Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman has decided not to run for East Hampton Town Supervisor this fall. Schneiderman made the announcement Monday, despite having received the support of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee earlier this month.
In a press release issued Monday morning, the Independence Party member said he would instead seek another two-year term with the legislature this fall — his sixth and last allowed under term limits.
“East Hampton is a special place, and the idea of bringing our town together as supervisor is very appealing to me,” said Schneiderman. “However, there is still more work I feel I need to do in the legislature.”
“Suffolk County is at a critical crossroads and I believe I can make a real difference to ensure we make the right choices to move our county forward,” he continued. “I do not want to walk away from Suffolk County at a time when we are facing a deficit of up to $250 million and the future of many critical programs are unsettled.”
“Recently, I emerged victorious in my longstanding fight against the disproportionate and unfair placement of all the county’s homeless sex offenders on eastern Long Island,” said Schneiderman. “Now that this consuming fight is behind us, I can focus on other regional concerns like improving transportation options on the East End, the future of the open space program and protecting our farming communities. I also will work closely with our Sandy recovery team to make sure we make the right choices not only to rebuild damaged communities stronger, but that we make smart decisions all along our shoreline to protect vulnerable areas like downtown Montauk.”
“I am grateful that Legislator Schneiderman has chosen to seek re-election,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “Jay is a strong voice and a relentless advocate for the East End. As we work to put our finances in order, deliver services more efficiently and rebuild after Sandy, I need Jay Schneiderman’s voice in the legislature,” said Bellone.
Meanwhile, this leaves the East Hampton Republican Committee without a supervisor candidate. Schneiderman was endorsed by the party in mid-February, along with councilman candidate Fred Overton and Dominick Stanzione, who will be seeking his second term on the town board.
On Monday afternoon, committee chairman Kurt Kappel said he believes the committee has ample time to re-screen for the supervisors position despite wanting to get a jump on the campaign.
“In one way, I am disappointed, but he did let us know in time so we are not pressed to come up with another person,” said Kappel. “Months ago we did have other people interested in the position, but then it was reported in the news that Jay was screening and was likely the front runner.”
“I spoke with Kurt a couple of days ago, so he knew this was coming,” said Schneiderman on Monday afternoon. “He has been very supportive and I certainly grateful. Maybe one day in the future I will look at coming back for a run at supervisor, but right now I have to think about the state of the county, and also about my family.”
Schneiderman added he has developed a great relationship with Bellone, and looked forward to serving an expanding legislative district, including the whole of Eastport as well as Shelter Island, a place Schneiderman lived when his son was born. He is also expected to be tapped by Bellone to work on an economic panel focused on the county’s budget.
“It’s a challenging time for the county and I think I can be an effective regional leader for my constituents,” he said.