As Southampton Town Councilman, I have worked to preserve our majority on the Southampton Town Board and I am very proud of the accomplishments I have both led and shared with my fellow Council members. We have continued to work together to serve the public and have pursued an aggressive agenda including water quality, alternative energy policies, environmental justice, assisted living legislation, affordable workforce housing and so much more. Together, we have repealed the Planned Development District Law (PDD), created a new Housing and Community Development Department and passed two affordable housing developments, the first in 20 years in Southampton Town. We have established a goal of energy independence for the Town, grown our municipal vehicle fleet to include hybrid electric vehicles, and have implemented a Town wide replacement of street lighting with LED’s to realize significant cost savings to the Town. We have continued to offer budgets that work to maintain a strong fiscal ranking while reducing our debt service and maintain healthy fund balance reserves. We continue to work to preserve open space, historic landmarks and preserve our quality of life.
I currently sit on the Peconic Estuary Program Management Committee and the Suffolk County Super Storm Sandy Review Task Force to establish more rigorous protection of our coastlines and related policies supporting our coastal community that is at the base of our local economy. I am particularly proud to have established a rigorous process to implement effective water quality projects and funding through our Community Preservation Fund (CPF), including a rebate program to help our residents replace old systems with new Innovative and Alternative (I/A) septic systems to reduce effluent chemical contribution to our ground water, establishment of a Marine Education Center in conjunction with the Cornell Cooperative Extension and my work to establish a Community Center in Westhampton, to offer diverse programs for seniors and youth alike in the local area. I will continue to work against other agendas that threaten this important work. I believe that our Town Council should act towards these goals and, in particular, support our environment recognizing it as our economic engine and our defining legacy for future generations.
My formal and informal education includes attending dive school and working as a commercial diver and saturation diver in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea. I attended the University of California intending to become a marine veterinarian and studied Zoology for two years but an introduction to a man who designed submersibles changed all that and I switched to engineering and joined a company to build research submersibles and remotely operated subsea vehicles. I specialized in subsea robotics and spent hundreds of hours on various underwater programs. I am an engineer by profession and hold a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.
After completing my studies, I joined Grumman Aerospace and worked at the Flight Test facility at Calverton. I transferred to the Grumman Space Station Division and moved to Washington D.C. as the Lead Robotics Engineer under contract to the NASA Agency. I joined Oceaneering International, a world leader in specialized deep water operations as General Manager for their new Division, Oceaneering Space Systems. As part of the Space Station contract partners, we advised NASA on the application of subsea operations expertise and its application on Space Station. I was the lead Robotics Engineer for the NASA Mobile Servicing System, reporting directly to the NASA administrator and led numerous related projects, including the winning Satellite Servicing System with our partners, TRW and SPAR Aerospace (builders of the Space Station robotic arm).
I have, like many, had the opportunity to see how our environment has been impacted by human activity. In my lifetime, I have witnessed the steady degradation of our water quality. As a child, growing up in Westhampton, I remember our bay and beach quality quite differently than it is today. Our children today see the bays and beaches in a new normal for them. Their future will be directly affected, both economically and in health, if we do not act decisively now. This is what has motivated me to seek public office. Water quality is the basis of our community’s future and continued quality of life that we must restore and preserve. I believe that, like our forests and farms, increasing human population and changing climate requires us to manage our natural resources in order to preserve them. It is our responsibility to balance the needs of our economy with the needs of our environment. I believe it is in our essential interest to prioritize actions that reflect these issues as our top priority.