Riverhead Republicans made history Monday evening, nominating the first Latina ever to run for elected office in Riverhead.
The town Republican committee, gathered for its nominating convention at the American Legion post on Hubbard Avenue, unanimously and by acclamation nominated Yvette Aguiar for town supervisor.
Committee members stood unanimous in their endorsement of the entire Republican slate, nominating incumbent Councilman Tim Hubbard for re-election, Frank Beyrodt for councilman, incumbent Justice Lori Hulse, incumbent tax receiver Laurie Zaneski, incumbent assessor Mason Haas and newcomer Meredith Lipinsky for assessor. The committee did not designate a candidate for the office of town clerk, which is held by incumbent Democrat Diane Wilhelm, who is expected to seek her third, four-year term this year.
Aguiar, 59, a retired NYC police officer, whose parents migrated to New York from Puerto Rico [see prior story] said she is “deeply honored” by her party’s designation as its supervisor candidate.
“I look forward to serving our town,” she said.
“Riverhead Republicans, I ask you — are you ready to move forward?” Aguiar asked, greeted by shouts of “Yes!” and applause.
“Riverhead Republicans, I ask you — are you ready to work with me and bring us to the finish line?” Again the committee members responded with resounding assent.
“If you are ready, we need to be motivated. We need to be enthused. We need to work as a team. We need to work hard for all the people of Riverhead,” she told the crowd.
“I have learned in life perfection is not attainable but if we chase perfection we will achieve excellence,” Aguiar said.
She closed by noting that the convention took place on the eve of the 210th birthday of President Abraham Lincoln, who was “one of our greatest presidents,” Aguiar said.
“In pursuing his vision, we serve our party best when we serve the people first.”
Her words elicited an enthusiastic standing ovation from the committee.
“I’m excited for our slate,” chairwoman Tammy Robinkoff said. “We have fresh faces and there’s a lot of excitement.”
“We have a great slate,” Hubbard said. He and Beyrodt will compete in a four-way race for two seats as council members.
Outgoing Councilman James Wooten, who is precluded from seeking re-election by the town’s term limits law, addressed the committee before the convention got underway.
Wooten sought the committee’s endorsement to run for town supervisor, but was passed over.
“I’ve never been a person to blow my own horn,” Wooten said, but he’s played a central role in the the town’s current direction: “balancing the books, balancing commercial growth with preservation and finally, a real, tangible, obtainable plan for the EPCAL property.”
He said he never understood what he called “the ugly side of politics,” though he did not elaborate on whether he thought ugly politics played a role in his not getting the committee’s endorsement for supervisor.
Wooten said in an earlier interview he would not challenge the committee’s decision in a primary election.
“I came here tonight to wish your slate success,” Wooten said. “I thank you for your past support and may God bless you in your endeavors.”
The Riverhead Democratic Committee will meet tomorrow night at the Polish Town Civic Association headquarters to pick its slate.