Riverhead GOP taps Beyrodt for open council seat

Frank Beyrodt of DeLea sod farms has won the nomination of the Riverhead Republican Committee to run for Town Council this fall.

The vote was made during Wednesday night’s GOP convention at Riverhead Elks Lodge.

Mr. Beyrodt, 49, of Baiting Hollow is running for Councilman John Dunleavy’s seat. Mr. Dunleavy was elected in 2005 and will leave office at the end of this year as the result of term limits. In April 2016, the Town Board voted in favor of imposing 12-year term limits.

Mr. Beyrodt will run on the GOP ticket along with incumbents Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio. Republicans have held every Town Board seat since 2010.

The committee also nominated Assessor Laverne Tennenberg and newcomer William Van Helmond of Jamesport for highway superintendent to run against incumbent Democrat George Woodson.

Mr. Beyrodt and his wife’s cousin Rick DeLea are part of a third generation of farmers. Mr. Beyrodt also served as the Long Island Farm Bureau’s president between 2010 and 2013.

“Some of the best, most hard working people I know are farmers,” he said. “I thought this was a perfect segue — to move on to the town level. On the farm, you have to use common sense. If you can’t afford it, you don’t buy it. You have to be reasonable and think outside the box.”

Mr. Walter described the slate as “a great ticket.”

“I think Frank Beyrodt adds something to the board that’s been missing since George Gabrielsen left,” he said. “Agriculture is such a big part of this community and not having a town council member representing the agricultural community was problematic.”

As for his own campaign for re-election, the supervisor said he plans to run on his record.

“In every single measure, this town is in better shape than when I took over in 2010,” Mr. Walter said.

Ms. Giglio said she’s focused on quality of life issues and upgrading the town’s computer software to make government more efficient, as well as revitalizing EPCAL and downtown.

The results of the gubernatorial voting that’s used to select candidates at the conventions showed Ms. Giglio received the most votes with 3,172, Mr. Beyrodt with 3,110.5 votes, Bobby Hartmann with 411.5 votes and Isabelle Gonzalez with 13.

Bob Peeker, a retired town police lieutenant who had screened for a council seat and ran for council two years ago, withdrew his name from consideration earlier Wednesday, according to committee chairperson Remy Bell.

Mr. Van Helmond, who regularly attends Town Board meetings, had originally screened to run for council but was asked to run for highway superintendent.

“I’m a blue collar worker and I’ve always have been,” Mr.Van Helmond said. “I like working with my hands and with my team and I feel highway superintendent is a good fit for me.”

He said many highway department tasks are similar to work he does with his company WCVH Landscaping. While he doesn’t have anything negative to say about Mr. Woodson’s work, Mr. Van Helmond said he feels he can do a better job.

Riverhead Democrats will hold their nominating convention May 23 and are expected to select Laura Jens-Smith for supervisor, Catherine Kent and Michele Lynch for council, and Susan Ambro for assessor, along with Mr. Woodson.

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Photo: From left, Frank Beyrodt, Sean Walter, Jodi Giglio, William Van Helmond and Laverne Tennenberg at the Riverhead GOP convention Wednesday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)