This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
All teachers are forever Mr. or Ms. Miss or Mrs.--but his real name is "Bill". It was 1973 when Bill Bodkin inspired me to public service and without his wisdom I would not be standing here today. I want to thank the ownership of the Jedediah Hawkins Inn for graciously loaning us their graceful property this evening. I cannot think of a more appropriate setting to begin a journey. I want to thank Pam Hunt for making this evening possible. I am told that this building was once the site of rum running and gun running and so take comfort that we are not the only rouges to trod these wide plank floors. I want to thank my daughter Courtney who has made me proud every day of her life. Courtney has grown up to be a warm, sensitive, caring and beautiful young lady and thus her Mother and I have a lot to worry about. I want to also recognize someone who is not here tonight, someone who's sharp political mind I look to for counsel, someone with the gifts that all natural politicians have and someone who will no doubt be a leader for many years to come. That is my daughter Jane Coates. At age 13 perhaps she should be the one up here entering politics. It is important to recognize their Mother and a
past Mrs. Coates…Sheri Coates. Who unfortunately due to the state of air travel is changing planes and thus cannot be here tonight. We may no longer be husband and wife but Sheri is a great Mom, who has raised great children and she is always in my heart. Finally, I want to thank you all for being here this evening to hear what I am about to say. When I was a boy, this country was purposeful and united. John Glenn sat atop Friendship Seven and we were hurdling rockets to the moon; this nation hummed and buzzed and New York was The Empire State. JFK was in the White House and he challenged this nation to "do better" and he pointed us to the stars. We all cared about our community. You knew your neighbor's name, we believed in things. Life wasn't done in text messages. Riverhead is still that kind of place. While the rest of the world got itself in a big hurry, we've kept our old school values here. You see it in the friendly faces on Duck Pond day. It's in the way you greet an old friend at Papa Nick's. A neighborly wave when you pass a friend. You know exactly why you live here when you drive by a majestic farm on Sound Avenue on a perfect summer's day. Ours is a great town, with great people. The kind of place where you can live life in
full measure. Well, someone has to say it: I don't think our current government is as good as our people. I don't feel like our leaders are doing all they can. I don't feel the spirit. I don't get the sense our elected officials are working as hard as they can. I see closed doors in town hall and often absent officials. I see a local government that is disengaged and disinterested. I see elected officials whose principal call to duty is the paycheck they collect, their personal health benefits and how they can build their pension. Yesterday's reformer is part of today's problem. There is too much lip service and old excuses…tap dancing, explanations and justification of the status quo. This board likes to call itself "conservative". If smaller government and not raising taxes is the definition, then this board is far from conservative. You cannot propose giving your self raises in these perilous economic times and claim you are leading the way on fiscal restraint. You cannot use 200 Howell Avenue as a hiring hall to employ your friends and family and claim you carry the banner of Ronald Reagan. You are no Goldwater Republican when you never once propose dismantling a department and you are not exactly William F. Buckley, Jr., when you continue to grow the gap between private sector and public sector wages. It is one thing to talk about smaller
government and another to do it. We need to put the "conserve" back in "fiscal conservative". In a town that should be like "Mayberry" we have gotten bureaucratic; we don't listen to each other. Supervisor Walter offers initiatives and the town board fights like kids in the sandlot. It's hard to tell Channel 22 from the World Wrestling Channel. Our town board sessions are not exactly Adams and Jefferson, they more resemble Laurel and Hardy. Politics isn't bean bag and it can get rough but it is an ugly scene at town hall and perhaps the smartest member of the board last week was the little girl named "Supervisor of the Day" who knew when to leave the building. This is not Miss Manners but common sense says: You cannot master problems "taxes" and "spending" if you cannot use simple words like "please" and "thank you". While the town board bickers about what color the sky is; the real leadership in Riverhead comes from our citizens, people like Denise Lucas and MTAS who, despite town hall's press releases, was the real force that opened the dog park and will move the animal shelter. The real leadership comes from people like Amy Davidson and Laurie Nigro whose determination opened the community garden because they wouldn't take "no" for an answer. Once again Riverhead's great people lead… this board follows, but that's not the way it's supposed to be. This town board should lead and
