Springs resident Reggie Cornelia has been elected vice chairman of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee. Mr. Cornelia, a former Springs School Board president and current Springs Citizens Advisory Committee member, will replace Tom Knobel, who was recently elected chair of the committee.
“We’re very fortunate to have a man of his dedication and ability,” Mr. Knobel said of Mr. Cornelia, adding that he looks forward to Mr. Cornelia’s assistance in getting committee members prepared for the 2014 Congressional race, as well as introducing new members to the East Hampton committee.
“We have a very important race in the Congressional District and there’s a lot of focus on that, in addition to incorporating new people that we bring on,” Mr. Knobel told The East Hampton Press this week. “Federal elections bring out an interest in people and we hope to plug them into spots on behalf of our candidate.” Members of political committees must gather petition signatures in assigned election districts to get candidates on the ballot. Mr. Cornelia is a longtime member of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee.
“I’m a conservative libertarian, really,” Mr. Cornelia said on Monday. “I would like to see the Republican Party gravitate in that direction. Locally, we have a great platform, but we are outnumbered with registration. So we have our work cut out for us. Every time the Republicans have been in the majority, we’ve done a good job; a good part of that was straightening out the Democrats’ mess,” he said, referring to the budget crisis during the administration of former Democratic Supervisor Bill McGintee.
Mr. Cornelia said that he has always been accused of being partisan, but insisted that he is not at all. He congratulated Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell, a Democrat, for his show of bipartisanship.
“I think it’s a good sign for getting rid of some of the nasty partisanship and, hopefully, that’s a good sign about the way Larry is going to lead the town,” Mr. Cornelia said of the supervisor.
A U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam, Mr. Cornelia is an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, and spent several years helping to organize the annual Soldier Ride event on the East End.
Mr. Cornelia, 70, who currently works for the Suffolk County Board of Elections in Yaphank, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with a minor in education, from Brooklyn College and then went on to work as a teacher in Marine Park Junior High in the Flatlands section of Brooklyn. He then embarked on a brief career in banking, working with Manufacturers Hanover in New York City.
Having worked in the city for many years, Mr. Cornelia finally decided that city life was no longer what he wanted.
“I discovered East Hampton and I decided I’d rather live in the country than the city,” Mr. Cornelia said. “I moved here around 1975, and I ended up staying here.”
An avid fisherman, Mr. Cornelia also takes an interest in bicycling and kayaking. He is a regular on LTV’s “Hello, Hello” show.