I would like to directly respond to the attacks that I have been receiving online and on social media in recent days. In the past weeks I have been targeted by a coordinated group of politically affiliated social media trolls as well as receiving threatening private messages.
It saddens me that members of our community and local politics act this way. I have anticipated since I began my run for office that this issue was going to be brought up and that I would have to speak to it. I just expected it in more of a civil and legitimate way.
In 2015 there was a police sting operation on my winery tasting room where I was working. A woman came in to buy a bottle of wine. I carded her but did the math wrong — right year, wrong month. An honest mistake. The business was fined. There is no conviction on my record. I take full responsibility for a mistake that I made and at the time it made me aware of areas of my business that needed safeguards, which have now been put in place. I remain a law-abiding citizen, as I have always been. This mistake doesn’t, as I am now accused, affect my ability to be a great mom, love my kids or do what’s best for them or any child. It also doesn’t affect my ability to run a successful business and farm or affect my ability to make decisions for the betterment of our town.
The context is important, too, as my business was specifically targeted, and the only winery included, before or since. In the week prior to this incident, we were also reported to the NYS Liquor Authority, NYS Ag and Markets, and the Health Department, all of whom later followed up with us and informed us that we had been reported for violations, of which none were found.
We all choose to live in this bucolic place and it’s hard to think of things as less than perfect, but I am not alone. Ask your neighbors to tell you how they have been treated by this administration. Ask our small business community to tell you what they have had to go through just to be in business in this town. I promise that when I am on the Town Board there will be no more bullying, no more selective enforcement, no more intimidation, and no more targeted retribution. When I’m on the Town Board I will bring back a culture of civility and respect and make it possible for any member of our community to express their policy opinions openly, and without fear, because that is a small-town democracy.
But I say now, in the words of one of my favorite people, “when they go low, we go high.” Stay the course; don’t be distracted by their tactics. Spread the word, tell people how we will be real leaders in Town Hall and there will be a change of culture in this town that is starting from the top.
This isn’t the last attack they are going to hit us with. There will be more, next week, the week after, all the way up to Nov. 5. We need each of you, more than ever, right now. Enough is enough. It’s time to have your voices heard at the polls.
The author is a Democratic candidate for Southold Town Board.