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Aug 31, 2012 1:59 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Maertz And Fleming Hold First Debate In Southampton

Sep 4, 2012 2:54 PM

There were few differences between the positions of Democrats Bridget Fleming and Jennifer Maertz, who met to debate in Southampton Village on Wednesday night, and one major shared view—a feeling that their opponent, longtime Republican New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, has to go.

The pair, who will face off in a Democratic primary election next Thursday, September 13, for the opportunity to challenge Mr. LaValle in November— and possibly become the first woman to represent the 1st Senatorial District in the history of the State Senate—answered questions on New York State-level social, ethical and economic issues at the Rogers Memorial Library in an hour-long debate hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons. Topics discussed included education reform; how to make New York more competitive and business friendly; same-sex marriage; the success of the state’s recently imposed 2-percent tax levy cap; a woman’s ability to access health care like Planned Parenthood; the Metropolitan Transportation Authority payroll tax and other issues.

Ms. Fleming is a Southampton Town councilwoman from Noyac, and Ms. Maertz, who was born in Southampton, is an insurance litigation attorney who lives in Rocky Point. In her opening statement, Ms. Fleming was not shy of attacking Mr. LaValle, claiming in his 36 years in office he’s “failed to protect our economy” and has catered to special interests instead of tending to the needs of the 1st Senatorial District. “I’m running for the State Senate because business as usual has failed us in Albany,” said Ms. Fleming.

Ms. Maertz, in her opening statement, spoke about her credentials, noting she is a graduate of St. John’s University, Touro Law School and has worked up to three jobs at a time. “So I know what it’s like to struggle.”
She said one of the reasons she’s running is to help young people on Long Island. “Our youth are suffering,” she said. “This is their future.”

Both candidates said they supported same-sex marriage, which Mr. LaValle voted against last year. Both agreed that there should be public financing of campaigns. They both also agreed that should the tax cap continue, there needs to be a serious look at unfunded mandates and exemptions that school districts and municipalities have to shoulder.

On same-sex marriage, Ms. Maertz said it boils down to an issue of civil rights. Both she and Ms. Fleming said Mr. LaValle’s no vote ignored the wishes of his constituents. “He was just dead wrong,” Ms. Fleming said.

While they both support same-sex marriage, their approach on how to make the decision differed slightly. Ms. Maertz said since it is a civil rights issue, she wouldn’t factor in what constituents or polls say regardless if “70 percent of this district” was against it. “We must treat every constituent as an equal and we must vote that way no matter what the polls tell us,” she said.

Ms. Fleming countered, saying “I do care what the constituents say,” and emphasized that she supports marriage equality. “To me there is no question that people have a right to choose who they want to live their lives with and love,” she said.

Both congratulated the Shinnecock Indian Nation for achieving federal recognition, and both said they felt a potential Shinnecock Indian Nation casino should not be built on the East End.

When asked about the rising numbers of homeowners plagued with underwater mortgages, both candidates said government must take steps to help them. Ms. Fleming, an attorney, said “a number of my clients are facing foreclosure and you would never know it.” Ms. Maertz added that Suffolk County is currently looking at an initiative in California, where a municipality would assume an underwater mortgage from a homeowner and restructure the mortgage for them.

“Long Island has the worst foreclosure rate right now,” she said. “We definitely have to do something. Right now if Congress doesn’t act and the banks don’t act, government’s going to have to step in.”

Both candidates agreed that the election of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan, who support defunding Planned Parenthood, would cause serious problems for women’s health care. “You’ll have women who could die if Planned Parenthood is not properly funded,” said Ms. Maertz.

Ms. Fleming said she was “deeply offended” by Missouri Congressman Todd Akin’s comments that women who were the victims of “legitimate rape” could not become pregnant. “I certainly support Planned Parenthood,” said Ms. Fleming. “I think they’re a good organization. I think women’s health has been ignored by the Republican majority in the New York State Senate and we must act to change that.”

