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Conservative Primary Candidates Answer Questions; Lay Out Vision for Southampton

Linda Kabot and Phil Keith answers questions about their candidacy.

Linda Kabot and Phil Keith
Linda Kabot and Phil Keith
On Tuesday, Conservative voters will have the opportunity to write in the name of the Southampton Conservative candidate of their choice for the November election. Vying for the Conservative line is Southampton resident Phil Keith and Quogue resident Linda Kabot, who is waging the primary for the line. Both are registered Republicans.

The Conservative Party officially endorsed Phil Keith, who is a US Naval Commander after the Suffolk County Board of Elections tossed a nominating petition of former Conservative candidate Howard Heckman III. That petition was challenged by Kabot, who is a former town supervisor and also the Republican choice this election.

To help readers get to know the candidates, Patch asked each of them five questions. The following are the candidates' responses in their own words:

What do you think makes you the better conservative candidate?

Keith:
 “Better” is not the point right now: the first and most important milestone in the Primary is for the Conservative Party leadership and the party members to have their chosen candidate on the ballot, not someone who self-selected herself.

Kabot: I am asking Conservative voters for their vote of confidence as a viable, serious challenger to the incumbent Town Supervisor.  I am the Republican candidate for Town Supervisor in this year’s General Election and I have a proven record as a fiscal conservative.  It is important for Southampton Town Conservatives to vote for the candidate who has the best chance at defeating the incumbent Supervisor.  With only 60 days remaining until November 5, as the Republican challenger with more name recognition Town-wide, I am the fiscally-conservative candidate who is better able to achieve that outcome with the people’s support on Election Day.  A write-in vote for anyone else on the Conservative Primary ballot other than Linda Kabot is a vote for Anna Throne-Holst.

If you had to describe yourself in 5 words, which 5 words would you use?

Keith:
 Loyal, dedicated, focused, organized, patriotic

Kabot: Honest, Independent, Ethical, Caring, Fiscal Conservative

If you are elected, what are the top three things you would look to do for the taxpayers?

Keith:
 First, be a prudent steward of the taxpayer’s money—it’s their money, not government’s. Second, re-focus the Town budget on truly essential services and eliminate as much non-essential spending as possible and third, offer once a week open meetings with the Supervisor, for any citizen to attend.

Kabot:
First, continue the fiscal reforms and innovations that I began as Supervisor between November 30, 2007 and December 31, 2009.  Second, stop the play-to-pay shenanigans that my opponent employs by changes in the Town’s Ethics Code. Third, continue to implement the policies that I spearheaded during my first term as Town Supervisor to eliminate wasteful spending, revitalize our hamlet business areas, and deliver proactive code enforcement to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and safeguard property values.

What is your vision for Southampton's future?

Keith: 
Southampton needs to become a family-oriented community in harmony with its environment and, at the same time, capable of dealing with its economic desirability and natural attractions.

Kabot:
My vision for Southampton Town’s future is one that respects our heritage and continues to be a beautiful and affordable place for all of us to live.  The focus of local government should not be on “the rich and famous” who vacation in the Hamptons.  My campaign platform focuses on having local government be more responsive to the community that we serve and delivering real results.  As I have been campaigning door-to-door over the past several months, I have heard many people complain that certain Town officials are dismissive and Southampton Town needs competent leadership. Local government needs to get back to basics, continuing to hold the line on property taxes, implementing regulatory reforms to streamline various government approvals, and providing greater transparency in the decision-making process.

If you had the money, what projects do you feel are important to improve the Town of Southampton? 

Keith: Southampton’s three greatest needs are, in order of priority: Community safety at all levels: police, fire protection, emergency services, effective medical care, a better hospital; educational excellence: providing the best facilities and teaching staff consistent with the budget, and made available to all—this includes renewed post-secondary education at the college level; and infrastructure: we don’t need “more” we need “better:” this includes roads, access, and effective solutions to housing and transportation.

Kabot: There are a host of different capital projects that should be undertaken if financial resources were available, but most importantly, the condition of the Town’s roads and certain critical infrastructure tops the list.  For example, public safety and drainage improvements for our highways is paramount, sidewalk connections are necessary, particularly near schools where children walk and ride their bicycles.

Patch wants to know: Which candidate will you vote for? Comment below.

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