The Southold Town Republican Committee announced a 2017 election slate Tuesday that includes a pair of newcomers, including a town justice candidate who is so far running unopposed.
Eileen Powers, an attorney from Southold who ran an unsuccessful primary campaign two years ago, is the party’s nominee to replace retiring Judge William Price.
Ms. Powers said she’s been interested in running for town justice her entire career as a trial attorney with a private practice in Riverhead. She also served nearly a decade in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office and previously worked as a town attorney in Southampton, as well as village attorney in Belle Terre.
“I’m a former prosecutor, former town attorney, I’ve practiced on both sides of the aisle so I think I’m uniquely qualified to be town justice,” Ms. Powers said at the party’s nominating convention at the Southold American Legion hall.
Ms. Powers challenged Mattituck attorney William Goggins in a primary for the nomination in 2015 but lost by 132 votes.
“I thought I was a good candidate then so I put my name in,” she said. “I learned a lot from it. I intend to work hard this time.”
The other new name on the ballot this time around is Greg Williams, owner of Country Time Cycle in Mattituck, who is seeking a seat on the Board of Trustees. Current Trustee Charles Sanders will instead run for assessor.
Mr. Williams, 44, of Cutchogue is a lifelong resident on the North Fork. Having grown up on Deep Hole Creek in a boating family, Mr. Williams said he is committed to preserving the waterways for generations to come.
“I’m concerned about nitrogen infiltration, harmful algae blooms,” he said, adding that he’s an avid fisherman. “I just want to give back to the community and serve the Town of Southold and serve the Board of Trustees.”
“They’re people who are lifelong residents of the town, who have experience in the town and they’re willing to now use that experience and give back to their community as elected officials,” he said.
Mr. McGreevy called the overall ticket a “strong slate” of experienced candidates.
Running alongside Mr. Williams for Trustee will be John Bredemeyer, 66, of Orient. A trustee for 18 years, Mr. Bredemeyer said he hopes to continue to use his skillset from 25 years as a Peconic Estuary researcher for another three-year term.
“It’s been an honor to be a trustee,” he said. “It’s something that I cherish and for the time that we’re here we can do good things. I’m glad to serve.”
There are a number of projects the trustees having been working on, he said, including new notification signs of shellfishing permit requirements.
Also running to keep his seat is current trustee president Mike Domino, who was not present at Tuesday’s nominating convention.
Trustee Charles Sanders will vacate his seat to pursue replacing longtime assessor Robert Scott, who will not seek re-election this year.
“I served seven terms, 28 years, that’s probably enough at this point,” Mr. Scott said in a telephone call prior to the convention.
Mr. Sanders, 49, of Greenport said the assessor seat is a “really good fit” for him given his background as a real estate broker.
As an assessor, he said he would help people problem solve when grieving their taxes and make sure veterans on the North Fork know what exemptions are available to them. An Army veteran and reserve in the Army National Guard, Mr. Sanders served twice in Afghanistan and recently returned from a deployment to Guantanamo Bay.
“[The veterans exemption] is huge, it really helped me out a lot,” he said. “When the market crashed in 2008, I was this close to losing my home.”
Assessor Kevin Webster, who was first elected in 2005, is seeking re-election. He said the office currently works to make sure everyone’s questions are answered and works well with the Building Department.
“I feel like it’s the perfect job for me,” he said. “I get to help the people with all sorts of issues that go on at the assessor’s office from deed transfers, from exemptions—that’s a big part of what we do to make sure they have a fair assessment from Orient to Laurel.”
As for Town Board seats, Greenport residents Jim Dinizio and Bob Ghosio will vie for second terms.
“The first four years have been so much fun, that I’ve decided I want to do it again,” said Mr. Dinizio, a Conservative who previously served 25 years on the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. Mr. Dinizio stressed that he’s also learned a lot during his time on the board.
Mr. Ghosio, a former trustee, said the focus of his second term would be to develop the town’s new wildlife management position, bring more people into the town’s land preservation program and work toward resolving the helicopter noise issue.
“Being nominated never gets old because it’s an affirmation of the committee’s commitment to me and my commitment to the town,” he said. “I’ve tried so hard over the years to do everything I can to be a good representative for not only my committee and the Republican party but also for the folks who live in town.”
Fishers Island Justice Louisa Evans is also on the slate running unopposed. She was not at the party’s nominating event.
Vincent Orlando, a former Town Board member, will seek a second four-year term as highway superintendent. The department is always working on improving infrastructure, drainage and equipment in the town, he said.
“I am humbled and honored to once again represent the Southold GOP as the highway superintendent,” he said. “It’s not an exciting job, but it’s very rewarding and very important to do to keep the infrastructure safe for people in the community.”
Town Clerk Elizabeth Neville, who has held the position since 1998 and has worked for the town for 46 years, is also running unopposed.
“It’s very satisfying and gratifying just to be able to help people every day,” she said. “I just love it. Every day is different. “
Overall, the Republican committee’s deliberations on this year’s slate took more than two hours Tuesday night.
GOP chairman Peter McGreevy said he likes to open up the discussion among the committee members and that he does not think anyone will look to run a primary campaign this year.
“I think everyone needs to be able to voice their opinion and everyone needs to have an open discussion on the different candidates, their qualifications, their highlights,” he said of the process.