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Island moved to County District 1: Legislative seat now held by Krupski is up for grabs

Shelter Island, long represented in the Suffolk County Legislature by a District 2 legislator, has been moved into District 1 as a result of a mandate calling for a reapportionment determination every 10 years.

There were months of negotiating and wrangling among members of the County Legislative Reapportionment Commission, which is meant to recommend such decisions based on population. But representatives of the Democratic and Republican parties fought for their own maps before a settlement was reached in October.

Shelter Island joins a district that encompasses the North Fork from Orient Point to Wading River and dips south to pick up Northampton and an area west of Westhampton, along with Remsenburg and Speonk.

County Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac), who has represented the Island, said the full Legislature came to a consensus in a bipartisan agreement on the new map. Ms. Fleming called it “a testament” to recognition that elected officials are to serve the needs of the people they represent, putting politics aside.

At the same time, she added, it’s “a huge disappointment” to no longer represent Shelter Island.

“It was a pleasure and a privilege,” Ms. Fleming said, promising to continue to support Island interests on matters that come before the legislature. She recently lost her bid for a Congressional seat to Republican Nick LaLota.

Ms. Fleming noted she and District 1 Legislator Al Krupski (D-Southold) have had “a great partnership” in supporting the interests of both legislative districts. Mr. Krupski is stepping down and has announced he’s running for supervisor of Southold Town. Supervisor Scott Russell (R) has announced his intent not to seek re-election. There has been no response yet to his office about whether he would be endorsing a candidate for the county legislative seat.

The Republican County Committee is expected to choose its candidate for Mr. Krupski’s seat on Thursday, said Shelter Island Republican Chairman Gary Blados. Mr. Blados hailed the change in districts, saying he sees it as a win for Islanders who don’t want to be thought of as “an annex of the Hamptons. Our values, challenges and economic development align with our neighbors on the North Fork.”

The Republican leader said he expects the Democrats will name their candidate this week. He noted the parties used to have to file candidate choices later in the spring, but now have to do so in February.

Democratic County Chairman Rich Schaffer hasn’t yet responded to a call about when the party will announce its candidate for the District 1 seat.