Last week I changed my party registration from Republican to Independent. This decision left many scratching their heads wondering why I would do such a thing. Why would I leave the party with the most registrants in my district and in the county? Why would I offend the very people who have supported me the most through the years? Why would I choose a minor party with a much smaller registration base? Why would I risk my political career at a time when things are going so well?Â
It is unfortunate that several newspapers portrayed my actions in a very different way than they were intended. These papers used sensationalized headlines proclaiming that I dumped or turned my back on the Republican Party. That is simply not the case.
To change my registration was purely a personal decision. It was not meant to offend anyone. Political party membership is an individual choice. It reflects how we view ourselves. In my political life I strive to be independent and fairly represent all of my constituents. I often see both sides of an issue.Â I work with the entire community to build consensus and solve problems.
At the Village level national party lines are not permitted. Candidates run with local party labels like “The Hook Mill Party.” At the County level it is difficult to win an election without major party support. However, these national party labels can reflect political agendas and ideologies that differ from those of the local parties and their candidates.
Most people do not walk around with a sign saying what party they belong to. But for elected officials, we are often identified by our party membership. Almost every time my name appears it is with the letter “R” after it. There’s nothing wrong with the letter “R” and the party it represents. I agree with the core republican philosophy of small government, low taxes, supporting businesses and maintaining a strong national defense.Â I have nothing against Republicans and I am conceivably more “republican” today then at the time I first registered as a Republican five years ago. I have supported local republican candidates and I believe the local Republican Party well serves the communities of the East End.
Normally when an elected official changes their registration it is to go to the other side, the other major party. I am not doing that. In fact, I am asking the Republican Party to continue to support me as an Independent. When I first entered politics I was not registered in any political party. I successfully ran for Supervisor with the endorsement of the Republican, Conservative and Green Party. I served for two terms supported by the Republican Party. Five years ago when I ran for County Legislature I decided to enroll as a member of the local Republican Party. I have often qualified that decision by distinguishing the local Republican Party from the national party.
Through the years I have contributed to the agenda of the local Republican Party, cutting property taxes and taking strong positions on community issues like housing, environment, transportation and health care. The local Republican Party has a long and proud reputation for fighting for the needs of working families.
Through the years the Republican Party at the national level has been defining itself quite differently. I found myself too often explaining and distinguishing myself from the letter that appears after my name. I began to feel that I could better serve my community by regaining my independent status. I considered the change for over a year. Independence Day seemed like a fitting occasion.
Although some have interpreted my change as “jumping ship,” in many ways I am putting more faith in the Republican Party than I ever have. This is especially true of its local leaders. I am asking them to continue to support me as an independent, knowing that if they abandon me I will have a challenging re-election battle.Â
What makes America great is the freedom we have to chart our own course, to follow our inner voice. Declaring my independence was a personal choice and I hope that many of you will better understand my decision from this statement. I look forward to continuing to serve the community I love.Â
Suffolk County Legislator
Support of Family, Friends, Neighbors
The devastating loss of our home last Tuesday dealt us a horrific blow. More than the house and the furnishings, we lost all the treasured things that had so many precious memories attached to them. But through the tragedy, shock and disbelief, we have made new memories that we will always hold dear.
The valiant and tireless efforts of the volunteer firefighters from East Hampton, Springs, Amagansett, Montauk, Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton to save our home and to protect our neighbor’s property and the caring support of the East Hampton ambulance crew will never be forgotten.
The many, many expressions of grief and sympathy, coupled with generous offers of help from friends, neighbors and community members has been overwhelming. Because there is so little to be done immediately to ease the pain, they share our profound sense of helplessness.
But we are enormously grateful for all their sympathy, thoughts and good wishes, because, individually and collectively, they are a powerful balm that soothes our pain and lifts our spirits.
Last but not least, we are blessed with our own amazing selfless and loving families who have embraced us and given us strength in our desperation.
To everyone who has helped us in these ways, we wish to express our deepest appreciation and profound thanks.
Pat, Michele, Steven, Thomas and Adrian Trunzo
Kudos for Superintendent Search
The current Sag Harbor Board of Education has taken the initiative to take control of a district in need of better accountability. By developing its Strategic Plan early in the 2007-8 school year, the Board has sought to improve the performance of the students, the teachers, and the administrators while keeping a close eye on expenditures. With the departure of Kathryn Holden, our board established a schedule for finding a replacement. When the search for the new superintendent began, input from some 40+ special groups in the schools and community and the general public was solicited by the board. Responses to a survey were sent via fax, email or snail mail to School Leadership, LLC and the responses were analyzed. A list of 75 applicants was whittled down to a list of six finalists who met the board’s criteria, a criteria determined from the information culled by School Leadership, LLC.
To accomplish the weighty task of selecting a new superintendent, the BOE sacrificed their family time to interview finalists during Mother’s Day weekend. Yet, special interest groups protest the “process,” not the new superintendent. Would this rancor over the “process” have occurred if a different local finalist had been selected? Of course not. There is nothing in the law that says that a Board of Education must allow special interest groups to interview the finalists. Does it make sense to allow any bargaining unit any influence in selecting the superintendent who will sit across from them at the negotiation table? Of course not. Rather than be unfairly swayed by any group, the board chose to rely on their collective skills and the information privy to board members to make the best choice for the children and the community. That is the Board of Ed’s responsibility and we are glad that this current board is doing the job they were elected to fulfill. The BOE should not be beholden to any special interest group. Everyone had a chance to be heard early in the process. Thank you, BOE, for remaining steadfast in accepting your responsibility.
There have been times when we have disagreed with the board, but we have remained respectful and civil. Those who dislike the “process” instead chose to conduct themselves in other ways. To criticize the BOE for not soliciting additional input from special interest groups is myopic. To accuse the BOE of perfidy is divisive and contrary to all the public input sessions/meetings/committees they have established to improve transparency. To disrupt the June 5, 2007 public meeting was unconscionable. Instead this board should be complimented for finding a qualified superintendent and for working to improve accountability for all parties involved, including themselves.
Elena Loreto, School Matters Coordinator, Noyac Civic Council
Chuck Neuman, President, Noyac Civil Council
Successful House Tour
The Friends of the John Jermain Library would like to thank all who contributed so generously to the success of our recent house tour. We are truly grateful for the generosity and cooperation of homeowners who offered their homes, the merchants in the village, eth Sag Harbor Police and community leaders and especially the volunteers who worked so diligently on the day of the tour. We would also like to thank the library board of trustees and the library staff for their unlimited support.
It was a great day and we are extremely pleased that the library will benefit from your participation in this important fundraising event.
Many, many thanks,
Chris Tice and Judith Cash
House Tour Co-chairs