and Carmans River
- Beaver Dam Creek
- preserve open space
- Yaphank Lakes
While driving a bus for the William Floyd School District in Shirley, Browning became active in TWU Local 252. Kate has experience fighting for what she believes in, as she has been at the forefront of tough contract negotiations at every bargaining cycle. Kate was a shop steward and an assistant shop steward, advocating for the rights of workers.
Legislator Browning’s interest in labor law and politics led her to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree from the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Md.
Legislator Browning is involved in four Legislative Committees. She’s the chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, where she has been a staunch advocate for reforming the social services system and how it houses needy families and individuals. Legislator Browning is also leading the fight to close down unregulated sober homes and remove them from residential communities, while creating real accountability for organizations that manage these facilities, all while understanding that individuals in recovery need stable and safe programs to better their lives.
She is the Vice Chair of the Labor, Workforce and Affordable Housing Committee, a member of the Public Safety and Public Information Committee, and the Consumer Protection Committee. Other County-Commissioned committees she is a member of include the Welfare to Work Commission, the Environmental Trust Review Board, the Trap and Skeet Relocation Committee, and the SC. Disability Advisory Board.
Kate has used her role as Vice Chair of Public Safety to advocate for more police officers on our streets. She was integral in having the Suffolk County Police Department’s Seventh Precinct become fully staffed. She has also led the fight to make the Suffolk County Legislature the most proactive level of government in protecting our most vulnerable populations from sex offenders. She was a prime sponsor to a law that makes it illegal for sex offenders to live within a ¼ mile of day care centers, playgrounds and schools. This was the first of its kind in New York State. Kate didn’t stop there. The county legislature through her leadership created a program through probation that uses GPS ankle bracelets for the most violent offenders, and she also passed a law that makes it illegal for sex offenders to go to general population emergency shelters in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster.
Legislator Browning has an outstanding record in protecting our environment. Throughout her two terms in office Kate has preserved over 600 acres, which the county has invested over $37 million to accomplish. There is an additional 1200 acres she is targeting in her district for preservation. Kate has made tremendous progress in restoring vital waterways in the third legislative district. Kate has allocated over $400,000 in resources to analyze the Forge River in Mastic and is now working on a cost share agreement with the Army Core of Engineers to remedy the problems the plague it.
She also appropriated over $2 million dollars for storm water remediation projects at the Forge River, Yaphank Lakes, and Bellport Bay. In addition, she funded a $250,000 project to eradicate invasive species in the Yaphank Lakes and has directed to Department of Environment and Energy to do the same for Artist Lake in Middle Island. Just recently the legislator brought attention to a harmful plume coming from Brookhaven Landfill that is threatening Beaver Dam Creek in Brookhaven, and the county health department is now working diligently to detect the extent of the plume and remediate it.