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Larry Cantwell Officially Declares Candidacy For Supervisor [VIDEO]

Assemblyman says Cantwell will offer leadership that is missing in the Town of East Hampton.

Larry Cantwell made it official on Friday; He's running for East Hampton Town supervisor this November.

While he doesn't have a major party nomination yet — the East Hampton Democrats, won't announce their slate until early May and the East Hampton Independence Party will only begin screening candidates next week — Cantwell announced his decision after months of speculation during a press conference at the Highway Diner & Bar in Wainscott.

Surrounded by his family and longtime friends and supporters, such as former Republican town supervisor Bruce Collins, Village Deputy Mayor Barbara Borsack, and former Judge Roger Walker, Cantwell said he is ready to take on "critical issues" facing the Town of East Hampton.

A public servant for 37 years, Cantwell was the youngest elected bay constable and elected twice to the town board. For the past 31 years, he has served as the East Hampton Village Administrator, a position from which he will retire this summer.

When he first announced his retirement back in October, he said he hadn't intended on running for supervisor, a position currently held by Bill Wilkinson, a Republican who is not seeking re-election. The Republicans first choice, current County Legis. Jay Schneiderman, declined the nomination. 

However, in the months that followed he received a groundswell of support, and it became apparent, he said, that "To resolve these critical issues we need a leader now more than ever who is a concensus builder."

Assemblyman Fred Thiele, I-Sag Harbor, introduced Cantwell on Friday. Thiele, a friend of since high school, said the Town of East Hampton needs to a leader like Cantwell.

"East Hampton Town used to have a leadership position on the East End of Long Island. Whether it was land preservation or zoning or the management of the government, East Hampton was first and other towns would look to see what it was doing. That's not the case anymore. That's not the case at all," he said. The reason, he believes, is a fundamental quality he said is missing too often in government: "Not to tell them how smart you are, but to listen."

"We need to bring East Hampton back to a leadership position," he said, mentioning past supervisors whom he said demonstrated that type of leadership, such as Judith Hope, Cathy Lester, Tony Bullock.

"We need to go back to the future — back to the future for East Hampton and to do that we don't need a Delorean. We don't need a flux capacitor, we just need a new leader."

As the chief financial officer of the Village of East Hampton, he guided village finances to an accumulated surplus every year for three decades. "I am prepared to manage town finances with the same vigilance."

He thanked Congressman Tim Bishop in securing $20 million to restore the beach and protect downtown Montauk. "If the implementation of this project is left to the next supervisor, I want to assure the people of Montauk that that will be a top priority for me," he said. He said the town needs to adopt a town-wide mitigation and recovery plan to protect our shoreline and residents from coastal erosion.

"We need a strong consensus to maintain a small and safe airport and a clear strategy to reduce noise impacts on residential neighborhoods," he said referring to the often contentious issues surround the East Hampton Airport.

Other aspects of town government he plans to take on are upgrades in technology to make it more efficient, longterm capital planning to address deteriorating infrastructure, quality of life, and supporting planning and zoning, while also supporting business, which he said do not have to be mutually exclusive.

He said he also wants to bring civility back to Town Hall. "The public rightfully disgusted with the lack of civility from some town board members. This must change. We must stop trying to find ways to disagree and start finding ways to agree. I will treat my colleagues on the town board and the public with dignity and respect," he said. He also said, "a negative cloud hangs over town workers and permeates government. This must change."

"Our quality of life is threatened is threatened by huge parties on public beaches and some town leaders who have supported rock concerts on busiest weekends in the middle of summer. This must stop," he said. "If elected, I will lead party politics outside the front door at Town Hall."

