This December will bring decades of public service on a plethora of community, school and, lastly, the Southampton Town Board to a close for Nancy Graboski. Putting speculation that she'd be the GOP's next candidate for supervisor to rest, earlier this month, Graboski wrote town committee chair Ernest Wruck removing herself from contention.
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Stating her service on the town board has been "an honor and a privilege," Graboski wrote, "In the seven and a half years since I took office, I have worked hard to improve our quality of life, hold the line on taxes and spending and find solutions to the many challenges we face. I take great pride in knowing that I was successful in accomplishing a variety of important initiatives and have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences as an elected official."
She continued, "From day one I have treated the position as a full time job and have devoted the bulk of my time and energy to the demands that go with public life. And while I love what I do, the time has come for me to rejoin my family and to get on with other plans and goals, including spending more time with my grandchildren. And so when my term comes to a close at the end of December, I will step down and will not seek elective office at another level."
Since her election to town board in 2003, Graboski tackled an array of issues and shepherded multiple initiatives including dark skies, wireless communications, outdoor dining and special events legislation. She created the town's hurricane preparedness guide and advanced a variety of public safety and disaster response measures.
The councilwoman, who served on the town planning board for almost a decade, with three years as chair, worked with community organizations on beautification projects, sponsored zoning code amendments related to agriculture and was an advocate for airport noise abatement.
"I admire her courage and strong independent streak," one time running mate Linda Kabot said this week. "I was hoping she would throw her hat in the ring to run for supervisor to cap off a successful career in public service."
Kabot and Graboski first crossed paths in the '90s when Graboski was serving on the planning board and Kabot was working for then-supervisor Vince Cannuscio. The pair went on to serve together on the town board . . . even without support from their party.
In 2003, the local GOP passed Graboski over for a second term on the town board. She decided to primary for the slot and Kabot, who was a councilwoman at the time, joined forces with her to mount a primary for supervisor. Both women won.
The town council and planning board weren't the only places where Graboski satisfied a desire to serve. A schoolteacher posted at Phillips Avenue Elementary School during the late 60s, the Bridgehampton resident and wife of potato farmer Benny Graboski became president of the Bridgehampton Cooperative Nursery School in 1972. The '80s saw her elected to the Bridgehampton School Board and volunteering as a 4-H club leader. From 1986 through 1991 she was a member of the board of directors of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, serving as president of its 4-H program advisory committee.
Marietta Seaman, the vice chair of the local Republican committee served as town clerk during some of Graboski's terms on the town and planning boards. She summarized Graboski's contribution this week. "She is a wonderful woman and a great public servant."
Party chair Wruck wrote, "Nancy Graboski has stood by her principles even in times of controversy or challenge. I wish the best for her and her family in their future plans."