Shelter Island Supervisor Gerry Siller said he wasn’t taking his choice lightly, opting to endorse the candidacy of fellow Democrat Bridget Fleming (Noyac), who is seeking their party’s nomination to oppose Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley).
“She knows the district and she’s a hard worker,” Mr. Siller said. “If we have a question, she’ll find out the answer for us” and provide guidance in how to move forward with various requests, he said.
Ms. Fleming is the latest Democrat to join the effort to gain the Democratic nomination to take on Mr. Zeldin. Perry Gershon of East Hampton came within four percentage points in his run two years ago to try to oust the incumbent congressman. He’s hoping to get a second chance at winning the seat.
Nancy Goroff, on leave from her professorship as head of the chemistry department at Stony Brook University, is also seeking the Democratic nod. She announced last week that her war chest had grown by $360,000 as a result of contributions in the fourth quarter of 2019 and said 85% of those contributions were for $200 or less.
Candidates are not yet required to file reports of contributions and expenses for 2020 races and others seeking the 1st Congressional seat have not disclosed contributions received to date, nor has Ms. Goroff filed a formal report with the New York State Board of Elections.
Shelter Island Town officials have been involved in negotiations with Mr. Zeldin and his aides on several issues, particularly what they hope will be a commitment from the Army Corps of Engineers to take on major work at Reel Point.
The spit of land that juts into Coecles Harbor has been threatened by erosion from waves coming across from Rhode Island and eating away at Reel Point, which protects both commercial and residential properties in the area.
The Army Corps of Engineers has indicated interest in the project, but awaits decisions to be made by Congress on funding.
County Legislator Fleming has helped to bring money to the town for a number of projects. She was at the table in 2019 when North Ferry announced its plans for an early morning boat to connect with the first Long Island Rail Road train out of Greenport on weekday mornings. She led the effort to gain approval for North Ferry’s rate hike, which helped provide money for a new boat that arrived in port last October. She did the same for South Ferry, which has a new boat under construction.
Shelter Island School District has also been able to count on Ms. Fleming to assist with its needs for money for several projects.
All of these efforts and more prompted Mr. Siller to personally endorse Ms. Fleming’s candidacy for Congress, he said, joining other East End supervisors and mayors in backing the county legislator.
Other East End Democrats endorsing Ms. Fleming’s run for the U.S. House of Representatives 1st Congressional District seat include Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) and County Legislator Al Krupski Jr. (D-Cutchogue).