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Jun 21, 2016 3:55 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Throne-Holst Hopes To Bring Record Of Problem-Solving To Washington

Anna Throne-Holst
Jun 21, 2016 4:12 PM

Anna Throne-Holst says that her resume in public life—from a mother who helped create a school, to a supervisor who righted the fiscal ship in Southampton Town and created a water quality research center—is the one 1st Congressional District voters should pull out to be their next U.S. Representative.

Her bull-by-the-horns approach to problem-solving, fiscal responsibility and willingness to compromise during her eight years in office has won her some critics in more liberal local circles. But Ms. Throne-Holst says that the roots of her political life, in social support networks and early childhood education, are the core of her progressive way of thinking.

“I have devoted my life to working for people: creating opportunity, solving problems in the community, bringing forward cost-effective, responsive and effective government,” said Ms. Throne-Holst, a single mother of four who was a Southampton Town Board member for eight years, its supervisor for six. “My oldest son said to me recently, ‘Mom, your entire life has been a precursor to this.’ When your 29-year old, who is off trying to change the criminal justice system, says that, you take it to heart.”

Ms. Throne-Holst will face David Calone on the Democratic Party primary ballot on Tuesday, June 28, to settle which of them will challenge U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin for the 1st District seat in the House.

Born and raised in Sweden by an American mother and Swedish father, Ms. Throne-Holst, 56, started her path to public office as a privileged Bridgehampton mother—one with a European bent at equality and a broad dissatisfaction over the early childhood offerings in the local community. With a 2-year old and a newborn, and preschool offerings scant, she was one of several parents from the private Hampton Day School who wanted their children, and those of others in the Bridgehampton community who were without the benefits of wealth, to get a more diverse head start on education.

“We tried to get the board interested in diversifying and giving scholarships, and create a real program for early childhood education to those who wanted it and those who needed it but couldn’t afford it,” Ms. Throne-Holst said of the seeds of the effort that led to a group of parents splitting from Hampton Day and creating the Hayground School. “What we created was a very progressive alternative education model that’s still there today and … had over 70 percent of its students on scholarship as of a few years ago.”

Ms. Throne-Holst’s work with the Bridgehampton minority community during the school’s founding landed her on the board of the Bridgehampton Child Care Center as well, at a time when the center’s financial solvency was plummeting toward collapse. After just a short time with the struggling not-for-profit, she volunteered to serve as interim executive director in 1999, and remained in the role for five years.

During that time, the center dug out of its fiscal hole, started teen pregnancy and drug prevention programs, began offering SAT prep classes and cultural awareness education for the kids who attended—as well as ESL programs for the growing Latino population and computer literacy classes for seniors—and started a low-cost summer camp.

After a board meeting one night, the center’s treasurer, Tim Bishop, told Ms. Throne-Holst that he was thinking of running for office.

“I remember thinking: Who wakes up in the morning and says, ‘I think I’ll run for Congress’?” she recalled of the six-term Democratic congressman, who lost the seat to Mr. Zeldin two years ago.

She left her role at the center for the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, where she earned a master’s degree in human rights and conflict resolution, then worked at the UN, helping to organize the first democratic elections in the Congo in 2006. Not long after, the Suffolk County Democrats recruited her to run for office in Southampton Town.

Elected to the Town Board in 2007, Ms. Throne-Holst said she again landed in an organization that was awash in fiscal mismanagement and mountains of debt. Despite being in a political minority for all but the last two years of her tenure at the town, Ms. Throne-Holst nods to the forensic audit of two Republican administrations she spearheaded as her most grueling chore in public life.

“People say after this campaign I must be about to keel over, and I say, no, the almost three years it took us to revamp that office, working literally around the clock and having to get three votes for everything, trying to get that group of people to work together—this is nothing compared to that,” she said.

As supervisor, she cut staff and spending at the town and pushed through seven years of budgets with no tax increases, even denying fellow Democrats some hoped-for new positions and programming. The town’s Community Preservation Fund embarked on a new program to preserve farmland for food production only. The town adopted a sustainability guidebook for its Master Plan.

Ms. Throne-Holst and her former chief of staff, Jennifer Garvey, hatched the idea for a research center focusing on developing new ways to treat residential wastewater—the marquee issue of recent years. Her personal pitches secured $4 million in funding and support from the state and Michael Bloomberg, and participation from Stony Brook University.

“We went to six or seven forums where they kept asking, ‘What are we going to do about it?’ and were always talking about how this is such a problem for us,” Ms. Throne-Holst recalled. “But we said: ‘We’re in the problem-solving office.’”

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Zeldin is doing a great job. From saving Plum island from development to Veteran day care, getting funds for the National Estuary program and focusing on the heroin epidemic on Long Island.
By auntof9 (159), Southampton on Jun 21, 16 5:30 PM
Gotta beat Lee Zeldin.. The man's a Tea Party fave, a climate change denier, and Donald Trump's top surrogate in the House of Representatives.

You want that for another two years? If not, vote for Dave Calone in the Democratic congressional primary on June 28. If you vote for Anna Throne-Holst, you guarantee the re-election of Lee Zeldin.

Why so? Because Dave Calone has the Independence Party endorsement. If he's not the Dems' candidate, that line goes to Zeldin, who will then ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 22, 16 12:45 PM
Anna sure has a lot of that out of town billionaire money to spread around! Her personal financial disclosure also shows that she receives $$ from Saunders Realty 2 years in a row now. For what? Has anyone seen her showing houses around town lately? Is it commission? Same amount, both years.

As for her record of "problem solving"....HA! The only problems she solved were for the developers. And then she usurped others' ideas to claim as her own.
Clearly, I'll be voting for Calone, ...more
By EastEndJoy (16), East Quogue on Jun 22, 16 10:04 PM