18 Candidates Vying for Nine Trustee Seats in East Hampton Town
For the nine seats on the East Hampton Town Trustees, which oversees harbors, bays and beaches in East Hampton, 18 candidates are vying for votes. Among them are six incumbents and one other candidate with previous trustee experience. Terms are two years long.
John Aldred (D, I, WF)
Mr. Aldred has an extensive background in aquaculture locally. In the 1970s he worked in the ocean research lab in Montauk and later launched and ran East Hampton’s shellfish hatchery. He also founded Multiaquaculture Systems, a fish farm in Napeague. He says his priorities are improving water quality and continuing the interactive and cooperative outreach with other municipal entities and local groups that the trustees have undertaken of late. He is running on the Democrat, Independence and Working Families lines.
Joseph Bloecker (R, C, I)
Mr. Bloecker is seeking to return to the Board of Trustees after previously serving six years on the board. He is a member of the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee, former co-chair of the East Hampton Town Cancer Task Force and a member of the town’s Nature Preserve Committee. A former Merchant Marine master, he has also worked as a commercial and party boat fisherman and as a contractor. He describes himself as a “beach access rights advocate.” He is running on the Republican, Conservative and Independence party lines.
Brian Byrnes (D, WF)
Mr. Byrnes is seeking his third term as a trustee. He is a member of the East Hampton Disability Advisory Board and a volunteer for the Amagansett Fire Department and the East Hampton Food Pantry. He has supported expansion of the shellfish hatchery, water quality improvement efforts and revitalization of the Harbor Management Committee, among other initiatives. He says he supports more water quality testing, protecting beach access and controlling pollution. He is running on the Democrat and Working Families lines.
Francis J. Bock (D, WF)
Mr. Bock, the current trustee clerk and a lifelong resident of East Hampton, is seeking his fourth term. He says he believes in strengthening relationships with outside agencies such as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and nonprofit and private groups. He supports use of community preservation funds for larger water quality projects outside of septic system replacements, such as dredging and restoring lands surrounding the waters. He is running on the Democrat and Working Families lines.
Gary Cobb (I, R, C)
Mr. Cobb is a U.S. Air Force veteran and former avionics professional with Grumman Aerospace Corporation. More recently he has worked as a commercial driver and is active in many civic organizations. He says he would push for regulations that would prohibit the use of fertilizers and pesticides on any watershed properties, and stands against the proposed landing of the transmission cable for the South Fork Wind Project on any trustee-owned beach. He is running on the Independence, Republican and Conservative lines.
Dell Cullum (D)
A native of Amagansett, former member of the U.S. Navy Submarine Force and environmental filmmaker, Mr. Cullum is known locally for his activism and support for wildlife protection. His platform primarily concerns keeping the beaches litter-free. “I have some great ideas for needed solutions and I know how to make them happen. My ideals do not come from a political angle, but rather a local perspective with the desire to benefit the local community first, and the visitors second,” he said. He is running as a Democrat.
Rick Drew (D, I, WF)
Mr. Drew, who describes himself as a recreational sportfisherman for the last 50 years, is seeking re-election as a trustee. He supports beach access rights and working with community groups to improve water quality. He has a degree in information technology and marine science from Southampton College. For the past ten years he has worked as a paddle sports instructor and dock master, while also raising money for several local causes. He is running on the Democrat, Independence and Working Families tickets.
Julie Evans (R, C, L)
Ms. Evans has a degree from New York University in broadcast journalism and environmental science. She is a former commercial striped bass fisherman and ran a charter boat business based in Montauk and the Florida Keys. She strongly supports water quality testing. She also supports beach access and said she would like to “identify access points to beaches that have been overlooked by the town.” She is a member of the Independence Party who has also been endorsed by the Republican, Conservative and Libertarian parties.
James Grimes (R, C)
Mr. Grimes is seeking his second term as a trustee. He is the owner of James Grimes Land Design and Fort Pond Native Plants, which specialize in reconstructing native plant communities. Mr. Grimes said his goals as a trustee include improving water quality, supporting public beach access and seasonal letting and dredging where appropriate, improving communication between public boards and “getting the service back in public service.” A resident of Montauk, he is running on the Republican and Conservative lines.
