Election 2015

Election 2015: Meet Your Southold Town Candidates

Town Board, four-year term, two open seats


T1029_Board_dekerillis_C.jpgAlbie de Kerillis

Hamlet: East Marion

Occupation: Lab support and fireman on Plum Island

Party lines: Democrat, Working Families

About him: Mr. de Kerillis, 48, graduated from culinary school and served in the U.S. Army before taking on various roles on the North Fork, where he has lived for more than 20 years. He has served on the Orient-East Marion Park District as commissioner, chairman and treasurer and is a volunteer firefighter in Greenport. He lost a 2009 Town Board bid by just 106 votes and also lost a county legislature race in 2013.

His pitch: Mr. De Kerillis cites his military and fire department experience, his history cutting taxes in the Orient-East Marion Park District and his work raising a family on the North Fork as his primary qualifications for a seat as councilman. He has vowed to bring fresh ideas to the table and turn them into solutions. A registered Republican running for public office on the Democratic line, he counts political independence as a hallmark of his campaign. He said he would not succumb to political pressure when making important decisions that could impact quality of life for Southold Town residents.

In his words: “I will work hard to ensure accountability and fiscal responsibility so that tax dollars aren’t wasted or mismanaged.”

T1029_Board_Doherty_C.jpgJill Doherty

Hamlet: New Suffolk

Occupation: Town councilwoman; bookkeeper and office manager at Creative Environmental Design in Peconic

Party lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform

About her: Ms. Doherty, 51, is a longtime Southold Town resident and the mother of a college-age son and daughter. She is seeking a second term on the board after being elected in 2011. Ms. Doherty previously worked as a clerk in Town Hall for 12 years and was elected to two terms on the Board of Trustees, where she had served as president. She is vice president of the Mattituck Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary and has served on the Southold Town shellfish advisory and tree committees.

Her pitch: Ms. Doherty said her experience working in Town Hall for nearly 20 years before being elected to her first term on the Town Board prepared her to hit the ground running. She said she uses a “common sense” approach when handling issues and always tries to look at how her decisions will impact the community as a whole, particularly in updating town code.

In her words: “I look at things globally and how it will affect everyone. I balance the property rights of the individual with the rights of the community, while taking the environment into consideration.”

Editor’s Note: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this profile referred to Ms. Doherty as a lifelong Southold Town resident. She has lived here for more 30 years but grew up elsewhere. We regret the error.

T1029_Board_OKane_C.jpgDebra O’Kane

Hamlet: Orient

Occupation: Office administrator at Saundra Perry Physical Therapy

Party lines: Democrat, Working Families, Women’s Equality

About her: Ms. O’Kane, 59, has served as an environmental educator and advocate in Southold Town for nearly 20 years. Beginning in 1996, she served as program coordinator and then as executive director of the North Fork Environmental Council. She is currently president of the North Fork Audubon Society. She has also worked in a variety of full- and part-time jobs in the private sector.

Her pitch: During her time with North Fork Environmental Council she said she helped to spearhead the campaign to enact the Community Preservation Fund, a 2 percent tax on real estate transfers that has raised more than $1 billion for land preservation across the East End. Her experience as executive director of NFEC earned her the respect of local businesses, which awarded her a scholarship to attend the Columbia Business School’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management’s Leadership Development Program, she said. She has vowed to use her knowledge of environmental issues and her understanding of the struggles business owners face to help guide decisions in Town Hall.

In her words: “We enjoy a very special quality of life here in Southold Town. We love our farmland and our wetlands, our beaches and our open spaces. Southold wouldn’t be Southold without the emphasis on preservation and the many contributions of the environmental community.”

T1029_Board_Ruland_C.jpgWilliam Ruland

Hamlet: Mattituck

Occupation: Town councilman; farmer

Party lines: Republican, Conservative, Independence, Reform

About him: Mr. Ruland, 67, was first elected to the Southold Town Board in 2007 and currently serves in a dual role as deputy supervisor. He is a lifelong Mattituck resident and graduate of the local high school. He previously served on the Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education for 24 years, including 13 as president. A third-generation farmer, he was the Long Island Farm Bureau’s Amherst Davis Memorial Farmer Citizen of the Year in 2002. He and his wife have two grown children and four grandchildren.

His pitch: Mr. Ruland said his lifelong desire to serve his community and his varied experience on the school and town boards have spurred him to seek a third term. He pointed to his experience developing budgets, negotiating labor contracts and overseeing construction of facilities as skills and experience he applies to the job. His work on his family farm and with the board of the Long Island Farm Bureau has also helped him gain an understanding of the agricultural industry and how it has changed on the North Fork, he said. Keeping government small, practicing sound fiscal management and prioritizing needs over wants would be among his goals for a third term.

In his words: “My knowledge, abilities and experience in public service continue to make me extremely qualified to benefit and enhance the lives of the people of Southold Town. My passion to maintain the rural character of the town I have called home for my entire life is unequaled.”