DeVito won’t seek another Riverhead supervisor nomination

02/23/2015 10:00 AM |
Sean Walter and Angela DeVito on the Suffolk Theater stage during a debate in 2013. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file photo)

Sean Walter and Angela DeVito on the Suffolk Theater stage during a debate in 2013. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch file photo)

There will be no rematch for Riverhead Town supervisor in 2015.

Longtime civic leader and former school board member Angela DeVito of Jamesport said she won’t be seeking the Democratic nomination to run again this fall.

Instead, she’s going to focus her time on establishing a grassroots community group akin to the Organizing for America concept that followed the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009.

Ms. DeVito believes she can do more good for Riverhead in such a role than as an elected official.

“The participants can come from any sector here in town,” she said. “It’s not limited to people who are registered Democrats. It’s not really a club. Structurally, it’s a concept of gathering people to exchange thoughts and using it to effect change locally, like the grassroot effort that came out of the Obama campaigns.”

But, she insists, it wouldn’t be a Democratic club focused on advancing Democratic causes.

She pointed to issues such as water quality, “responsible” economic development and biases against immigrants as examples of what should be of major concern to residents of the town.

“What do we provide for the young, the 18- to 35-year-old group?” she added. “What do we really provide by way of activities? Look at the Village of Patchogue, look at the Live at Five. It is for younger people … These sorts of thing we need to start thinking about.”

The group’s members would meet to determine what they believe is best for the town, then reach a consensus on which issues to emphasize.

“That’s what local government is supposed to do for us, but it doesn’t do that,” she said. “We have to look seriously at how we are going to grow the middle class in Riverhead, because it’s the middle class that sustains your communities. When businesses come to town, or those that exist here, how are we working with [them]?”

Ms. DeVito, also a Jamesport-South Jamesport Civil Association president, said it’s important to move slowly, however, lest the efforts fizzle out early.

So, she said, she has no prediction on when the group would be up and operating.

It is her hope that the group would work with local governments in order to accomplish its goals.

Incumbent Supervisor Sean Walter, a Republican, defeated Ms. DeVito with 55.52 percent of the vote, or 4,160 to 3,333 in 2013, according to Suffolk County Board of Elections figures.

Ms. DeVito has also served on the town Industrial Development Agency board.

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