Michael Havens (R, C)
Mr. Havens is a lifelong resident of East Hampton and works as a bayman. In a letter to The Express, he said he hopes to “add my knowledge and experience to the discussions and projects regarding the harbors; to keep them open to navigation as well as stocked with fish and shellfish. To that end, the dredging of channels and other shoaled areas is imperative. The erosion of the beaches and the fisherman’s ability to access them is also important.” He is running as a Republican and a Conservative.
Lyndsey Hayes (R, C, I)
Ms. Hayes, who lives in Springs, studied marine science and oceanography at Eckerd College after spending much time working with her father, a commercial fisherman in Montauk. She has worked for Round Swamp Farm for 10 years and has also learned about small business by working in her mother’s hair salon. Her primary areas of concern are public access rights, taking care of water ecosystems, dredging certain areas and rehabilitating the commercial fishing and shellfishing industries. She is running as a Republican, Independent and Conservative lines.
Susan McGraw Keber (D, WF, WE)
Ms. Keber is a lifelong lover of the water and certified PADI rescue diver and first responder who was inspired to get involved in politics and give back to her community after last November’s elections. A 40-year resident of East Hampton, she formerly worked at Redbook Magazine and was an editor, writer and cartoonist-illustrator for numerous publications; had a radio show on WPPB; was an original producer and chair of benefits with LTV in East Hampton; and has been a licensed real estate broker for 25 years. She describes herself as an activist who is constantly learning and wants to see improved communication. She is a member of the Accabonac Protection Committee, Surfrider, Nature Conservancy and other environmental groups. She is running on the Democrat, Working Families and Women’s Equality lines.
Rona Klopman (D, I, WF, WE)
Ms. Klopman is a member of the East Hampton Litter and Recycling Committee, Temple Adas Israel board member and former Amagansett Citizens Committee chair. She supports water quality testing, expanding oyster seeding and making trustees’ terms staggered. She would also like to see trustee liaisons to the town board and zoning board created. A 29-year resident of Amagansett and frequent fixture at town meetings, she is running on the Democrat, Independence, Working Families and Women’s Equality party lines.
Diane McNally (R, C, I)
Ms. McNally, who is in her 28th year as a trustee, is seeking reelection. She was raised around the water and believes her experience and knowledge are assets to the board. She says it is “time to address the road runoff and ground water contamination that is affecting the beaches, bays and waters.” She has also questioned policies that she says may not be in the best overall interest of the town, such as certain dredging projects and piping plover habitat protection. She is running as a Republican, Conservative and Independent.
Francesca Rheannon (D, WF, WE)
Ms. Rheannon is a broadcast journalist and community organizer from Springs who has also taught courses on environmentally hazardous materials, emergency response and safety. She says she believes the trustees should develop a long-term water management plan, incorporate more scientific research, “work with nature” to prevent erosion, expand the shellfish hatchery and eelgrass restoration programs and continue to ramp up transparency. She is running on the Democrat, Working Families and Women’s Equality party lines.
Bill Taylor (D, I, WF)
Mr. Taylor is seeking his third term as a trustee. A Springs resident, he has made a career working on the water. He is a former barge captain who worked for 12 years as East Hampton’s senior harbormaster and for the last 17 years has served as its waterways management supervisor. He says he believes the trustees are an “underutilized asset” in the town. He supports cleaning up all bodies of water in town as well as dredging projects. He is running on the Democrat, Independence and Working Families party lines.
Susan Vorpahl (R, C, I)
Ms. Vorpahl was inspired to run for trustee to carry on the work of her father, the late Stuart B. Vorpahl Jr., from whom she learned about the waters, marine life and the environment. She has a background in business after a 27-year career with Riverhead Building Supply, and she currently works as a public safety dispatcher for the East Hampton Town Police Department. She is also a volunteer with the East Hampton Village Ambulance Association. She is running on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines.
Willy Wolter (R, C)
Mr. Wolter, a 12-year member of the EECO Farm board, decided to run for trustee after East Hampton Town bought 29 miles of beach in Napeague and, he says, “ended up with no real access for the people, which was totally wrong.” He has a background in business management, and believes trustees should not be permitted to have more than one full-time job. An avid fisherman, he believes there should be more help for fishermen, and he also supports dredging. He is running on the Republican and Conservative lines.