instead it is without accomplishment. You have to call out to the local golf course to raise a quorum to vote. The old boy and old girls network always seems to win. It's the same ole, same ole. I have to call it like I see it; our local government has gotten lethargic and lazy, tired and unresponsive and it needs a shaking up. I don't hear anyone out there offering energy and new ideas. It is go along to get along. I don't see creativity. I don't see commitment. I see the real and looming threat of overdevelopment, that will endanger this town's environment, and rural character, and I see a town board that cannot rise to the challenge of leadership because they are too busy tearing each other down. I am tired of sitting idly by hoping that somehow it will all magically get better. I am ready to do step forward and to do all that I can. …So today… I announce...I will be a candidate for Riverhead Town Board in 2013. Now, I just celebrated my birthday and I have survived 52 years without a title before my name and I am positive I can make it till my dying day without one. I am not running because I covet a government job or to feed my ego. I am not running for the fancy writing paper with the town seal. I am running because I know we can do better. 37 years ago, out campaigning, then Legislator Floyd Linton, knocked on my door and I answered it. That day I also answered the call of
public service. I did so because I was inspired and wanted to make a difference. As the years progressed, I wound up running campaigns, I served as an aide, always behind the scenes, I made my career in business. I wasn't looking to run for public office, but, today, and I feel this in my bones. It is my time to step forward. I am by no means politically naive. I am not promising the moon and the stars. I know how things work, I know politics is a tough business -but I also know that one individual, driven by passion can move the world. As I run for the Council, I intend to speak the truth, to shake up the system or to die trying. I feel I have something to offer and I need to get off the sidelines and into the game. I am not part of the club. I don't belong to any committee. I am independent and I will lead and I can promise you one thing, I will work my heart out for the town I love. Like you, I've faced personal challenges and I think I have worked to overcome them and I've come back stronger; I think that only makes my message and will to change this town stronger. I think I've learned a thing or two about making changes. Now, they have already begun to attack me and rather than talk about their record they will try to make this race about conspiracy theories, innuendo and gossip. They will hit the blogs and call me names. When you have nothing to say, and
no accomplishments to point to, you just talk louder. Well, hit me with your best shot and keep coming because I am a fighter that will refuse to be knocked down. The people don't want your negativity they want results. In this campaign, I will be the bigger man..and come to think of it a year ago I truly was a bigger man…we will ignore their negativity and political shin kicking because the people deserve better. We will stick to the issues and paint a vision for Riverhead's future. Our energy and ideas will trump their anger and bitterness. Of this campaign the old guard will say, "It can't be done". Well, when the winds of change blow, it is not part of the five day forecast. People don't see change coming. Well, I see it, it's coming, it's in the will of the people. So today we begin. I will fight to end the logjam at EPCAL and bring clean high paying jobs to Calverton, I will work to continue the renewal of downtown, I will be as cheap with your tax dollars as I am with my own and I will work to preserve our rural character so this place doesn't resemble just anyplace… and if I am lucky enough to be your Councilman, I'll work in town hall till the last light goes out at night and be there in the morning to turn them on again because the people of Riverhead deserve nothing less. The writer Frank O'Connor wrote, how, as a boy, he and his friends would make their way across the Irish countryside, and when they came
to an orchard wall that seemed too high to climb, and too doubtful to try, and too difficult to permit their voyage to continue, they took off their hats and tossed them over the wall--and then they had no choice but to follow them. Well, today I throw my hat over the wall and I will follow it. Today, we set sail upon the sea of change and when the journey is difficult, I will be sustained by the support you have shown me here tonight and in tough times it is your affection that will see me through. With your voice and your hand we will put our shoulder to the stone and make a new Riverhead--and together we will explore the wonders on the other side. I thank you.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.