David Lys, the incumbent East Hampton Town councilman running on the Democratic, Working Families and East Hampton Unity party lines to keep his seat, and Manny Vilar, his Republican and Conservative-endorsed challenger, both said this week they are feeling confident as Election Day approaches.
The East Hampton Town Board special election is to fill the final year of the four-year term vacated when former board member Peter Van Scoyoc was elected town supervisor in 2017.
“I feel that everything I’ve done, the way that I’ve gone about directing my campaign, is going to be fruitful,” Mr. Lys said. “I feel I’ve stayed above the fray, stayed to my platform, stayed positive and I think it will resonate with the voters of East Hampton.”
Mr. Lys, 42, of Springs, has said the town needs more affordable housing options and higher-paying jobs through “industries that don’t change the character of the community.” He said the needs of both seniors and youth need to be addressed more thoroughly; drinking and surface waters need protection; and coastal resiliency needs to be accounted for via zoning and planning.
He said while he supports renewable energy, he voted against Deepwater Wind’s South Fork Wind Farm because he felt it was an incomplete application. He said he believes the airport is an asset to the town but that it has been “commercialized to the point where it has become a health and safety hazard” not just in East Hampton but in surrounding communities as well. He also wants to beef up communications between the town, police and schools to increase safety and security.
“I’ve been participating out here for the last decade right now, either in other civic organizations or the Zoning Board of Appeals,” Mr. Lys said. “I’m not coming out here from the 30,000-foot-view, taking Albany views and trying to correct East Hampton. I’ve been boots-on-the-ground here, and it’s allowed me to get a lot of work done in a short amount of time, and I look forward to getting more done in the coming year.”
Mr. Vilar, 58, of Springs, said he feels there has been a “tremendous reception” to his message.
“Everybody understands the need to have a balanced town board,” he said. “You can’t have five people from one political party, regardless of whether they’re agreeing or not agreeing.”
He has said the town needs more transparency in its operations, calling for an agency similar to New York State’s Joint Commission on Ethics. He has said the town needs to do a review of its employee job classifications for the purpose of making sure they are paid a living wage, appropriately spending money and building longevity among staff. He has called for longer-term planning and creating a business plan, saying, “I find it hard to believe that East Hampton has no office of economic development, nor do they have a written economic plan in place. The trickle-down effect is that we end up with an economic policy that is based on zoning.” He said he will also push for a better emergency communications system, saying the current plans and equipment have been tied up in red tape.
“If they elect me, they’re going to get someone who has experience in emergency management, law enforcement, criminal prosecution, government finance, labor relations, legislative experience, a recognized expert at the labor relations board and is an actual, registered lobbyist,” Mr. Vilar said. “It is a world of experience, skill and training that you just cannot acquire from the school board, the zoning board, the planning board or even time on the town board.”