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Candidates weigh in on the burning question: Why I’m running for Town Council this year

The Reporter asked the seven candidates — two for supervisor and five for Town Board — why they want a seat at the council table.

Gary Gerth, for supervisor
Age: 77
Endorsed by the Republican Party

Gary Gerth

I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the residents of Shelter Island for the honor of electing me as your supervisor. I am thoroughly enjoying working with our town family and town residents in resolving challenges/problems within our community. Upon nomination as supervisor for the upcoming election, I quickly decided — let’s go for it!

Some of the challenges are still in progress:
• Reel Point
• Resident-controlled burning

Please feel free to contact me directly on any matter which is of interest or importance.

Thank you once again.

Gerard F. Siller, for supervisor
Age: 65
Endorsed by the Democratic Party

Gerard Siller

The role of the town supervisor includes being the chief executive/administrator and the chief fiscal officer. It is incumbent upon the supervisor to know and understand the workings of the town.

The reason I’m seeking to get back into town politics is because there are several significant issues facing Shelter Island, and I don’t think they are being addressed properly, if at all.

I believe that with my experience as a self-employed businessman and my time served on the School Board and as town supervisor, I am the right person for the job right now.

Councilman Paul Shepherd, for Town Council
Age: 64
Endorsed by the Conservative, Independence and Libertarian parties

Paul Shepherd

As for why I am running, well, there was interest expressed in my continuing, so I decided to continue. I believe I offer a unique perspective most of the time, mostly because of the way my mind works. That is not always a blessing, of course, but overall I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Councilman Jim Colligan, for Town Council.
Age: 72
Endorsed by the Democratic Party.

Jim Colligan

Serving on our Town Board has been a privilege and a responsibility. The job requires your full attention and is both challenging and demanding of your time, energy and passion. In order to be successful, you have to be willing to work hard and solve problems.

We are at a critical time, filled with challenges that require experience, sound judgment and leadership. I have continued to develop and demonstrate these skills during my first term in office on the Town Board. I love this community and am committed to its future. I very much appreciate your support.

Marcus Kaasik, for Town Council
Age: 50
Endorsed by the Republican Party

Marcus Kaasik

A local perspective on the Town Board is a necessity. I have deep roots here with a child in the school system and, thus, a vested interest in the future. I have an earthy love and understanding of the Island. I am blessed to be one of the many who use our waterways to feed our families and I feel a strong duty to protect our bays.

I believe we need to keep regulations and expenses low so the path to living a simple life is protected and available to all who seek it. I’m not doing this for me; I’m doing this for you, the people of Shelter Island.

Julia Romanchuk Weisenberg, for Town Council
Age: 45
Endorsed by the Republican Party

Julia Romanchuk Weisenberg

As councilwoman I will provide a voice for working families, establishing an inclusive, equal, open atmosphere to Town Board; model and implement a stewardship approach to tackling the Island’s issues, where decision-making always has values defined. Working among you on the ground level all seasons as a mother of three girls, I bring practicality and compassion.

From my 25-plus years in administrating in large diverse academic and business settings, I ensure Islanders an expert in listening, communicating, and conflict-resolution. With unparalleled work ethic, I give of myself to you to do the hard work of keeping Town Board accountable.

Michael Bebon, for Town Council
Age: 68
Endorsed by the Democratic Party

Michael Bebon

Our future is filled with opportunities, but not without challenges, several of which I’ve been working on as chair of the Water Advisory Committee and Community Housing Board. I chose to run because I am passionate about our special community and I want to help guide our future.

I believe my education in engineering and business, coupled with 47 years of experience in technical, managerial, and senior leadership positions have given me the knowledge, judgment and relationships needed to be your councilman. I’m excited about what we can achieve together and looking forward to the journey.