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East Hampton Republicans Launch 2023 Campaign

Thu, 05/04/2023 - 09:21
The East Hampton Town Republican Committee held its 2023 campaign launch last Thursday. Pictured, from left, are Michael Torres, Suffolk County Conservative Party chairman; Manny Vilar, chairman of the committee and candidate for county legislator; Michael Wootton and Scott Smith, candidates for town board; Gretta Leon, candidate for supervisor; Jim Grimes, town trustee, and Brian Lester, candidate for town justice.
Christopher Walsh

Pledging “leadership, perspective, and common-sense solutions,” the East Hampton Town Republican Committee’s slate launched its 2023 campaign last Thursday with a fund-raiser at the Blend at Three Mile Harbor restaurant in Springs.

Gretta Leon, the Republicans’ candidate for supervisor, and Michael Wootton and Scott Smith, the candidates for town board, were joined by Manny Vilar, the committee’s chairman and a candidate for the Suffolk County Legislature; Brian Lester, candidate for town justice; Jim Grimes, an incumbent town trustee who is seeking a fifth term; Suffolk County Clerk Vincent Puleo, and the Suffolk Conservative Party chairman, Michael Torres, among others.

“I’m looking forward to running this campaign with everyone here,” Ms. Leon said. “I hope it works out for all of us, and I’m really looking forward to working with the community and keeping our efforts for the community first in mind.”

Those efforts will bring “sensible solutions which benefit our diverse community,” Mr. Wootton said. “We’re not going to spend millions of dollars on legal expenses where reasonable compromise and solutions that benefit our community are readily available.” Rather than seeing the town’s challenges through “a polarizing lens of red-versus-blue ideologies,” he pointed to quality of life issues: “clean water to swim in, clean water to drink, open spaces to enjoy, reduction in traffic,” and limited development, as well as “commonsense economic issues like keeping the airport open and mindful zoning.”

The town board, he said, “has been negligent in upholding these goals, which is why it’s so important that we win and change the current course.”

“Right now is a huge opportunity for us,” Mr. Smith said, “to be able to take over the town board and put it in the direction that we want it to go, which is getting out of litigation and actually putting our funds into meaningful resources.”

Mr. Grimes is one of the trustees’ two deputy clerks and has consistently finished at or near the top of the vote for the nine-member body. “I’ve done well there,” he told the gathering. “I think I’ve brought a lot to the table. We’ve dealt with some very challenging things over the last four or six years. I think I’ve helped elevate the public’s opinion of the trustees from when I got on that board.”

Mr. Vilar will host a meet-and-greet event for his campaign on Friday, May 12, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the American Legion Hall in Hampton Bays. A fund-raiser for his campaign will happen at the same venue on June 15, also from 6 to 8 p.m.

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