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May 5, 2015 2:34 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Democrats Tap Fleming To Run For County Legislature

Jay Schneiderman
May 5, 2015 4:36 PM

Suffolk County Democrats have tapped Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming as their pick to replace County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, who is barred by term limits from seeking reelection this year.

Suffolk County Democratic Committee Chairman Rich Schaffer said he met with Ms. Fleming, a resident of Noyac, over the weekend to officially extend the party’s support. She would have the party’s nomination, barring a primary challenge in September.

Ms. Fleming said Tuesday morning that she was impressed by the proposed campaign strategy and honored by the opportunity. “If I run that race, if I get the nomination, I feel I would be running with the wind in my sails,” she said. “It’s an exciting process.”

Ms. Fleming said she plans to formally announce her candidacy in two weeks. If elected, she would represent the South Fork, from East Moriches to Montauk, on the legislature’s 18-member panel in Hauppauge.

Mr. Schaffer said his committee picked Ms. Fleming, who had been rumored to be a likely candidate for months, because of her accomplishments as a Southampton Town councilwoman, in particular her environmental stewardship. Her work on quality-of-life issues and code enforcement also were points of emphasis for the committee, he said.

“She’s got a great track record as a Town Board member in Southampton—she’s built a terrific reputation of working with the people to represent their needs,” he said. “She’s very in tune with environmental protection, which is important to South Fork residents.”

Barring any primary challenges, Ms. Fleming will face Springs resident Amos Goodman, 31, who has been endorsed by the Suffolk County Republicans, to replace Mr. Schneiderman in Hauppauge.

Mr. Goodman, a financial consultant, said his experience in the private sector will allow him to better facilitate job creation and business growth in the county. He said the starkest contrast between him and Ms. Fleming is on the issue of development: He said Ms. Fleming is often the lone voice on the Town Board speaking against development, while he believes there are times when it is crucial, for new business and affordable housing.

“I think this will be a very spirited and important race that puts two very different points of view against each other,” he said. “That’s what democracy is all about.”

A former New York City assistant district attorney, Ms. Fleming, 55, has served on the Town Board since 2010, originally voted in during a special election to finish out the final year of then-Councilwoman Anna Throne-Holst’s term after she was elected as town supervisor. Ms. Fleming won her first full four-year term the following year; in her only run for Town Board, she was the top vote-getter, totaling 6,263, which was 500 more than the next-closest candidate, Ms. Scalera.

She is slated to be up for reelection this fall, along with Ms. Throne-Holst and Councilwoman Christine Scalera—leaving a vacancy on the Democratic slate for Town Board.

Ms. Fleming challenged State Senator Kenneth LaValle in 2012 and lost to the longtime incumbent by 25,000 votes, although it was safe run: She was still a member of the Town Board at the time.

“I’ve really enjoyed my five years with the Town Board,” she said Tuesday. “We’ve been able to do so much in five years, including a really smart approach to finance. We’ve put in a great sustainability plan that’s baked into all decisions of town government. We’ve had real solutions for threats to our working farms, and we’ve brought significant and needed reforms to the police department.”

Mr. Schneiderman, who is completing his sixth two-year term in Hauppauge, said Ms. Fleming called him after her meeting with Mr. Schaffer. An Independence Party member from Montauk, Mr. Schneiderman said he thinks Ms. Fleming will be a strong candidate and, if elected, a successful legislator.

He said the two discussed strategies for continuing his work protecting the environment and increasing public transportation on the East End, among other things.

“I think she’d be a strong candidate, and I think she’d be a good legislator as well,” he said. “She ran against Senator LaValle and had a pretty strong showing against a longtime incumbent—I think she actually won East Hampton, which I was impressed by.”

As for his own future, Mr. Schneiderman, a former East Hampton Town councilman and supervisor, declined to share his plans when reached by phone Tuesday morning. However, he said he will announce his next move sometime before Memorial Day: “I don’t plan on disappearing. I want to stay active and involved.”

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good choice
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on May 5, 15 4:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
Spoiler alert: Rumor has it Jay Schneiderman plans on joining Anna and Brad to constitute an independence Party majority on the Town Board against two Republicans.

Spoiler alert #2: Rumor has it Do not look for a strong campaign effort by the Republican Supervisor candidate. Why? well that's

Spoiler alert #3: Rumor has it Councilperson Christine Preston Scalera will have a weak Democratic Party enrollee opponent, enabling Ms. Preston Scalera to retain her seat and enable her ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on May 5, 15 5:58 PM
Thanks for the laugh, marlinspike. Your thoughtful, nuanced comments are a joy to read.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 2, 15 2:24 PM
thought Jay lived in EH?
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on May 5, 15 6:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
Jay is from Montauk. I believe he was a former EH town supervisor. I'm not sure if he still lives there though
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on May 5, 15 9:27 PM
She is a good choice and it will be Southampton Town's loss! She's the last real Democrat standing out here.

The legal residence of politicians is a lot like an ocean sandbar... eternally moving and fooling the unwary!

Interesting thoughts Neil!
By Split Rock (68), North Haven on May 5, 15 9:12 PM
and as far as businessmen from the "private sector" go... They never quite get the public servant part of the equation...
By Split Rock (68), North Haven on May 5, 15 9:16 PM
Good choice indeed. For five years, Bridget Fleming has been a strong and steadfast voice for common sense and ethical governance. She often stands alone in this, but sticks to her guns. She will do the same for us in the County Legislature.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on May 6, 15 11:41 AM
Soouthampton Town Democrats are about to have ZERO Democratic choices to campaign and vote for in the next Town Board elections, thanks and no thanks to the Democratic Executive Committee who insist on fielding almost exclusively Independence Party candidates, an egregious outrage for true Southampton Democrats. We have had Anna for years and years, a developer shill if ever there was one, Brad for 5 years and the continued marginalization of Bridget Fleming in favor of the dictates of Indy Queen ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on May 10, 15 6:00 AM
2 members liked this comment
How about forgetting Party allegiance and voting for the candidate who most represents YOUR interests?
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 10, 15 6:12 AM
2 members liked this comment
Our interests or developer interests? The East End many people came here for is almost gone. Political parties and repeated violation or alteration of the Zoning Code designed to protect and preserve the environment with incessant and relentless PDDs and spot zoning were products of campaign contributions to political parties.

Just look at Anna who hasn't gotten within 5 miles of a PDD that she didn't like. Community protests and objections are irrelevant to her. She just brings them back, ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on May 10, 15 3:28 PM
Her Royal Highness Queen Anna has bent over backwards for every developer who has proposed a PDD, a truly disgusting display in no way representing the best interests of Her constituents, her campaign contributors to be sure but not Her constituents. Sure the ones who have migrated here are disgusted by the rampant development and pandering to developers, but imagine how the folks who are FROM here feel!!!!! My wifes' family arrived here in the late 1690s, some were Montauketts for God's sake.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on May 10, 15 6:04 PM
Procedural note to Obbservant: The Southampton Town Democratic Committee chooses candidates to run for local office by a majority vote of the entire Committee, not just the executive committee. No candidates are forced on anyone. A local convention is held on notice to all Committee members, and anyone can be proposed for an office at that convention and compete to be the party's candidate.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on May 12, 15 3:46 PM
Yes TB,
but don't they screen before the exec committee first and then move on to the STDC? Enough with Indie party running the Dems. ATH says jump and GH says how high.
By Justsay'n (42), Southampton on May 13, 15 3:25 PM