Legis. Bridget Fleming testifies at a state legislative hearing on offshore oil exploration and drilling in February 2018. File photo: Denise Civiletti

Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Southampton) has declared her candidacy for Congress in New York’s First Congressional District.

The South Fork legislator announced her campaign in a launch video this morning.

“The stakes are too high at this point to stay on the sidelines,” Fleming said in a phone interview this morning.

“Our congressman is spending the majority of his time on national TV, circling the wagons around the president and engaged in the turmoil in Washington,” Fleming said of incumbent Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley.)

“I’ve spent the better part of the decade serving the needs of this community and I am in the best position to bring change to Congress, to get back to the basics of representing the needs of our district,” Fleming said.

“That’s why I’m throwing my hat in the ring.”

Fleming, 59, a former prosecutor and former Southampton Town councilwoman, was elected to represent Suffolk’s Second Legislative District in 2015.

“First District families need a champion — someone who is going to listen and then roll up her sleeves to get the job done,” Fleming said.

“I’ve spent the last four years on the legislature advocating for my district and its families. Together, we’ve secured hundreds of millions of dollars to protect our environment, advanced real progress on affordable housing, delivered major infrastructure improvements and funding for our transportation system, and combated the epidemic of tick-borne disease,” Fleming said in the press release announcing her campaign launch.

Fleming said Zeldin is so caught up in Washington politics and “currying favor with the president,” he is not delivering for his constituents in NY-01.

“Zeldin denied well-founded climate science as he supported an administration advocating massive cuts to the EPA and rollbacks of environmental regulations,” she said. “He voted to take health care away from hundreds of thousands of First District residents when he voted to gut the Affordable Care Act, and he blatantly disregards the facts as he continues to deny foreign interference in the 2016 election.”

Fleming said she respects the other candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to face Zeldin in 2020 but believes she is
“the best candidate to beat Lee Zeldin in November.”

Perry Gershon, 57, the East Hampton Democrat who lost to Zeldin by 4% in the 2018 midterm election, is seeking his party’s nod again in 2020. Political newcomer Nancy Goroff, 51, of Stony Brook, declared her candidacy in July. Both Gershon, a businessman, and Goroff, a professor at Stony Brook University, have never before held elective office.

Zeldin is seeking his fourth two-year term in the House of Representatives.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.