East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell, who is serving his second term in the two-year position, said Friday that he will not seek re-election in November.
The Democrat and longtime public servant said he wants to spend more time with his family and friends and devote some time to “enjoying myself a bit.”
“I’ve been a public official for 42 years and I’ve always put the community first,” said Cantwell, 66. “Now it’s time to put my family first.”
Cantwell, who succeeded Bill Wilkinson, took office in January 2014. He made the announcement during an “informal meeting with the press” Friday morning at Goldberg’s bagel shop in East Hampton. He said he has “no plans” yet for the future but is keeping his options open.
Asked whether he might consider a return to public service after taking a hiatus, Cantwell said he didn’t see that in the immediate future, but added, “You never say never and you never want to preclude opportunities you might want to take advantage of in the future.”
Cantwell, a lifelong East Hampton resident, was the East Hampton Village administrator for three decades and made national headlines for his role in efforts during the past two summers to eliminate the disruptive behavior of a young partying crowd that residents said had taken over Montauk.
Cantwell and town board members have been widely praised for winning that fight by instituting a long list of new laws and other measures to return order and a more family-friendly spirit to the hamlet.
During his first term, Cantwell was instrumental in preserving open space in all of the town’s hamlets, making coastal resiliency planning and shoreline protection a priority, upgrading infrastructure and setting the goal of making East Hampton less energy dependent.
In his years as a town councilman, the former town planning board member and chairman of the town’s housing authority helped launch East Hampton Town’s first affordable housing program.
For now, Cantwell is focusing on the remainder of his term.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I still have a year of hard work ahead of me.”