James Iannone is an avid sports fan, but his first run for elected office isn’t much of race.
Iannone is running unopposed for trustee in East Williston for the seat of Caroline DeBenedittis, who decided not to seek re-election.
A resident of the village since 2009, Iannone, 41, said he fell quickly in love with East Williston and its tight-knit, small town feel.
“I’ve gotten to know a lot of my neighbors,” he said. “I like my neighbors, and I really like my community and I really want to succeed.”
Iannone grew up in Dix Hills and completed his undergraduate studies at Fairfield University, where he majored in politics. In 1998, he graduated from Emory School of Law.
He spent the next five years working as a prosecutor in Queens County before going into private practice in 2004. He now shares an office space on Willis Avenue with his father-in-law, also a lawyer, who has lived in East Williston for more than 30 years.
Iannone said he thinks his law degree will inform his work as trustee.
“I think being an attorney does help me understand some of the legal issues the village faces,” he said.
His wife, Kristin, and he met in 1997 as interns together at the Nassau County District Attorney’s office. They married in 2001
He has three kids. The oldest, 10, attends Willits Road Middle School and his second oldest, 8, goes to North Side Elementary School. His youngest is 2.
A major sports fan – Mets, Islanders, 49ers – he said his typical weekend involves shuttling his children from one sport practice to the next.
Tall and soft-spoken, Iannone said that when he first moved to the village, a neighbor suggested he join the volunteer fire department, which in 2010 he decided to do in part as a personal challenge.
“Going through fire school was a little out outside my comfort zone because I’m not crazy about heights,” he said. “I thought it would be a nice way to serve the community and meet other village residents, and I’m really happy that I did it.”
Iannone said he is excited to work with the mayor and the trustees, most of whom he knows – Trustee Christopher Siciliano is also a member of the fire department – and helping the village resolve its water dispute with Williston Park, where his office is located.
“I would love to see if we could work out an amicable solution with Williston Park,” he said. “I think both Williston Park and East Williston are great communities that need each other.”
He was careful to note, however, that he isn’t entering the discussions with any preconceived notions.
“I’m a very good listener,” he said. “I’m open to the best ideas that are out there.”
And for Iannone, like his beloved Mets, it all comes back to teamwork in the end.
“I will listen to the opinions of the other trustees and the mayor, as well as the residents, and always try to put the village’s interests first,” he said. “I love the village and I want to keep the things that make it special here.”