Next Tuesday, residents in Southampton Town will be asked to select Julie Lofstad or Richard Yastrzemski for the town board seat left vacant by the resignation of Brad Bender, who pled guilty to federal drug distribution charges late last year.
Both candidates are certainly qualified for the position. Ms. Lofstad, whose backing ranges from the Democratic to the Conservative Party, runs a commercial fishing business with her husband and has been active in community affairs for many years. Mr. Yastrzemski, a financial advisor, has served on the Southampton Village Board for eight years, four as deputy mayor.
Ultimately, though, this election is as much about Jay Schneiderman as either candidate. Mr. Schneiderman defeated Mr. Yastrzemski in the race for supervisor in November, and if Ms. Lofstad is elected, he will have the support he needs to put his stamp on town government. Mr. Schneiderman, first as East Hampton supervisor and later as a Suffolk County legislator, has proven himself to be a pragmatic leader, who takes good care of taxpayers’ money.
By electing Ms. Lofstad on Tuesday, voters will help the wheels of government turn more smoothly for the next two years rather than grind to a halt with the obstructionism that can be expected if the supervisor finds himself in the minority.