lutheranliar April 12, 2013 at 11:02 PM
YIPPEE!!!!!!
Steve April 12, 2013 at 11:18 PM
I've known Larry for almost forty years, and I cannot think of a better candidate. This man is civil, intelligent, dedicated and honest. How will he ever survive?! Best wishes to Larry Cantwell for his continued success!
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) April 12, 2013 at 11:47 PM
Via East Hampton Patch's Facebook page, Audrey Stonemetz wrote, "Larry you have my vote you know that ! One of Bonac's finest just look what he has done for E H Village! Go Larry! So good you made a decision that will help us here in our community ! Wish you all the best!"
Seaside April 12, 2013 at 11:59 PM
This is a high density, high income second home condo project. It belongs in Huntington, not east hampton. Why would east hampton quadruple the density so he developer can sell condos to rich seniors? What's in it for the town?
Lisa W. April 13, 2013 at 12:09 AM
Congratulations Larry! It was a pleasure meeting you a few weeks ago when I was visiting from Vancouver.
patrick schutte April 13, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Larry will put community before politics. We all (d's,r's,i's and blanks) should come together and support him.
Iloveeasthampton April 13, 2013 at 12:57 AM
I'm an independent, and he's got my vote!
SadderBudweiser April 13, 2013 at 02:17 AM
It's about time common sense and civility returned to Town Hall. Thank you and best of luck Larry.
Allan white April 13, 2013 at 02:28 AM
Aren't we lucky that a candidate with ability and integrity has declared for supervisor -Larry cantwell is that person-the race is over
Linda DeFriest Ehrlich April 13, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Wonderful news!!!!!
CHARLIE KENNY April 13, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Good Luck and all the best to you Larry.
Fran Gardiner April 13, 2013 at 02:39 PM
'Bout time !! Have you talked to Hal lately? Best of Luck Larry. Fran Gardiner
Lynn Follenius April 13, 2013 at 06:55 PM
He's definitely got my vote!
bonnie April 13, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Is he all there is??????
Penny Quince April 13, 2013 at 11:23 PM
We couldn't do better than Larry Cantwell to lead East Hampton during this difficult time. He's the real deal: capable, honest, and fair-minded. We are lucky he is willing to run!
election2013 April 14, 2013 at 03:41 AM
Thiele must be auditioning for the Town Attorney's job. He was pretty critical of the current administration that cleaned up the CPF mess, got the books straight, has preserved tons of property over the last three years, fixed the budget, is getting more done with less (according to the article in the Independent last week), and much more. He also talks about some former supervisors and their leadership - weren't the town workers out picketing in front of Town Hall when Cathy Lester was Supervisor? And I can't remember Bullock being particularly pleasant from the podium during his days on the job. Thiele and Wilkinson have been mutually supportive and complimentary of one another over the last three years so Thiele's comments were a little startling - but Wilkinson will be gone soon and will be of no use to Thiele in the future so maybe it's time for Thiele to discard him and feather his nest for the future. Cantwell is definitely the guy to take over for Wilkinson and keep the forward momentum going with intelligence and experience at the top. And if nothing else his announcement and Thiele's appearance at the gathering that comes at a time when Zach Cohen is still in the picture for the nomination tells me both Cantwell and Thiele have totally dismissed Cohen as a viable or desirable candidate - and that is good because Cohen can't be allowed to get anywhere close to elected office - something the State Comptroller and DA's Office would probably agree with.
Larry Wartur April 14, 2013 at 05:14 AM
Good luck, Larry......this Town needs you !
sallymeander April 14, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Why would a brother lizard, the political chameleon known to man as Fred, declare his support before the Republicans, Independents, or Democrats have nominated. Out of the 15000 registered, what if a better name came forward? Unlike a species that is known for his history of changing color. Lizard students call this social signaling. This time I think election 2013 is on to something.
Betsy Bisrtian Avallone April 14, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Larry, I have one question. Why would you want a thankless job like that?! My heart and prayers go out to anyone who holds that job.
Kevin Byrne April 14, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Hey Larry, If you win do yourself and the town a favor and keep Len Bernard as the Town Budget Officer.
TRUTH NOT FICTION April 16, 2013 at 10:42 AM
Election2013 is Len Bernard who will soon be out of a job and down the road with his buddies Team Nasty!
Len Bernard April 16, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Truth -- Not me -- I'm not getting into this one. Kevin, thanks for the vote of confidence.

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