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Larry Cantwell Tapped as Independence Party Candidate for East Hampton Town Supervisor

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By Kathryn G. Menu

The Independence Party has tapped East Hampton Village Administrator Larry Cantwell as its candidate for East Hampton Town Supervisor this fall.

Two weeks ago, Cantwell announced he would seek both the Independence and Democratic parties endorsement to seek the top seat on the East Hampton Town Board in elections this fall.

According to Independence Party chairwoman Elaine Jones — who made the endorsement announcement on Monday afternoon after screening candidates last Tuesday — “experience was clearly the most impressive quality among candidates this year.”

“Larry Cantwell received the nod for the Supervisor spot,” said Jones and vice chairwoman Pat Mansir in a press release issued late Monday. “He carries with him the peaceful demeanor needed to bring consensus and unified forward-thinking among people. And his more than 30 years in public service is a testament to the success of his approach.”

Cantwell screened with the Independence Party along with Zachary Cohen, who was the Democratic candidate in 2011, narrowly losing to incumbent Republican Supervisor Bill Wilkinson. Wilkinson has chosen not to seek another term, and Nancy Keeshan, the town’s planning board vice chairman, once rumored to be the front runner for the Republican nomination, has withdrawn her name from contention.

“I am proud to have their nomination,” said Cantwell on Tuesday afternoon.

Republican Committee chairman Kurt Kappel has maintained his desire the party run its own candidate. When asked about the potential for a three party endorsement for supervisor, Cantwell said his focus was now on securing the East Hampton Democratic Committee’s endorsement.

That committee is expected to host its convention on May 15.

“My approach is one step at a time,” said Cantwell. “I am very pleased to have the Independence Party nomination because I look forward to being a consensus builder and leader in East Hampton. I think the Independence Party has shown a willingness to reach across party lines. Over the years, especially recently, they have endorsed candidates from different parties and I think the town is looking for someone who can reach across the aisle.”

The Independence Party has also endorsed Fred Overton and incumbent Dominick Stanzione for town board — candidates that have already received the endorsement of the Republic Committee.

Overton is stepping down from his long time position as town clerk this year. Stanzione is seeking a second term on the town board.

“For the last 48 years, Fred Overton served this community as a volunteer with the Springs Fire Department,” said Jones. “He has run his own business, was our town assessor for eight years and for 13 years has been the town clerk. In all of his positions he has been presented with difficult and confidential situations that were handled with finesse and genuine kindness. He us unflappable.”

Jones cited Stanzione’s ability to work with others and think independently as a board member as the reason for his endorsement.

“More importantly, he has been able to flourish under pressure when he has had to battle to be an independent thinker,” said Jones. “Dominick has stood up to politics and made decisions based on what is good for the people and the environment. He deserves four more years.”

The party also endorsed Carol Brennan — also supported by the Republican Committee — to take Overton’s seat as town clerk, and Joe Bloecker — a town trustee — for assessor. Bloecker also has the support of the Republican Committee.

Carl Irace, an East Hampton attorney who has won the Republican Committee endorsement and served as the assistant town attorney from 2010 to 2012, earned the Independence Party endorsement for town justice, and Stephen Lynch has been supported for another term as superintendent of highways.

Diane McNally, Stephanie Talmage Forsberg, Sean McCaffrey, Nat Miller, Steven Lester, Tim Bock, Brian Pardini, Brian Byrnes and Dennis Curles have the party’s support in the town trustee race.

“The Independence Party is committed to achieving the best government the town can possibly offer,” said Jones and Mansir. “That involves candidates from both parties working diligently together toward the best approaches and innovations for our town. The Independence Party, itself, will work endlessly to achieve these goals.”

Polls Come Forward: Parties in midst of candiate selection for this november

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By Kathryn G. Menu

The East Hampton Democratic Committee has tapped Zachary Cohen, a Springs resident, to run against incumbent Republican town supervisor Bill Wilkinson in November. Cohen has offered financial advice to the town’s budget and finance advisory committee in the past and is the chairman of the town’s nature preserve committee.

The committee also announced this week that it has recommended former planning board chairwoman Sylvia Overby and current planning board member Peter Van Scoyoc to run on the Democratic party ticket for town council seats this fall.

The Democratic Committee will host its nominating convention on May 16 where it will vote on whether or not to accept the slate of candidates.

According to East Hampton Town Republican Committee Chairwoman Trace Duryea, the only official candidate on the Republican slate is supervisor Wilkinson. This week, she said, the committee will convene for an additional round of interviews with potential town council candidates.

“We voted to have this additional meeting in order to bring people back for another round of interviews because we have such an impressive group of individuals who have screened with us,” she said on Tuesday.

Duryea refrained from naming who is screening for the two slots, which will be voted on by the Republican Committee at its nominating convention on May 11, although author Steven Gaines has publicly stated that he has screened with the committee to run for a town council seat.

The two town council seats up for grabs now belong to Julia Prince and Pete Hammerle. Prince announced earlier this year she would not seek a second term in office, and while Hammerle — a member of the town board for the last 16 years — screened with the Democratic Committee, he reportedly withdrew his name from contention last week.

As Democrats, Hammerle and Prince are in the minority on the town board. In 2010, the board shifted into Republican control with the election of supervisor Wilkinson, councilwoman Theresa Quigley and councilman Dominick Stanzione.

The slate was elected after a fiscal crisis and $30 million deficit was uncovered in town — a crisis born during Bill McGintee’s rein as supervisor.

According to a press release issued this week by the Democratic Committee, Cohen has a background working in his family’s restaurant business, but also as an investor and manager of commercial and residential real estate holdings.

A resident of Springs for the last 20 years, Cohen has been educated in finance and economics, and has been a fixture in town hall, offering up advice to the town’s budget advisory and finance committees.

Chairman of the nature preserve committee, Cohen was also appointed to the Community Preservation Fund Management and Stewardship Task Force and is also a member of the Group for Good Government.

“I look forward to running with the Democratic endorsement, and I believe because of my independence I can appeal to all voters who are concerned that East Hampton is headed in the wrong direction,” said Cohen. “While there has been some progress on the financial front, much more remains to be done. There is no excuse for the fact that the Community Preservation Fund has still not been repaid. Giving tax cuts in lieu of debt reduction is simply not prudent.”

This will be Overby’s second run for town council. She ran in 2001, and since then has served as the chairwoman of the town’s planning board. Overby was also the chair of the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee for five years and chaired the villages and hamlets subcommittee for the East Hampton Comprehensive Plan Committee.

Van Scoyoc has been a member of the planning board since 2006. Prior to that, he was a member of the town’s zoning board of appeals from 1995 to 2000, serving as that board’s chairman in 2000.

Van Scoyoc owns his own construction company and operates “Montauk Fishing Safaris,” a sports fishing charter boat operation out of both Montauk and Sag Harbor.