The election for Mayor and Trustees for the Village of Mastic Beach is coming up, and I have reached out to the many candidates running for various positions. For the next couple of weeks I hope to get responses from them so I could feature them here, and have everyone become familiar with the candidates. This is the first installment of "Meet The Candidate", featuring Evan Proios who is running for Village Trustee.
I am a six year resident of Mastic Beach who purchased my first home on Wavecrest Dr. with my wife Jessica when I was 23. As a young couple we moved to Mastic Beach because we love the water and it was one of the only areas we could afford to live in. I hold two undergraduate degrees in Technology and a Masters of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Organizational Management. I have been employed by the County of Suffolk for 11 years and have served in several advancing positions including working under Edward Romaine and Judy Pascale in the County Clerks Office in the Information Technology department. I love boating and jet skiing and spend most of my summers in the inlet or the forge river. My wife and I both ride Harley’s and I have an extensive background in custom car audio and consumer electronics.
2) Why did you decide to run and were you for or against the village?
I decided to run because I felt that my demographic and generation needed a voice in the village. I was for the village but I was not for the Village Vision Team or exploratory committee. As I applaud their efforts and dedication to getting the village passed I do not agree with many of the methods they used during the campaign and feel that their motives were not always genuine. I feel that now is the time for all residents of Mastic Beach to come together for the greater good of the people. That is not possible if we are still fighting with pro village and anti village people. I still see the fight continuing and we need to elect candidates that can let the past stay in the past and keep focused on our future. As the youngest candidate running for a seat in Mastic Beach I feel I can effectively represent the interests of the younger constituents within the Village. My kids are not grown and moved on, I have not had children yet. I am not retired or close to retirement. My house is far from paid off. I cannot afford to move if I wanted to. Like the Village, my future is here in Mastic Beach, not my past. I have a long run ahead of me like many others my age that live here in Mastic Beach and on Long Island. Way too often my generation is represented by officials that live in a different world then we do. They do not understand my struggles, our struggles. They grew up in a different time, in a different way. They have different goals, different struggles and are in a different point in there lives. I am not saying that age makes a difference; there are great perspectives that come from every age group. I am saying that there are 5 seats on the village board and at least one of them should represent the younger generations that live in the village. I am also running because with my extensive business education and government background I am sure I can set up this new government effectively and efficiently. I am not sure how well it will be set up without me.
3) What do you believe your responsibilities are as a trustee?
As trustee my responsibilities are the same as any other elected official and that is to represent the people that I serve. Many in politics these days forget why they are elected. Elected officials are here as representative of their constituency. My ideas and desires come second to those of the people I serve. I will listen to my constituents and their ideas and work for them. Work for you. My most important responsibility is to listen to everyone, act as an arbitrator to facilitate compromise between all residents and champion their ideas and create the Village that the people want and need. Too often these days elected officials become complacent and forget to listen to the people that they serve. Second to that my responsibilities will be to create a good working new branch of government. I will use all that I know of business processes and effective government and create policies and procedures that make sense and will work for the Village now and for years to come.
4) What outside experience do you bring that can be applicable to the position?
I have plenty of governmental, civic, and business experience that I feel will be applicable to this position. First I hold two masters degrees in business. Government is most like business in many regards. Not math, science or english. In these days government needs to act like a business to run lean and efficent. I have been a Suffolk County employee for 11 years and have worked in several departments and positions. I know how government runs. The good and the bad. I know the difference and I know what works and what does not work in government.
I am an Eagle Scout, I have been an EMT for 7 years and I serve on several volunteer boards including current President of Briarcliffe College Alumni Association, Vice President of Osprey Pointe Civic Association and member of the Huntington Chamber of Commerce young professional’s advisory board. I was also an elected officer and treasurer of Medford Volunteer ambulance for one term. I know a few things about starting a new organization as I am the first president of my alumni association and the first vice president of my civic.
5) What do you see as the positives of Mastic Beach, and what are the negatives?
Mastic Beach has many good points. First and foremost is the great people who live here. Even for our faults Mastic Beach is made up of a lot of good, hard working, caring people. Second for me is our beautiful waterfront and environment. Nestled on the Great South Bay between Moriches Bay and the Forge River we are located in what I feel is one of the most beautiful pieces of water surrounding the island. We are a middle class hard working area with great water views. One negative point is the stigma that surrounds the name Mastic Beach. I feel we do have our problems but not nearly as bad as it is made out to be. I tell people I am from Mastic Beach and they cringe. They ask how I can live here and if I am scarred. I am really not sure what they are talking about. My wife walks our dog every day around the block. There is not a lot of traffic and it is not scary at all. I feel that our area has a much worse reputation then what it really is. As for real problems we do have housing issues, blighted areas, and many code violations. I almost feel a lot of that will go if we change the perception of our area and attract good hard working homeowners to buy up our empty and blighted houses. Crime and drugs are the same issue here as they are all over Long Island and need to be met with force same as anywhere else.
6) How do you envision the Village of Mastic Beach in 5 years?
In five years I see our boarded up houses occupied by hard working families and young couples just starting out proud to own a home. I see our retired residents happy with their neighborhoods and meeting up in the streets to discuss recipes and when they will be going fishing next. I see a growing downtown area with some night life. I see a calendar full of Village events like street fairs, bake fairs, parades, festivals, carnivals and tons of fun activities for everyone. I see two strangers talking in the mall and when one proudly says they live in Mastic Beach Village the other responds with wow, I heard it was really nice out there. I know that this sounds like a dream because it is. Shaw once said that “some see things that are and say why, while I dream things that never were and say why not”. We need to start with a dream and then work hard to make it a reality. I see a small Village, using technology and creative methods to cut costs while generating revenue being able to live up to its dreams.
THE ELECTION IS ON NOVEMBER 22nd, 2010 AT THE MASTIC BEACH FIRE DEPARTMENT (ON NEIGHBORHOOD RD) FROM 12-9PM.