Southold Democrats offer crash course in local politics

Katharine Schroeder

In an effort to inspire people to get involved in local politics and to educate them on how to go about doing so, the Southold Town Democratic Club is hosting a free crash course in town politics.

“Local Politics 101” will give people an opportunity to understand how town politics work, and how what happens locally makes a difference, even on the national stage.

Kathryn Casey Quigley, a member of the Southold Democratic Club and an organizer of the event, became active in local politics after the 2016 presidential election.

“I made a personal choice to get more involved, to get off the sidelines,” she said. “I learned a lot more about how connected local politics are to national politics; that there is a thread and a line between one and the other and that it’s not necessarily readily apparent.”

Although the course is hosted by the Southold Democrats, everyone is welcome, she said, adding she understands it might appeal more to one political perspective than another.

Former Democratic congressional candidate Dave Calone of Brookhaven and Robin Long of the Suffolk County Democratic Executive Committee will lecture on the connection between national and local committees.

Damon Rallis, co-president of the Southold Democratic Club, will be talking about the specifics in Southold Town: what the elected positions are, what they do, who holds the seats and when they’re up for reelection.

The Southold Democratic party has struggled to get candidates elected in Southold Town, where just three of 19 elected town officials are Democrats: town justices William Price and Brian Hughes and trustee Nicholas Krupski. Registered Republicans in the town outnumber registered Democrats 34 percent to 28 percent as of April 1, according to enrollment data published by the New York State Board of Elections. Registered voters who are not enrolled to any political party represent 26 percent of Southold’s 17,368 registered voters.

This is a local election year, when the town clerk, highway superintendent, two assessors, two councilmen, the Fishers Island justice, and three trustees stand for election. None of the incumbents are Democrats.

The event is not intended to be a search for candidates, Quigley said, but added, “If people as a result learn about this and decide to run for office, that’s fantastic. It definitely can be a starting ground for people to realize that they could do one of these jobs.”

Short of running for office, there are plenty of ways people can get involved right here at home, Quigley said.

The course will take place on Saturday, April 22 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the Holy Trinity Church Parish Hall, 768 Main Street, Greenport.

To register, visit the event website.

For more information, email