Trace Duryea has led the East Hampton Town Republican Committee through two elections that secured a Republican majority on the town board as well as in the town trustees. But this week Duryea announced she would step down from the helm of the committee and hand the reins over to Kurt Kappel.
A Springs resident, who is married to East Hampton Town Justice and Sag Harbor Village Acting Village Justice Lisa Rana, Kappel has served on the Republican Committee for eight years.
While the announcement was made this week, the vote was taken on January 11 and was unanimous. In addition to Kappel taking the chairman’s seat, Tom Knobel was also elected to the vice-chair position after Emil Everett stepped down to reportedly focus on his family and career.
Knobel, a former member of the town board and a former trustee, has previously served as the Republican Committee chairman in a seven-and-a-half year stretch. He currently works at the Suffolk County Board of Elections.
On Monday, Duryea said her decision to retire came after enduring two successful, but time consuming elections in 2009 and 2011.
“We got 11 people elected this past year, so I am very happy with the results,” said Duryea.
Duryea, whose late husband Perry Duryea was a New York State Assemblyman, said it was time to bring new energy and ideas to the party leadership.
“There are a lot of challenges and I look forward to meeting new people and looking for new ideas, while energizing our important local base who have made East Hampton the great place that it is,” said Kappel in a statement released by the committee late last week. “I want to remind people how East Hampton Republicans have restored our town’s finances, defended traditional rights like beach driving, and kept property taxes from rising. Each one of these important issues help protect our residents and future generations. However more work needs to be done. For instance, East Hampton still needs to provide an environment to create local year round jobs, and work on maintaining and preserving our beaches and fishing industries.”