East Hampton town council member - Democratic

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East Hampton town council member - Democratic (2 Seats Open)

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Jeffrey Bragman:

Background:
Bragman, 66, of Northwest Woods, faces primaries for the Democratic and Independence party lines. He has the Working Families Party line in the general election. Bragman is seeking his first elected position. He previously served as the appointed attorney for boards of planning, architectural review and zoning in East Hampton Town, Southampton Town and North Haven. Bragman is originally from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1973 from Yale University and a law degree in 1978 from Emory University School of Law. He has a son.

Issues:
Bragman said he wants to curb overdevelopment and “really maintain the character of the community” by going through zoning and planning laws, using his experience as an attorney who has fought against development projects. He said he wants to protect the area’s natural resources, historic homes and affordability because “I’m very concerned about not having two East Hamptons: one for the ultrawealthy and one for everybody else.”

Kathee Burke-Gonzalez:

Background:
Burke-Gonzalez, 55, of Springs faces primaries for the Democratic and Independence party lines. She has the Working Families Party line in the general election. She is seeking her second term as town councilwoman. Burke-Gonzalez spent nine years serving on the Springs school board of education, including two as its president, before she was elected to the town board in 2013. The former advertising executive is originally from Valley Stream. She earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing management in 1983 from Siena College. She is married with two children.

Issues:
Concerned about climate change, Burke-Gonzalez said her “number one issue” is protecting water quality, which “drives our real estate values.” She said the town board is working on drafting wastewater treatment plans for multiple areas, as well as a coastal assessment plan to predict how rising sea levels will affect residents. Burke-Gonzalez said she also wants to collaborate with “Deepwater Wind on coming up with a plan the community will find acceptable for clean, renewable energy.” She said she will continue to work to secure local control of the town airport, build a new senior center and create more affordable housing.

Zachary Cohen:

Background:
Cohen, 68, of Springs is running a primary on the Democratic Party line. He is seeking his first term in elected office. Cohen lost a bid for town supervisor by 15 votes in 2011. He has chaired the town’s nature preserve committee since 2008 and is vice chairman of the Springs Citizen Advisory Committee. He also serves on the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund Advisory Opinions Bureau and the Suffolk County Tick Control Advisory Committee. The real estate investor is originally from Miami Beach, Florida. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1971 from Sarah Lawrence College and a master’s of business administration in 2000 from the University of Chicago. He is married.

Issues:
Cohen said he wants to draft a plan for relocating shoreline properties because “we have to recognize the threat of sea level rise is real” and prevent property owners from adding hard structures to the coastline. He said he wants to use the Community Preservation Fund to install new low-nitrogen septic systems in larger properties, such as the Springs School, in addition to funding individual home upgrades. He said his “biggest interest” is finding more affordable housing opportunities, including by reviewing town properties to create more overlay districts with affordable housing zoning.

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