On Monday, June 1, the four Democratic candidates in the 1st Congressional District race squared off against each other before the Democratic primary on June 23. The winner will earn the right to challenge the incumbent, Lee Zeldin.
The four candidates were Bridget Fleming, Greg Fischer, Nancy Goroff and Perry Gershon. Congratulations to the League of Women Voters for organizing this debate through Zoom, and broadcast via YouTube, probably a first.
Of the four, only Bridget Fleming has governmental experience, having won five elections in Suffolk County, to the Southampton Town Board and the Suffolk County Legislature. Nancy Goroff and Greg Fischer have absolutely no experience as elected officials, and it showed. Perry, though he, too, has not yet won an election, his campaigning for the last three years has prepared him well. In my opinion, he and Bridget were the most effective debaters.
Dr. Goroff is a professor of chemistry at Stony Brook University, and Mr. Fischer is a business consultant. Nancy is a pleasant person, with an amicable demeanor. But she came off as a novice in politics. Greg, too, showed a distinct lack of knowledge of political negotiations.
Their essential premise is right. Dr. Goroff feels Congress needs to prioritize environmental issues after four years of neglect by Trump, aided and abetted by Lee Zeldin. Mr. Fischer is justifiably worried about getting the economy back on track after the tremendous beating it has taken from coronavirus. But both seem to think that their job is to continue to be the scientist and business consultant in Washington, D.C. Knowledge of their respective fields can be useful only if they succeed in the art of negotiations and politics.
Bridget Fleming is such a person. Her experience as a legislator, the only one in the quartet, should certainly give her a clean advantage over the others. In the debate, she was articulate and got her message across clearly. She spoke from direct knowledge and experience. Alone among the four, she seemed poised. She was also the only one to answer the questions, to the point, while the others tried to “convert” them to advertise their agenda.
Perry Gershon seemed relaxed and assertive. Three years of canvassing has obviously made it easier for him to talk and get his points across. He, too, has no experience in government, but at least he seemed to understand this.
In other circumstances, there could be an opportunity for nongovernmental people to vie for elected positions. Not this time, when America is reeling from 100,000 dead due to coronavirus, and the economy gone down the chute. We need a legislator to take on Congress.
Who won the debate? Bridget Fleming.
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One fine body…