Lys Announces Run for East Hampton Town Board

Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, center, and Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, right, were on hand to support Councilman David Lys, left, as he declared his candidacy for re-election Sunday. Christopher Walsh

East Hampton Town Councilman David Lys, who was appointed to the town board in January, on Sunday announced his intention to stand for election in November.

The announcement came against a backdrop of clearing skies at the Montauket restaurant and bar on Fort Pond Bay, with East Hampton Town Democratic officials, including former Supervisor Larry Cantwell, Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, and some prominent members of the town's Democratic Committee, there to support him. Mr. Lys's fellow board members were also on hand.

"In 1648, East Hampton's colonial forefathers came to the East End with dreams and solid vision," Mr. Lys said to the large gathering. "They saw a place in the New World that was complete with natural beauty, environmental purity, and full of bounties from both the land and the sea. They saw a new home where they would be able to lay down roots and work hard, fulfill their commitments to their families, and provide a safe and productive home."

"Three hundred and seventy years later, I still see those same visions in my birthplace and hometown of East Hampton," he continued. Though some come to East Hampton to enjoy its bounties without giving back to the fabric of society, "I am not that person," said Mr. Lys, a former member of the town's zoning board of appeals. He was a founder of Citizens for Access Rights and is president of the Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station Society. "I have been steadfast in protection of East Hampton's traditions and continued protection of public access. I have demonstrated the desire to tirelessly volunteer my time" to protect East Hampton's history, he said.

"It is this desire to protect my hometown that charges me to be the best town councilman that I can be. . . . And it is this continued desire to protect and lead my hometown that led me to make the decision that I am going to run to retain my town council seat in this upcoming November's election," he said to cheers.

Town officials must continue to work toward protection of the environment, beaches, and groundwater, Mr. Lys said. He asked those assembled for their support and advice, and asked that they "pass the word on the street that I am the person that you respect and that you would recommend for town council. And most importantly, I need your vote."

Election Day is Nov. 6, "but there's also the possibility of a primary on Sept. 13. It is extremely important that you show up and participate in your civic duties on those days," he said.

Following his announcement, Mr. Van Scoyoc, a former councilman whose seat was filled by Mr. Lys upon his election to the supervisor's position, told the crowd that the board had "searched high and low" for a candidate to fill the seat. In Mr. Lys, "I think we made a great choice, and I ask you to continue to support that choice and to support David," he said. "He's just been wonderful to have on the board. He's so energetic, he contributes so much knowledge and background, having lived his whole life here, and he's a great asset to this town. We'd be very proud to have him back on the board after the November election."

In an interview minutes after the announcement, Mr. Lys said that affordable housing is a top priority. "I think we also have to make sure to increase the amount of recreational opportunities we provide for younger adults and children, to keep them off of opioids and drugs -- even for adults too," he said.

He wants to help in shaping decisions on the South Fork Wind Farm, which a Rhode Island company has proposed to construct approximately 35 miles off Montauk, and the hamlet studies that will inform future planning and development, he said. "I look forward to taking those on too, because I feel they're all within my wheelhouse right now."

Mr. Lys will run on the Democratic Party line. He told The Star that his prior Republican Party registration stemmed from his father's instruction to check that box when he obtained his driver's license. "I never took any political action, never went to any events, any parties, any fund-raisers," he said. "Finally, when I had the opportunity to go to the town board . . . I went to the websites of both parties, and found myself having to make a choice. The choice . . . was that I align myself more to Democratic values. And that was an easy decision for me."

Mr. Lys's appointment had been a point of contention on the Democratic Committee, which has been locked in a battle over the party's leadership since early this year and has put out the call for candidates interested in running this fall for the board seat Mr. Lys occupies. Nevertheless, the outgoing chairwoman, Jeanne Frankl; Betty Mazur, the longtime chairwoman of the party's nominating committee, and Christopher Kelley, longtime chairman of the Democrats' campaign committee, were all on hand to hear Mr. Lys's announcement at the Montauket on Sunday.