Endorsement: For Suffolk County Legislature

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The relative size of the East End compared to its level of representation in the Suffolk County Legislature suggests a particular urgency to the responsibilities of the elected official who holds the 2nd Legislative District seat, which covers all of East Hampton, Southampton and Shelter Island towns, as well as Gardiner’s Island and even parts of Brookhaven.

That’s a lot of ground to cover and a great deal of responsibility in serving such a diverse constituency.

Legislator Bridget Fleming of Noyac, who was handily elected to her first term representing the 2nd Legislative District in 2015, has done an admirable job covering that ground. She was seemingly everywhere during her freshman term, popping up at community events, political forums and other important moments with relative ease. She has a strong environmental record, and has been a leader on the county level when it comes to health-related issues like combating tick borne illnesses, increasing access to health care and fighting an increasingly alarming opioid crisis. Ms. Fleming also opposed cuts to public transportation in a region that needs more, not less, mass transit. With strong constituent services, Ms. Fleming — like successful South Fork politicians before her — has also shown her first responsibility is to the residents, not her political party. We look forward to what a second term will bring in terms of her ideas on economic development and affordable housing.

The endorsement of Ms. Fleming is also a common-sense decision, considering the Suffolk County Republican Committee failed to nominate a truly viable candidate to run a meaningful campaign. Heather Collins may be qualified to serve on the legislature, but has largely been absent on the campaign trail — an absence made more obvious since she is up against an active candidate like Ms. Fleming. Republican and Conservative party members on the South Fork deserve a candidate they can feel confident in, but fortunately, in Ms. Fleming, they can count on strong representation on the county level no matter their political affiliation.

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