Southampton Town Board candidates face off in special election


The Southampton Town Board seat left vacant after the sudden arrest on drug charges and subsequent resignation of Southampton Town Councilman Brad Bender last year will come down to a pair of familiar faces for a replacement. 

Democrat Julie Lofstad, who unsuccessfully ran for a council seat in the November election, is facing off against Republican Richard Yastrzemski, who lost the town supervisor race in a special election Tuesday.

Click here to find your polling place. For more on the candidates, here’s what they had to say at a campaign event earlier this month in Flanders.

Julie Lofstad

Ms. Lofstad grew up and lives in Hampton Bays. She has a bachelor of science degree in air commerce and flight technology from the Florida Institute of Technology. She’s a licensed pilot and worked at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for about 15 years as an engineer designing runway and taxiway lighting systems, which she described as a stressful job.

Ms. Lofstad was later promoted to a position of grants manager of the Aviation Technical Services Division, where she oversaw a $50 million program, she said.

After Sept. 11, 2001, she became a stay-at-home mom. She and her husband now operate a commercial fishing business, where she does the bookkeeping in what she described as “a very regulated business.”

“Since I wasn’t commuting to the city anymore, I found that I had time to advocate on behalf of community,” she said. “And that’s what I did for 15 years.”

She co-founded the Hampton Bays Mothers’ Association, which raises money to build parks for children. She has also advocated to have the homeless sex offenders moved out of the area. In addition, she’s been involved in programs to help local families.

“Why I decided to run,” she explained, “is because community service and public service to me is the most important thing that a public servant can do. I think that we should be there to listen to you and help you and to make our communities better and safer and a happy place for people to live.”

Richard Yastrzemski

Mr. Yastrzemski, a cousin of baseball great Carl Yastrzemski, has been a Southampton Village Trustee since 2008 and currently is the village’s deputy mayor. A native of Southampton, he attended the Rochester Institute of Technology and currently is a senior vice president with Rocco A. Carriero Wealth Partners in Southampton. He has been a financial planner and advisor for almost 30 years.

Mr. Yastrzemski is the village board’s liaison to the village police department and is a former village highway department commissioner.

“It’s deja vu all over again,” he said about running for the Town Board special election, adding he enjoys working as a public servant.

“That’s why I do it and that’s why we all start doing it,” he said about public service. “We all have a passion and a drive to do it.”

He described running for Town Board after serving eight years on the village board as a logical next step.

Mr. Yastrzemski said the two biggest items in a municipality are the police and the highway department and he has experience managing both of those functions as a village trustee.

“What I want to do now is expand, and that is, by going into the town level,” Mr. Yastrzemski said. “I want to contribute what I’ve learned and experienced over the years on the village level and bring it to the town level.”