Village of East Williston Deputy Mayor Bonnie Parente has announced that she is running for mayor.
In a Facebook post Sunday morning, Parente thanked the “friends, family, and neighbors who have encouraged and inspired” her to run for mayor.
Parente has begun the process of getting petitions signed by residents to formally appear on the ballot.
“In eight years as deputy mayor I’ve learned a lot and I’m now prepared to use what I’ve learned to make things even better,” Parente said Wednesday.
One of Parente’s key inspirations is her parents, she said. Her father, Lou Santosus, served as deputy mayor of the Village of Mineola and has been a lifelong member of Mineola’s Fire Department. Her mother, Pat, was recently honored by the Fire Department’s Ladies Auxiliary for 50 years of service.
Residents’ concerns about water quality are at the top of Parente’s focuses as she runs for office, and “safety and security in the village are paramount,” she said.
The election will be held on Tuesday, March 19, with polls open at Village Hall from noon to 9 p.m.
Parente is also interested in building and infrastructure concerns in the village, particularly residential overbuilding and traffic on East Williston Avenue, which has purportedly posed a threat to students at the North Side School.
Mayors of the village’s past, as well as neighboring villages, have inspired Parente to run as well, she said.
Former East Williston Mayor Nancy Zolezzi, and current Mayors Paul Ehrbar in Williston Park and Scott Strauss in Mineola have allowed Parente to learn from their accomplishments and history, preparing her to serve as mayor, she said.
Parente also credited current Mayor David Tanner, who she has worked alongside for the past eight years, for keeping East Williston fiscally sound during his tenure.
One possible opponent for Parente is village resident Stephan Leccese, who said he is “seriously considering” running for office.
“I have met with former mayors from East Williston to find out why certain things came to be,” Parente wrote. “I did this because we learn from our past successes and from decisions that might not have worked.”
While working as a labor attorney for the last 25 years, Parente has served on the village zoning board for two years and a trustee and deputy for eight years on the Board of Trustees. She has been involved with Girl, Boy and Cub Scouts, village Little League and other community organizations.