Attorney Steven Tekulsky is throwing his hat in the ring once again for East Hampton Town Justice, which is a four-year term that pays $71,753. In 2007, he lost to then incumbent Lisa Rana in what he calls “the closest race against an incumbent in 20 years.” Now that Justice Cathy Cahill is retiring, and he faces newcomer Carl Irace, he feels he has a good chance of winning the election.
“Running for office is an unbelievable and very unique experience,” he said. “People who haven’t done it have no idea how difficult it is, how much work is involved and how many peaks and valleys there are.”
The longtime East Hampton resident, running on the Democratic ticket, has been an attorney for 35 years and started his career, after graduating from St. John’s University School of Law, as the assistant district attorney in Manhattan alongside District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. Over the course of 25 years, Mr. Tekulsky has run his own practice in East Hampton, frequenting the East Hampton Town Justice Court.
“I have a very strong vision of how I believe a judge should run their court room,” he said. “I have the legal background and life experience to be the best judge candidate at this time. I’ve spent much of my life in courts and in front of a many number of judges.”
Mr. Tekulsky said one of his main concerns about the court is its starting on time. He said all parties must be present at 9:30 a.m., but because the district attorney must conference with all parties, the judges don’t get on the bench until 10 or 10:30 a.m. Instead, he said every case does not have to be conferenced before the judge takes the bench, and that many can be conferenced at the bench.
“It’s not an uncommon practice, but it’s not a universal practice,” he said about all parties conferencing before court begins. “I’m going to be on the bench at 9:30 a.m. Court should start on time. It engenders more respect for the court. By starting on time it creates a better atmosphere for running a court.”
Mr. Tekulsky has received endorsements from two retired town justices, James R. Ketcham of Montauk and Roger W. Walker of Wainscott, as well as an endorsement from the Working Families Party.
Mr. Tekulsky has been an appointed member of the East Hampton Town Board of Assessment Review. He has also served with the East Hampton Fire Department for 25 years and was chief for two years in the early 2000s.
Married to Stephanie Tekulsky of Steph’s Stuff store in the village, he has two children, Alexander and Kylie.