More than 120 people packed Jedediah Hawkins Inn Thursday night for Anthony Coates’ formal announcement that he will run for a Riverhead Town Board seat in 2013 on the Republican line.
(Read Mr. Coates’ speech in its entirety below.)
And after Mr. Coates’ speech, Republican Supervisor Sean Walter made it clear that he is supporting Mr. Coates, and will urge the town’s Republican committee not to renominate incumbent Councilwoman Jodi Giglio — and instead replace her with Mr. Coates.
“In order for us to continue moving the ball forward at EPCAL, on Main Street and with cost-saving measures, I need an ally on the board,” Mr. Walter said in an interview. “I don’t have that ally on the board besides Councilman John Dunleavy. What I have on the board are people with egos so large, they can’t fit through the front door.”
Mr. Walter said he is supporting Mr. Dunleavy and Mr. Coates for the council positions.
“Giglio is toast,” Mr Walter said.
Ms. Giglio could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mr. Walter and Ms. Giglio have sparred on numerous occasions since both took office in 2010, and more recently, Mr. Walter has also been at odds with the other two councilmen, Jim Wooten and George Gabrielsen, over their vote last week with Ms. Giglio to fire Town Board coordinator Linda Hulse.
Ms. Hulse was present at Mr. Coates’ announcement.
Mr. Coates also criticized the current all-Republican Town Board in his speech, saying, “I don’t get the sense our elected officials are working as hard as they can. I see closed doors in Town Hall and often absent officials. I see a local government that is disengaged and disinterested. I see elected officials whose principal call to duty is the paycheck they collect, their personal health benefits and how they can build their pension.”
He added later, “This board likes to call itself conservative. If smaller government and not raising taxes is the definition, then this board is far from conservative. You cannot propose giving yourself raises in these perilous economic times and claim you are leading the way on fiscal restraint.
“You cannot use 200 Howell Avenue as a hiring hall to employ your friends and family and claim you carry the banner of Ronald Reagan. You are no Goldwater Republican when you never once proposed dismantling a department, and you are not exactly William F. Buckley Jr. when you continue to grow the gap between private sector and public sector wages.”
None of the council members attended Mr. Coates’ announcement.
If he were to run a primary, he would be running against Mr. Dunleavy and Ms. Giglio in an at-large election, with the top two vote getters winning, so he could conceivably end up running with Mr. Giglio, though Mr. Dunleavy was the top vote getter in the big 2009 council elections.
There’s also the possibility that one of the current Town Board members could be a Republican candidate to run for the vacant county Legislature seat held by Ed Romaine, who is now the Brookhaven supervisor-elect.
Mr. Dunleavy and Ms. Giglio have expressed interest in running, and Mr. Walter’s name has been mentioned of late, also.
Asked for her thoughts on Mr. Coates’ announcement, Ms. Giglio said Saturday: “This is a democratic society we live in and anyone that wants to run for office should run for office.
“Hopefully for the right reasons.”
Mr. Coates has been a paid adviser to Mr. Walter, and he also was a registered Democrat until last July, when he changed his registration to Republican.
According to his resume, he was an investment manager, an aide to Floyd Linton, the former Presiding Office of the Suffolk County Legislature, publisher of The Record newspapers in Port Jefferson, public affairs adviser to numerous elected officials, and is currently a member of the Riverhead Business Improvement District management association.
Richard Amper, the executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, said in an interview following Mr Coates’ speech that he supports Mr. Coates.
“This man is a natural, quality, political entity in a town that needs it more than any place else,” he said.
Mr. Amper clarified that he was speaking for himself, and not on behalf of the Pine Barrens Society environmental advocacy group.
People who attended Mr. Coates’ announcement paid $20.13, which will go toward the rental of the restaurant as well as his campaign funds, Mr. Coates said.