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Year in Review: Amber Brach-Williams wins seat on Town Board


There was no earthquake election, as in the presidential race, but  Amber Brach-Williams, the Republican challenger to Democratic incumbent Mary Dudley, won a stunning victory Tuesday, November 8.

Ms. Brach-Williams had a 62 to 38 percent win over Ms. Dudley.

“I’m happy,” Ms. Brach-Williams said as she received congratulations from the party’s faithful after the polls closed at the American Legion Hall, the Republican’s election night headquarters. The Island businesswoman — she is co-owner of A&A Williams accounting firm in the Center — repeated that her emotion after the polls closed was “happy, but humble. I’m happy Mary and I both ran good, clean campaigns. I’m eager to get to work.”

Her large margin in the raw vote was impressive since the Island went strongly Democratic in the Congressional and presidential elections, so voters had to split their tickets to vote for her.
Ms. Dudley, at Democrat election night headquarters at the Ram’s Head Inn, was relaxed early in the evening. After an announcement that she was trailing in the ballot count, she took the news with good grace.

The only proposition on the ballot to extend the Community Preservation Fund — a 2 percent real estate transfer tax used since its inception in 1998 to purchase and preserve open space — to 2050 and allow local governments to take up to 20 percent of the funds collected for clean water projects passed easily on the Island with “yes” votes outnumbering “no” votes 884 to 388.

In the race for the 1st Congressional District, Democratic challenger Anna Throne-Holst, a former Southampton supervisor, garnered 763 Island votes to 630 for incumbent Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) in an unofficial count as the polls closed. District-wide, Mr. Zeldin won handily for a second term taking 59 percent of the vote to Ms. Throne-Holst’s 41 percent, according to the Suffolk County board of Elections.

Incumbent Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), who represents Shelter Island, had an easy path to victory Tuesday, taking 61.6 percent of the district’s vote to GOP challenger Heather Collins’s 38.4 percent.

In the presidential election, Island voters cast 764 votes for Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump’s 568.
Turnout was extraordinary locally, with 82 percent of Island voters casting ballots Tuesday.

Shelter Island approves clean water proposition

Shelter Islanders resoundingly passed  ballot Proposition One Tuesday, 884 to 388, extending the life of the Community Preservation Fund (CPF) from 2030 to 2050 and allowing up to 20 percent of future money coming into the fund to be diverted from open space purchases and preservation to clean water projects.

CPF money is generated by a 2 percent real estate transfer tax in each of the five towns.