Pictured Above: The Southold GOP’s 2023 slate (l-r): Brian Hughes, Kelly Fogarty, Jill Doherty, Stephen Kiely and Glenn Goldsmith.

Southold Town Republicans announced their candidates for all but the top spot in town government Thursday night, renominating Councilwoman Jill Doherty for re-election and picking Mattituck Attorney Stephen Kiely to run for the seat on the Town Board being vacated by Democratic Councilwoman Sarah Nappa.

Town GOP Chairman Peter McGreevy said the party is interviewing two potential candidates for Town Supervisor and expects to make a decision “within several days.”

Longtime Republican Town Supervisor Scott Russell is stepping down this year after 18 years at the helm of the town, and Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski, a Cutchogue resident and former Southold Councilman, is running for Supervisor on the Democratic ticket.

The Southold GOP also nominated former Town Justice Brian Hughes, who lost his seat by 27 votes four years ago to Dan Ross, to run again for Town Justice, along with Glenn Goldsmith, owner of Goldsmith’s Boat Shop in Southold for re-election as President of the Town Trustees and Mattituck CPA Kelly Fogarty for re-election as tax receiver at the campaign kickoff event, which was held at Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards in Peconic. The party also announced that Mike Goscinski, who could not attend the event, will be their candidate for Tax Assessor.

Democrats had declined to run a candidate against Mr. Goldsmith when they announced their candidates last week, citing his commitment to the Trustees’ mission of protecting local waterways.

“I’m running for another term because I know there’s still so much work to be done,” said Ms. Doherty, who currently serves as Deputy Supervisor and is completing her third term on the Town Board. “With all the turnover at Town Hall, I bring a level of experience to the table that will be a resource for colleagues entering town government for the first time.”

Ms. Doherty, who served on the Southold Town Trustees for six years, the last two as Trustee President, had served as the Trustee secretary for 12 years prior to that.

“I look forward to continuing my work on the Housing Plan, making necessary changes to our government buildings such as our police station and court, which have become structurally hazardous, as well as updating our town codes to simplify government,” said Ms. Doherty. “Our town has changed so much over these last several years and many of our neighbors are concerned. I want to make sure while we welcome change, Southold is still recognizable and it’s still the town we love.”

Mr. Kiely, a land use attorney who also currently serves as the Town Attorney on Shelter Island, said his top priority is to protect agriculture on the North Fork.

“I got in this race because I’m very concerned. This town has been in agriculture for 385 years. That is the basis of our soul,” he said. “There’s a full frontal assault, in my mind, on agriculture, and it’s coming from the top down. You’ve got the governor who said that she wants us to allow to be built, in our town, 473 houses in three years and if we don’t do that, rubber stamp, it goes right to the state, regardless of what the Comprehensive Plan says, regardless of the zoning. That, in and of itself, hurt me to the core, because I’me pro home rule…. We know what’s best because we live here.”

Those proposals are part of New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s New York Housing Compact included in the Governor’s 2024 Executive Budget, which is currently being debated by the State Legislature. It is expected to meet with opposition from legislators concerned that it oversteps the state’s Municipal Home Rule Law granting local governments control over zoning.

“When I get on that board, it’s going to be agriculture and nothing else,” added Mr. Kiely. “Anything that’s in support of agriculture has got my support. Everything stems from agriculture — your families can go out and get ripe red strawberries, beautiful juicy tomatoes, you can get beef and pork, you can get, from the sea, the scallops. You have beautiful vistas because it’s in farming.”

Mr. Kiely concluded by quoting Benjamin Franklin, who, as he was leaving the Constitutional Convention, was asked if the founding fathers had created a Republic or a Monarchy.

“He said, ‘A Republic, if you can keep it,'” he said. “I’m running to ensure that Southold Town stays rural, if you can keep it. Join the Republicans to make sure this town stays rural and stays true to its soul.”

“One of the fabrics of this community is our our wetlands, our beaches, our bays, our creeks, and as a trustee I have an awesome responsibility to protect that for everyone in Southold,” said Mr. Goldsmith. “It’s not just for waterfront property owners. It’s for everyone.”

Mr. Hughes, who worked in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office before starting a private law practice in Southold, will again be running against now-Justice Dan Ross.

He said said he’s also concerned about changes coming from the top down in Albany, particularly with regard to criminal justice reform.

“It’s not just bail — it’s the legal process — identification, witnesses. The whole structure has been changed so drastically in the past five years,” he said. “It’s almost unrecognizable to someone who’s been in the system for as long as I have.”

Mr. Hughes said the newspaper of record in Southold had said he was ‘overqualified’ to serve as Town Justice and had declined to endorse a candidate the last time he’d run, which he found offensive.

“Anyone who goes through the system from Southold, it starts with our court,” he said. “People go in there and they’re entitled to be treated with respect and get their shot at justice.”

Mr. Hughes added that when he last served as Town Justice, he stopped his law practice and treated the part-time job like a full-time one.

Ms. Fogarty, who grew up in Cutchogue and raised her family here, said that “Southold is a phenomenal place to be.”

“If I can serve my community with my strengths, that’s what I’m going to do,” she said.

“I’m sure they’ll keep the town in good hands,” said Town Supervisor Scott Russell after members of the slate introduced themselves.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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