Former Village of Bellport trustee Maureen Veitch will be vying for the position of mayor against Kieran Murphy for a two-year term, replacing term-limited and longtime mayor, Ray Fell.
The village is also seeking election for two, two-year board of trustee seats to replace term-limited and longtime trustees Bob Rosenberg and Mike Ferrigno. Trustee candidates running to fill those seats are Michael Young and Lorraine Mazza Kuehn; they will be running unopposed.
The election will take place at the Bellport Community Center from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Prior to the election, the Long Island Advance will be hosting a Meet the Mayoral Candidates event to be moderated by publisher Terry Tuthill, on June 10 at 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., outside on the Village Green across from the Community Center on Bell Street. June 10 is also village voter registration day for those interested in registering to vote. Registration runs from noon to 5 p.m. at Village Hall. Bring your current village ID card.
MEET THE CANDIDATES
Maureen Veitch is a long-time Bellport resident who grew up on North Howell’s Point Road, graduated from Bellport High School and spent her teen years ringing up customers at Wallen’s IGA Market. She is proud to be part of a large Bellport family, with 11 siblings in all and countless nieces and nephews. Veitch has had a home in Bellport for decades and her grown son Brian also lives in the village.
After graduating from SUNY Geneseo with a degree in Business and Organizational Psychology, she began a career in human resources, heading up an HR department for a financial institution with 2,000 employees. She currently owns and runs a successful career coaching business. Maureen has always been adept at aligning the work people do with the mission of the organization. She is alaso a longtime fundraiser for The Boys and Girls Club of the Greater Bellport Area.
Maureen was elected to serve a one-year unexpired term as a Bellport Village Trustee from July 2021 to July 2022. She acted as a liaison to the Department of Public Works and the Waterfront Commission where she gained valuable experience and insights, while building a strong network of relationships. After leaving office, Maureen remained committed to village affairs by attending and participating in nearly every public meeting.
“Bellport is a unique village with wonderful amenities, including a first-class golf course, tennis courts, a beautiful beach and bayfront marina, premier sailing program, a bustling downtown, and so much more,” said Veitch. “But Bellport still has many of the same challenges that face most small towns in America. We need safe roads, fiscal responsibility, and to protect our environment.” “Improving the infrastructure while maintaining the vibrancy and spirit of the village is of utmost importance to me,” she added. “I pride myself on being fair, transparent, open-minded and will courageously push for what you believe in. I listen and am committed to cultivating a community where everyone feels heard and valued.”
Kieran Murphy has lived in the village for almost 30 years with his wife, Colleen, and their two daughters, Rian and Cara.
“I am confident that we all agree that Bellport Village is a unique and special place. We are thankful to our past residents for what they’ve left us, and I believe we owe future generations an even more beautiful and better village than we have today,” he said of his candidacy.
Since 1995, he has been a firefighter with the Bellport Fire Department and served as chief from 2014-2019. Since 2002, he has also worked for the FDNY as a firefighter in Queens and Manhattan. In the village, he has also served on the Village Waterfront Commission, appointed by mayor Fell in 2020.
“This has given me an in-depth view and invaluable experience into village operations,” he said. “As with any job, problems and challenges arise. I believe that with the efforts of our four trustees, along with our talented employees and input from our residents, the best solutions can be found for our village.”
If elected, he promises to strengthen communications between Village Hall and the community; work with the Suffolk police to reduce speeding in the village; make code enforcement more accessible to the residents; plan and execute infrastructure projects more effectively so as to not take place in the summer months; and provide fiscal responsibility to the village to maintain and enhance our infrastructure.
“I believe that my community and fire service experience have provided me the skills to be an effective and adaptive leader and mayor,” he said. “I can pull a team together to assess a problem, find an effective solution, and make decisions quickly. I am comfortable working with many people of varied interests and directing their efforts to get the job done. Facing a difficult problem only makes me work harder. I look forward to being your mayor and serving the residents.”
