East Hampton Town Councilwoman Theresa Quigley said this week that she won't seek re-election for a second term on the town board or make a bid for supervisor in November.
Quigley said her priorities shifted after her daughter's accident in August. Doris Quigley, a 17-year-old lifeguard, broke her neck in the ocean surf, underwent grueling surgery, and was hospitalized for four months to regain use of her legs. Though she recently returned to school, to finish her senior year, she is still undergoing occupational therapy.
Despite how difficult the past five months have been for her family, including constant trips back and forth to Doris' hospital in New York City, Quigley said she had considered running for the positions. She has continued throughout in her appointed position as deputy supervisor.
Elected four years ago on the Republican ticket, her position on the town board is up at the end of the year. Supervisor Bill Wilkinson's position, a two-year term, ends, as well. Wilkinson, also a Republican, won re-election in a close race in 2011. He first won election with Quigley and Councilman Dominick Stanzione in 2009.
Even though the Republican party is screening for supervisor candidates on Jan. 30, Wilkinson said he will not make a decision about whether to run until the end of March or early April.
"I was definitely keeping it an option," Quigley said — just last week she said she hadn't made a decision.
"My focus, right now, is on my immediate family — my husband and our children — and my primary job as an attorney at Farrell Fritz," she said.
Asked if she would consider seeking office in the future, she said: "Absolutely. I haven't given up on my committment to our town. I just have to reassess," she said.
"I'm appreciate that I was given the opportunity by so many people to run and be in office, but it's a really hard job, much harder than anyone can anticipate," she said. "It's especially hard when you stand-by a guiding principle, and you do what seems to you to be in the best interest of the whole community, instead of anyone specific." Ultimately, she said she felt like she no longer had the time to devote.
Over the year, Quigley said she has two major goals: To revamp the licensing review board and the Natural Resources Department.
Quigley wants a licensing review board to review taxi and contractor license applications and complaints and making recommendations to the town board. She also wants to see through restructuring the Natural Resources Department so that it has "a full complement of people" to handle environmental issues, while the Planning Department shifts to looking at long term planning. The resolution has not passed the town board, but Quigley and Wilkinson have remained committed to the idea.
Lastly, she would like to wrap up the Airport Noise Study and look at regulating helicopters. While she is in favor of accepting FAA funding for the municipal-owned airport in Wainscott, she said she would reconsider her position if the town finds out it cannot regulate helicopters the way she believes it can.
How do you feel about Theresa Quigley's decision not to seek re-election for the town board and not to run for town supervisor? Do you feel she made the right decision? Leave a comment below.