"I'd like to be optimistic," Owen Rumelt said as he stood outside the polling station at West Hempstead Middle School Tuesday evening.
The 23-year West Hempstead resident who was fighting to retain his seat on the library board spent most of the day at this spot, feet soaked and campaigning throughout despite the rain.
"I took the day off from work to be here because it's important to me," said Rumelt, who was appointed to the board two years ago after one of the members stepped down citing personal reasons.
When were revealed shortly after 10 p.m. on May 17, Rumelt learned that the two-years of work he had put into the board and the hours of water-logged crusading for his position had paid off.
Rumelt defeated newcomer Thomas Mascia by 263 votes (980 - 717).
During his campaign, Rumelt, who is also a practicing attorney, pointed out that he saw a major conflict of interest if his opponent was elected to the board.
Mascia is sister to library director, Regina Mascia, and his wife is also a secretary there.
"He [wouldn't] be able to sign any checks or participate in private executive sessions that the library board holds because of the conflict of interest," Rumelt told Patch.
Describing his relationship with Regina Mascia as "cordial," Rumelt said he was surprised when he learned her brother submitted the paperwork to run for his position on the board in mid-April.
Although he did admit that some of the board's policies may have not been popular with everyone on staff.
"The board over the last few years has been looking more closely at things and sometimes we suggested things be done differently," he said.
Rumelt said his goal has always been to make the library more "economically efficient" and to be cognisant of the cost to taxpayers.
With the latest budget for the library, which residents passed - 989 voted yes and 813 voted no, he said the board kept the increase low but did have to account for state-mandated pension costs.
The roughly $3 million budget for 2011-2012 carries with it a 1.4 percent tax levy and will cost the average homeowner an extra $12 annually or $1 each month.
"I believe the strength of a community is based on its library and school systems," Rumelt said.
Library director Regina Mascia also said she was very happy with the results of the budget and board vote.
"I was very relieved and happy that the budget passed and looking forward to serving the community with programming," she said.
Mascia added,"I was very pleased that Owen was re-elected to the board."
Rumelt said the race against Mascia's brother will not hinder their working relationship going forward.
"I'm just looking forward to finishing the work we've started," he said.
Thomas Mascia could not be reached for comment.