Gordon Herr has been at the helm of the Southampton Democratic Party for three years, just starting his second two-year term. In our interview, Herr discussed his mission as chairman, his views on the Southampton Town 2012 elections, and his vision for the future of the Democratic Party in Southampton. When I asked about his mission as Chairman he said, “I see my mission as having two main aspects. Growing and building the Democratic Party in Southampton Town and to identify qualified candidates for elected office and for the appointed boards.” He explained, “Over the last decade, we have been very successful in attracting residents to register to vote as Democrats. In fact, our monthly new registration figures are consistently double that of new Republican registered voters. We have also been successful in running highly qualified candidates for the Town Board and other elected positions and we continue to attract individuals who desire to see good government in the Town.” Herr said that with the efforts of previous chairman Michael Anthony, along with his own (using his numbers), Democratic Registration in Southampton Town has gone from around 6,000 to over 11,500.[expand]
He pointed out the Republicans have 13,200 registered voters, a slight advantage but not what it once was. As for the coming elections, Herr said, “The elections on November 8 are vitally important for the Town. We cannot afford to go back to the failed policies and the financial mismanagement of the previous Republican administrations. They have shown that they cannot manage the Town’s finances. A recent investigation by an independent auditor found 26 different citations for Republican mismanagement of the Town’s finances. It was this fiscal irresponsibility that led to a Moody’s downgrade in the Town’s bond rating. This election is about who is best able to manage the Town’s finances in these tough economic times. Our team has proven financial leadership. In short, this election is about looking forward, and not back.” Asked about the Democratic candidates Herr said, “Our team of Anna Throne-Holst, Bridget Fleming and Brad Bender is about people not politics, service not politics. Supervisor Throne-Holst and Councilwoman Fleming have made the Town more accountable, better financially run and candidate Brad Bender is committed to doing the same. Our team is about financial management, good government and doing what’s right for all residents of the Town. We are not about control, but about community—not politics.
Furthermore, as well as showing proven leadership in financial management, our team has shown commitment to balancing the need for improving the local economy with protecting the environment, which after all is the engine which drives our local economy. Throne-Holst, Fleming and Bender have and will continue to promote alternative energy policies to reduce the Town’s carbon footprint, while helping create new green jobs and increasing energy efficiency standards to save homeowners money on their energy bills.” I asked about the recent developments of Linda Kabot throwing her hat into the Supervisor’s race via a write-in campaign and Herr replied, “Well, interestingly enough, even Linda’s own party (Republican Party) is not supporting her in her write-in campaign. We do not regard her as a serious candidate.”
So what about his vision for the future? Herr proclaimed, “My vision for the Democratic Party in Southampton Town is to continue to work towards the creation of a Party that is all-inclusive, recruiting people from all of the diverse constituencies of the Town, especially the younger residents. We all need to work together to develop and expand our economy to become more of a year-round economy, giving our children the opportunities to live and work here. Also, I care deeply about our Town and believe that we need to become stronger, more accountable to all its residents and for our government to be more about service and community, instead of politics as usual.”