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East Hampton Democratic Convention

On the night of May 17th, at St. Michael’s Church and after munching on a repast of a variety of cheeses, crackers, cookies, and slices of watermelon, along with sipping hot coffee, iced teas, and wine, the Screening Committee of the regular East Hampton Democratic committee presented their slate of nominees after months of an intensive process of interviewing all comers.

Betty Mazur, the chairwoman of the committee, presented the Trustee candidates, including incumbents, Francis Bock, Rick Drew, Bill Taylor, & Brian Byrnes.  The other candidates, making up a slate of nine include, Susan McGraw Keber, Francesca Renannon, Dell Cullum, John Aldred and Rona Kolpman. Town Clerk Carole Brennan, Highway Superintendent Steve Lynch and Judge Steven Tekulsky will each seek re-election to their present position Mazur told the crowd of some 70 people.   

Afton Disunno rose to nominate Kathee Burke-Gonzalez for a second term as a council  member of the Town Board listing some of the many problems she has worked on, which included the complicated issue of the airport. She was also involved in the development of the rental registry and shepherding it to become a law. Ms. Gonzalez has served as the liaison to the Senior Center and is involved in the plans to bring about a new building to replace the aging present building and meet the goals of an increasingly aging population. Access to mental health services, particularly for students, has been another difficulty that she has focused on. Committeeman Larry Smith also told of some of her other accomplishments when he seconded the nomination.

Presenting the nomination of the well known and respected lawyer Jeffery Bragman, Averil Gues spoke of Jeff’s history of his legal services on the Town Boards and of the heroic battles he has fought over the years to maintain the quality of life in our extraordinary town. Jeff, she pointing to an example, worked to keep the land across from the Bridgehampton Commons, known as the Gateway project from becoming a reality. Jeff has spent years working to maintain our quality of life.  His nomination was seconded by Jim McMillan.

Former chair of the party and our campaign manager, Chris Kelly rose to present Peter Van Scoyoc’s as the committee’s choice for Supervisor. Mr. Van Scoyoc, who has served on both the Planning and Zoning Boards, and been elected twice to the Town Board, has numerable projects he has been involved in, including the Ft. Pond house, Duck Creek Farm. Kelly also stated that Van Scoyoc’s has demonstrated his commitment to affordable housing as evidenced by the 114 projects and Manor House. He also has been a strong proponent of the Town’s goal of energy sustainability by 2020. His nomination was seconded by Andy Harris.

Kathee accepted her nomination and spoke of her commitment to the East Hampton, a community she loves. She spoke about the confidence in government the Town Board has worked to restore. Working with the seniors and on mental health issue particularly in light of the substance abuse crisis has been part of her passion to serve the people.

Jeff, accepting his nomination, told the audience that he was new to this process as he has a long term career of serving the community by fighting for issues he felt were important like water quality as ‘water is life.’ He spoke of the special character of our area, ‘no one is richer than we are.’

The candidate for supervisor, Peter, told, as he was standing at the front of the chapel where the meeting was held, his father, a minister, would be happy to see him there. He spoke of his call to duty to protect all that we have in our town. The energy sustainability goals we have proposed will change the way we are living, including reducing among the highest electric bills in the country that we are forced to pay and that our lines should be buried. His vision for our town of preserving our natural resources, our history, and our water was applauded by all.