Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Sag Harbor) has announced her candidacy for Congress in New York’s First Congressional District.
With a backdrop of Patchogue Lake, Fleming announced her run in Patchogue on May 3 alongside Democratic Party leaders, her husband Bob, and son Jai.
Fleming, a former Southampton Town councilwoman, said she began seriously considering running on January 6, after witnessing Congressman Lee Zeldin vote to overturn the results of the 2020 election results following the protests at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
“Long Islanders can no longer be represented by a congressman so entrenched in personal ideology that he was literally willing to throw democracy out the shattered windows of the Capitol,” Fleming said Monday, targeting Zeldin.
“The state of play has changed quite a bit, but the basis of my candidacy has not,” she continued. “We need to say, once and for all, that we as a District deserve better.”
In elected office, the former prosecutor pushed for tax relief for the middle class. On Monday she said one of her top priorities was fighting to lift SALT tax deductions.
The Noyack resident noted her presence in delivering PPE to frontline healthcare workers during the height of the pandemic, and now vaccines. She aims to prioritize the livelihood of small businesses, as we begin to exit the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.
Fleming also noted her continued effort to save the environment: “Send me to Congress and I will work with all who are willing to protect our environment with big, bold, forward-looking infrastructure projects that will sustain us and those who come after us,” she said.
The former Manhattan District Attorney’s office prosecutor was endorsed by Suffolk County Presiding Officer Rob Calarco at the press conference.
“Here’s why we’re all here today: We have people in government, especially people in our federal government, who know how to get the job done, Calarco said. “Somebody who knows how to look at local issues and focus on global effects. I’m so happy to be able to stand here and support.”
As of Monday, Fleming is the first Democratic candidate in District 1 that has announced her run for Congress. The Republican party has not announced a candidate following Zeldin’s announcement to run for New York State Governor.
Fleming was not directly endorsed by the Suffolk County Democratic Party, but party Chairman Rich Schaffer said she has received his endorsement, as well as that of Democratic Town Committee Chairs from Brookhaven, Islip and more.
Schaffer, also the Babylon Town Supervisor, said Fleming “takes notice of all issues affecting Suffolk County issues across the board,” noting that other Legislators often come to Fleming for countywide advice.
John Durso, president of local 338 RWDSU, said he and members of the labor movement were “enthusiastically” present to support Fleming.
“We’re here because we need a change in our representation in Congress,” Durso said. “We need leadership and we need someone … who will have Long Island’s interests first and not their own personal interests. We will have somebody in Congress who knows the area, who knows the concerns of the people behind us, and will speak to their strengths and needs. That person is Bridget Fleming.”