Southold Democrats announce their election slate

05/26/2015 7:45 PM |
The Southold Town Democratic Committee's 2015 slate: (from left) Brian Hughes for Justice, Debra O'Kane for Town Board, Matt Kapell for Trustee, Damon Rallis for Supervisor, Albie de Kerillis for Town Board, Nick Krupski for Trustee and Linda Goldsmith for Assessor. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

The Southold Town Democratic Committee’s 2015 slate: (from left) Brian Hughes for Justice, Debra O’Kane for Town Board, Matt Kapell for Trustee, Damon Rallis for Supervisor, Albie de Kerillis for Town Board, Nick Krupski for Trustee and Linda Goldsmith for Assessor. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

The Southold Town Democratic Committee announced its 2015 town candidates Tuesday night, nominating a mix of first-time nominees and challengers from past years.

As expected, Damon Rallis, a 15-year town employee, will challenge Scott Russell for Town Supervisor. In his acceptance speech during the nominating convention at Touch of Venice in Cutchogue, the Mattituck resident and native of Greenport stressed finding ways to keep younger residents on the North Fork as a priority of his campaign.

“Over the years [my wife and I] have watched as friends, relatives, some of our town’s best and brightest, have left Southold, either because of a restricted access to good-paying jobs, a lack of affordable housing, or because the cost of doing business here is out of their reach,” he said.

He vowed to be a candidate with “no strings attached” and “no self-interests,” saying he wants to represent the town with “honor, pride and humility.”

Mr. Rallis counted fiscal responsibility at Town Hall, protecting natural resources, balancing quality of life and transparent government as hallmarks of his campaign.

A pair of familiar last names will join Mr. Rallis on the ticket as Nick Krupski, son of County Legislator Al Krupski, and Matt Kapell, son of former Greenport mayor Dave Kapell, were nominated for Trustee.

A field operator with the Suffolk County Water Authority, Mr. Krupski, 26, previously worked in the marine program at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Riverhead. He studied geology and environmental science at SUNY Cortland before earning a graduate degree in biology and education at Long Island University’s C.W. Post campus.

The Cutchogue resident said he has known he wanted to pursue a career as a public servant from when his father served as a Trustee as he was growing up, but his time in college and working at Cornell cemented those aspirations.

“I’ve really learned a lot and had the good fortune to work with a lot of scientists across Long Island,” he said in an interview Saturday. “I know the science behind [water issues] and that’s what I want to bring to the Trustees.”

Mr. Kapell, 34, said he appreciates the Democrats’ “choice to accept younger candidates,” and like Mr. Krupski he stressed how growing up in Southold Town has made him keenly aware of issues on the water, including dock regulations, water quality and nitrate pollutions.

“We’ve made great progress preserving land,” Mr. Kapell said. “I think it’s time we make the same commitment to protecting our creeks.”

Mr. Krupski and Mr. Kapell of Greenport will face Republican nominees Dave Bergen, an incumbent from Cutchogue, and first-time candidate Glenn Goldsmith of Southold. Incumbent Jim King is not seeking re-election.

Brian Hughes of Southold, who lost a bid for Town Justice in 2011, will challenge the Republicans’ losing candidate from 2013, William Goggins. Longtime Judge Rudolph Bruer, who defeated Mr. Hughes by nearly 1,500 votes four years ago, did not seek re-election.

Mr. Hughes, an attorney and former FDNY firefighter and fire marshal, pointed to the arrest and conviction of former justice court clerk Christine Stulsky for stealing from the town’s bail fund as a major problem in the courts that needs addressing, saying ethics need to be restored to the court.

“With nobody noticing, half the court’s proceeds went missing,” he said, referring to the more than $260,000 Ms. Stulsky admitted to stealing. “I want to have someone watching that.”

Mr. Hughes, a registered Independent, said he would bring courtroom experience, executive administrative experience, and ethical considerations to the office.

Albie de Kerillis, who lost a bid for Town Board by just over 100 votes in 2009 while running as a Republican, was nominated by the Democrats Tuesday for another crack at the seat.

A fireman on Plum Island and a registered Republican, Mr. de Kerillis said town Republicans had offered him a spot to run for Trustee, but he turned that down to run for the office he narrowly missed six years ago, when former councilmen Al Krupski and Chris Talbot defeated him. He also later lost a bid for County Legislator to Mr. Krupski.

“You would have laughed looking at my face when I heard another Krupski was running,” he joked, adding that he was happy to learn he was on the same ticket as Nick.

Mr. de Kerillis of East Marion listed fiscal responsibility, and land and water preservation, as priorities for his platform.

His Town Board running mate Debra O’Kane, a former executive director of North Fork Environmental Council, also stressed that the environment is a top concern.

“And we need to balance environmental interests with economic interests,” she said.

Ms. O’Kane of Orient added that making sure that recommendations in the town’s 2020 Comprehensive Plan are enacted would be a priority.

Ms. O’Kane and Mr. de Kerillis will face incumbent Republicans Jill Doherty and Bill Ruland.

Linda Goldsmith, a 25-year member of the Oysterponds Board of Education, was nominated for Town Assessor, where she’ll face incumbent Republican Rich Caggiano on the ticket.

Ms. Goldsmith of East Marion stressed that she likes working with people and she spoke of her family’s deep roots in the community during her acceptance speech.

“My children are already looking to buy property here so [my grandchildren] can always live here,” she said. “And I will always live here … I think I live in heaven.”

Ms. Goldsmith also discussed exploring why so many people have to grieve their taxes as a goal for her term, if elected.

Democrats did not select a candidate for Receiver of Taxes, a position the committee believes should not be elected. Republican incumbent George Sullivan will run unopposed for that seat.

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