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‘Why I’m running for public office’ — We asked the candidates for the most important issue facing the Island


I’m running for re-election to finish what I started, addressing the two most important issues facing Shelter Island: housing and water.

The Town Board is actively working to enhance and protect our sole source aquifer, addressing immediate and long-term solutions. We are working with the Water Quality Improvement Advisory Board, the newly formed Shelter Islanders for Clean Water Group and the Water Advisory Committee to strategize how to best spend Fund money to address our concerns.

We have also entered into discussions with the Suffolk County Water Authority to explore all of our options. I will present, in the foreseeable future, two housing plans, one for home ownership, and one for rental units. Both proposals will be on Town-owned land with little or no cost to taxpayers.

The pandemic slowed down work on my agenda, but I am putting all my focus on finishing it in my next term.


The Town is facing many important issues, but if I have to pick only one to address, I pick water as the top issue. We need to protect and preserve both our drinking and surface waters.

We have a guiding document to follow in the Shelter Island Ground and Surface Water Management Implementation Plan drafted by the Water Advisory Committee. It lays out steps for ensuring ready access to drinking water, reducing nitrates and other pollutant discharges into the aquifer, maintaining water aquifer quantity and reducing negative human impacts on surrounding surface waters.

It contains a multifaceted approach that needs to continue moving forward on various fronts.

There are easier to implement actions, such as the banning of harmful pesticides, and other actions that require a longer horizon, such as modeling our aquifer. We need to methodically implement that plan so that we make a difference for our future.


I will work to stop/reverse the environmental degradation that has already resulted from the accelerating growth on the East End, while ensuring the continuation of our special island community is reflected in a new Comprehensive Plan.

If elected,I will address this complex issue as a member of this community, including all voices to enact solutions on an ongoing basis to meet the challenges that exist and those that will arise. I do not see these problems as “one and done.” For example, crafting an updated Comprehensive Plan is only a first step.

We must then continually align our actions to ensure that we are on course.


The single biggest issue facing Shelter Island is not water, housing or ticks, but elitism. Because it is elitism, and a certain amount of arrogance, that is getting in the way of solving our complex water issues, the housing shortage, ability to more fully eradicate ticks, and the importance of keeping a sense of real Shelter Island love alive.

I work with my hands and live in the real world. I want to be a voice on the Town Board who is an advocate for the voiceless: the little guy, the worker, the artist, the fisherman.


It’s hard to solve anything in 150 words, but we can start by bringing honest, open, respectful discourse to our community. Unfortunately, the same tensions that are tearing the country apart are starting to unravel our town.

Exhaustion, frustration, fear, and the us vs. them mentality (whether it be Republican vs. Democrat, “local” vs. “seasonal,” old school vs. new school) are all leading to high tension, misunderstanding, and miscommunication. I will do my best to mediate these tensions and support open, honest discussion. I will treat everyone with respect and compassion.

My goal is to educate the public on the issues, define the problems, and discuss possible solutions with the community. Including the public in these discussions with clear and defined goals will reduce confusion and increase understanding of the needs of the Island.

We need to work together and find common ground so that we can tackle our challenges and thrive.


I co-founded the Action Alliance and Fireworks organizations because I wanted to bring Islanders together and provide them with a mechanism to support local causes they care deeply about.

In the case of the Action Alliance, it was about enabling neighbors to help neighbors in a time of deep crisis and need, and in the case of Fireworks, it was about saving one of the Island’s most deeply held traditions. I entered this race for Town Council to continue pursuing my passion for bringing people together and achieving progress during these times when we’re facing both pressing issues and exciting opportunities, but also growing division amongst Islanders.

I promise to be a diligent, reliable and focused representative who will keep an open door and always do what’s in my ability to achieve what’s best for everyone.


Narrowing down the most important issue facing our island is like asking which of your children you love best. They are all the most important.

A well-functioning Town Board and a broad base of hard-working volunteers are what we need and have been lacking for some time. Cooperation, transparency and the skill to bring together Town officials, volunteers and Island residents should be our standards for local government — not back-room deals and divisiveness.

With these standards, we as a unified community can tackle it all — water, housing, zoning, ticks and the list goes on. What I bring to the table are the people skills I honed during my 12 years on the Town Board and in running my own business for 37 years. We can only make things happen if we work together.

Write in “Peter S. Reich” for supervisor when you cast your vote on November 2.