Guest Column: GOP candidates Stark, Williams in their own words

The Republican Primary for Suffolk County Legislator in the First Legislative District is today, June 27. Candidates Catherine Stark and Greg Williams explain in their own words why they’re running.

Catherine Stark: This is why I’m running.

I’m writing to ask for your support on Tuesday, June 27th, in the Republican Primary for Suffolk County Legislator in the First Legislative District. I look forward to the opportunity of working with you, the residents of the First District, as your next County Legislator. Together we can facilitate positive outcomes on the most important issues facing our home. As your legislator, I will:

– Provide more funding for our East End police departments, protecting families from those who bring crime and addiction to our streets;

– Fight to allow local government to put an end to unvetted migrants entering our communities, taxing our school systems and draining resources; 

– and as a fiscal conservative, I will stop the tax and spend liberal policies coming from Washington and Albany, which have increased inflation, making it difficult for families to survive.

I am a lifelong Riverhead resident and a fifth generation native of the North Fork. My great-great grandfather, John C. Stark, came to Southold in 1840 and lived there until the 1860s, when he started a farm in Baiting Hollow. Since then, our family has planted roots and grown throughout the East End.

My mother Patricia, and father, Jim Stark, who was also the 57th Supervisor of the Town of Riverhead, raised my three siblings and I in the family tradition of public service. In addition to volunteering with the Riverhead Lions Club and other community groups over the years, serving my community has been the focus of my career for three decades.

Throughout this time, I have developed a broad range of expertise in Suffolk County government. My experience has included crafting policy, lobbying for legislation and working closely with local mayors, trustees, supervisors, council members and commissioners. I began working for Suffolk County in 1996 — first for the clerk of the Legislature, then for the Department of Real Property Tax Services and ultimately for County Executive Bob Gaffney. Over the last 20 years, I have also had the pleasure of working for constituents on the East End. 

I’m committed to winning the First District seat for the people so I can continue to deliver on initiatives like protecting the environment, advocating for farmers, keeping government affordable and increasing public safety. Whether it is preserving farmland, open space, our drinking water, keeping our neighborhoods safe, or tackling a rising cost of living, I am confident there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

I hope I have earned your support and your vote, either during early voting this week or on primary day this Tuesday, June 27.

Greg Williams: I ask for your vote.

The issues facing Suffolk County are mounting. As you may know, the county has debt of approximately a billion dollars. Once we get over the sticker shock, we MUST become more financially responsible. Then there’s the influx of immigrants coming to our district from New York City, which will further strain our already challenged community resources. We also need to improve safety in our communities, and to work with our farmers to ensure that they can continue their farming operations and preserve our open spaces.  The permitting process cries out for streamlining so as to enhance growth for our local business. Finally, we must address traffic congestion, especially during peak seasons.

As a lifelong resident of the North Fork, I feel a responsibility to our community to help. With my experience as a Southold Town Trustee and a former member of the Conservation Advisory Council, I have worked successfully with town, county and state government agencies. In addition, I have owned and operated a bicycle shop in Mattituck for over 25 years, so my ties to the community could not be deeper. I have the skills and experience to represent all the residents of Suffolk County Legislative District 1 with dignity and respect.

We have serious issues that already are affecting our quality of life. We need serious people to do the work and address these problems.  I humbly offer myself, my passion for our community, my “can do, will do” approach to everything that I take on, and my commitment that no one will outwork me as I address these issues as the 1st Legislative District’s representative in our county government. 

I am asking for your vote on June 27. With your support, I can win, and get about the business of making life better for all of us.