My name is Ann Welker . I am a candidate for Southampton Town Trustee in the November 7th election.
The Town Trustees are the original governing body of the Town of Southampton. This organization is almost 400 years old. The Town Trustees are the ” Guardians of the Waterways ” and in this capacity are the stewards of Southampton’s shores, water ways, marshes and bottomlands. The Trustees responsibilities’ according to the Town of Southampton website include : preserving public access to the water; upholding the traditions of a maritime community; advising the Town Board on Coastal related issues; informing the public of the Facts of Coastal Issues and Policy; representing the best interests of the freeholders; maintaining and protecting surface water quality; regulating dock and bulkhead construction and impacts; promoting sustainable harvest of commercial shellfish and finfish; providing a safe marine environment and inspecting all structures built on the bay bottom.
I grew up on the East End, attending Tuckahoe School and Southampton High School. I attended Cornell University studying Animal Science and rowing on the crew team. I completed my undergraduate degree at Adelphi University with a Degree in Business and concentration in Finance. I later returned to Adelphi to earn my Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology.
I am now an Exercise Physiologist at Stony Brook- Southampton Hospital working in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit.
In addition, I teach swimming , paddleboarding, and ocean swimming and safety and have done so for many summers. I do not, however, JUST teach children and adults to swim or paddle or boogie board. I share my love for, respect of , and appreciation for our fragile marine environments and therefore create awareness and hopefully engagement with the environment on behalf of my students.
I volunteer or am involved with:
– Eastern Long Island Chapter of Surfrider and also the Blue Water Task Force, Surfrider’s volunteer run water-testing program
– i-Tri, which teaches empowerment to at-risk adolescent girls
– Full Circle Cooperative Organic Farm
– Quogue Wildlife Refuge
– Green Thumb Organic Farm CSA member
– Red Cross Blood Donor
– Ecological Culture Initiative.
In retrospect, there are many people, and numerous events that have been nudging me towards a run for Southampton Town Trustee. The tipping point for me was when I was unable to swim in Big Fresh Pond because of high bacteria counts and unable to paddleboard on Mecox Bay because of warnings about blue-green algae. Both of these are omens of disaster for our waterways.
The most pressing issues facing the Town Trustees are the impaired water quality in our bays and ponds , and the protection of public access to our beaches .
The Town Trustees , as stewards of our bay bottoms and water ways , need to be the voice of environmental leadership by advising the Town Board on coastal related issues, and educating and informing the residents, both year round and second homeowners , about the importance of each of our individual actions in stopping and reversing the damage that is being done to our waterways , marshes , beaches and bay bottoms .
We need to work cooperatively in order to accomplish this reversal. Interfacing with various governmental bodies, the private sector, and individual homeowners is necessary so that we may collectively make a difference. We CAN affect change in the health of our water ways and protect access to our beaches.
“Women govern in a bi-partisan ,responsible way” according to a speaker at a workshop that I attended this fall encouraging women to run for elected office. I believe that I can be one of these women.
I encourage you to vote on Tuesday November 7th so that I might begin to work with others to protect and preserve our East End environment as a Southampton Town Trustee.
I am deeply grateful to you for taking the time to read this.
“For in the end we will protect only what we love, we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught.” (Baba Dioum,1968)