Zolezzi, Daw to step down, Tanner up

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With Village of East Williston Mayor Nancy Zolezzi and Deputy Mayor James Daw Jr. deciding not to run for re-election, Trustee David Tanner announced Monday his candidacy for mayor as part of a three-person slate.

Tanner is running on a Community Party ticket with Chamber of Commerce of the Willistons President Bobby Shannon and Bonnie Parente, a lawyer. They were both asked to run for office by Tanner.

The prospective changing of the guard is also prompted by Daw’s decision to step down along with Zolezzi, who has held her office for 10 years. Daw has been a trustee for a total of 16 years, serving on the board from 1991 to 1996 and again from 2000 to the present.

“We got everything done that we wanted to do. It’s time for some new blood,” Zolezzi said.

Zolezzi cited the construction of the new East Williston Village Hall as one of her principle accomplishments as mayor, along with the resurfacing of roads in the village.

Daw said he had certain objectives he wanted to help achieve during his last 10 years, including the road resurfacing and the re-establishment of the Village Court in the new village hall.

“The time ‘round I wanted to see some things through. I saw them through and decided it was time for younger voices to be heard,” Daw said.

Knowing that Zolezzi and Daw were both stepping down, Tanner said he thought he should “step up” and assume a greater role on the board as mayor of the village. Zolezzi has credited Tanner with playing an instrumental role in developing the master plan for upgrading East Williston’s downtown and its new village hall. Tanner cites his 13 years of experience on the board as a prime reason that he is ready to assume the new role.

Shannon, 37, said he was not contemplating running for office this year before being asked by Tanner, but was pleased with the opportunity to become more deeply involved in the life of the community

“In East Williston, you see a community that cares, a very traditional community. I’d like to take an active role. I like being involved,” Shannon said. “I like being part of what we have.”

As to his goals, Shannon emphasized maintaining the nature of the community as it is.

“I want to continue making this a safe place. I want to make sure the taxes stay low and to make sure there’s a predictable economic plan for the village,” Shannon said.

Shannon said he also wanted to create more activities in the village for teenagers, and more activities that would bring everyone in the village together.

Parente, 41, a mother of two children, echoed Shannon’s opinion on that point.

“I agree with him. I think it’s the tween-teen years that need to be addressed,” she said.

In a broader context Parente said her objective is “to take issues that polarize our village and address them in a democratic and systematic way.”

A director of human resources for the New York Racing Association, Parente said she feels her experience there would serve her as a trustee. In 2008, she was appointed as an alternate to the East Williston Board of Zoning and Appeals and in 2010 was selected as a representative on the St. Aidan’s Parish Council.

Shannon said he didn’t anticipate any opposition candidates running against Tanner, Parente and himself.

The village election is scheduled for March 15. Other candidates may file petitions to register for the election by mid-February.

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