Lorraine Kuehn strongly believes in giving back to her community. After moving into Bellport Village in 2014, she was soon sponsored into the long-established Bellport Garden Club and shortly thereafter was tapped to lead their organization as club president. By 2016, Kuehn’s leadership qualities did not go unnoticed, when a prominent local attorney sponsored her into the Rotary Club of Bellport. Soon, she was tapped as their President as well, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kuehn led her board to write and approve club by-laws that have been lost or missing for many years. She was also a proponent to start a Zoom account to keep the monthly meetings going. The service projects she led included Bellport Rotary’s holiday turkeys, the Interact Club at Bellport High School, Earth Day cleanups, Thanksgiving food donations to our local family shelter at Help Suffolk housing, spearheaded toy drives for local agencies and holiday gifts for teens through a district grant.
She is credited with creating, and still administers, the only durable medical equipment free-lending closet in the South Country area. She said she lives by the Rotarian motto of “Service above self” and was recognized by Rotary District 7255, when she was appointed to the District Rotary Foundation Stewardship Committee chairperson.
In January 2022, her hard work and dedication was given the highest honor of receiving a Paul Harris Fellow Award in recognition of her substantial contributions in leadership and volunteerism in Rotary. In April 2022, she also succeeded in winning a three-year term as library trustee and received the highest number of votes in the race.
Since 2016, she served as a Woodland Cemetery Gatekeeper and since 2018, she has been a member of the Bellport Village Beautification Committee. She is continually supporting other local groups as a member of Bellport Playcrafters, the Gateway Playhouse, and the Bellport Brookhaven Historical Society, to name a few. Annually, you will find her enjoying the local fundraisers of the Boys and Girls Club of Bellport’s “Beach Ball” and the South Country Education Foundation Summer Gala.
However, her community service initially began in the early years of 1994 to 1998, when she worked tirelessly in creating a hamlet study with renowned urban planner Lee Koppleman, while in her role as president of the Manorville Taxpayers Association.
She also served as a Patchogue EMT from 2006 to 2008 and spent her professional career as a public health sanitarian/New York State food safety officer; she has since retired from that job. Prior to her years as a public servant, she was an assistant to the director of Patient Services at East End Hospice in Westhampton. She holds a bachelor’s degree in management from St. Joseph’s University and earned an associate degree in science from SUNY of Farmingdale. She is married with two grown sons and two grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys walking in Bellport with her dog Coco, gardening, and enjoying her grandchildren in the summer.
Thirty-nine years ago, Michael Young and his wife, Leslie, were married in Bellport.
“We were both fresh out of school and wanted to find a home on Long Island. Bellport was the first and, as it turned out, only village we considered,” he said.
Together they lived on Country Club Road for 18 years and then, as their family grew, with two daughters, they moved to a house on Bellport Lane, where they continue to live to this day.
In Bellport, Young has served on the Bellport Architectural Review Board, sang in the Christ Church choir, functioned as “the lighting guy” at the annual clambake, been a member of the Bellport Bay Yacht Club, been a tennis member of the country club, served as a member of the Host Committee of the Bellport Village Program Fund, and been a member of the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society. His daughters, he said, also went to kids camp, sailed and ice skated on the bay, played kick-the-can with neighborhood friends, and spent innumerable hours on Ho-Hum Beach.
“I am delighted to report that my elder daughter has just bought a house on North Howells Point Road,” he added.
Young has since retired from practicing law in New York City about a year ago and has since decided to run for trustee.
“We are all aware that we face challenges that any number of communities would be thrilled to have,” he explained. “We have a charming and historic village, which serves as the vibrant center of a broader community. One demonstration of our village’s popularity is the desire of so many new families to move here. The challenge of our times is to accommodate new families who bring fresh thinking and energy, while preserving the village’s essential character.”
Challenges, he said, the villages faces include:
Respecting the preferences of all families while maintaining the village’s essential character;
Looking for opportunities to improve village communication and approval procedures;
Maintaining fiscal prudence;
Reviewing roadway conditions and use;
Facilitating the success of local merchants and businesses;
Enhancing village governance transparency while reducing unnecessary adversity between
Seeking ways to strengthen code compliance; village administration and residents;
Facilitating the success of local merchants and businesses;
Most of all, keeping the essential attributes of our charm and aesthetic which, after all, is the reason we all came here to begin with;
Enhancing village governance transparency while reducing unnecessary adversity between village administration and residents. Thanks to our present Board of Trustees, over the past 10 years we have seen significant improvements in the village.