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A flip a coin election
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Aug 31, 12 5:19 PM
Fleming is a much better candidate.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Aug 31, 12 9:14 PM
Because? Because? Because?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 1, 12 8:02 AM
Because Bridget Fleming has a far stronger resume as a mediator, a sex crimes and fraud prosecutor, and a twice-elected Town Councilwoman with a string of substantial accomplishments achieved, as the only Democrat on the Board, by working with Republicans, Independents & Conservatives.

Because she has raised over seven times as much money as her opponent, and like it or not, money counts until the bright day when we change that.

Because she obtained almost 40% more Democratic ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Sep 1, 12 12:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you for stepping up, TB, and hauling SHNative's fat out of the fire.

Your brief on Ms. Fleming's behalf would be a little more palatable, though, had you not had such an extensive résumé of partisanship for all things Southampton Town Democratic.

Ms. Maertz, a Southampton gal, had the gumption to stand against Dolittle LaValle on her own in 2010 when no one had the stomach for it, and I think that counts for something, as does her fearlessness in standing on principle. ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 1, 12 1:58 PM
Facts are facts, whether they come from a partisan or from elsewhere. (How do you get the accents on resume?? Cool.)
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Sep 1, 12 5:37 PM
Bridget will lose too.
Who in her right mind takes off a week before a primary election?

She has.

She should be walking her district meeting voters if she really wants it.

She's lost me.
By FredShart (19), Port Jefferson Station on Sep 5, 12 7:23 PM
On the question of equality, Maertz said that she supported it, regardless of her constituents' opinions; Fleming said that she would ask them first. (Fleming redacted her statement in the second debate.)

This is a telling exchange. Maertz stood for principled ethics and Fleming for political expediency.

I find Maertz to be the much more appealing candidate both because of the way she came to the candidacy (her own pluck v. imposition from the Democratic establishment), and her ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Sep 1, 12 12:58 PM
Bridget's performance in Southampton proves she has no political future in Albany or anywhere else.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 2, 12 11:50 AM
Wait she made the Flanders farmer market at least three people go there. Her answer to economic stimulus in Flanders maybe she didn't notice there are no farms in Flanders
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 2, 12 12:56 PM
And the kids "working" there are going to think thats how it really is in the world.
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Sep 2, 12 2:02 PM
If the kids working at the market learn that the world is a tough place and starting a new business is a great challenge, it will be a good lesson. As for the market itself, it's climbing the same curve that most new enterprises do, and as we know, they don't all make it. Time will tell.

Of course, Bridget Fleming has done a lot more for Southampton than just establish the Flanders farmers market. A partial list includes sponsoring a law requiring removal of dangerous utility poles resulting ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Sep 3, 12 9:18 AM
> "while Jennifer Maertz was sitting at home nursing her principles."

I re-read that three times to try to understand how you could write something so cynical, so dismissive, so low-minded!

Are you really the voice and face of the Democratic Party of today, or just the Southampton Town Democratic Party?

In either instance, you bring discredit to it, and I for one am going to make it a point to learn a good deal more about candidate Maertz even though "blanks" don't vote ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 3, 12 10:58 AM
Maybe I do state it a little strongly, but the fact is I favor doers over talkers. Can't change that.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Sep 3, 12 11:29 AM
Actuallt TB, the tone of your retort is beneath you. If for some reason I can't fathom at the moment Ms. Fleming were to get out of the race, you would have to back Ms. Maertz. How uncomfortable would that be for you?
On the issue of the Farmers Market, while the kids have a good attitude, there is nothing is the way of HARD work involve in their sitting there for 4 hours on a Saturday monring. The products are donated, the kids are not at all familiar with them, and it appears to be a complete ...more
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Sep 5, 12 11:12 AM
So, TB can you tell me about the health benefits volunteer fireman get as my husband is a local volunteer and we know nothing about this. Ms. Fleming lives around the coner from me never see he even taking a walk around the neighborhood, maybe she could fill me in on the benefits
By J. Totta (106), Sag Harbor on Sep 13, 12 11:13 AM
I hope she wins and goes to Albany with the rest of the liberals that way we don't have to listen to her anymore! She is a disaster on town board!! Never heard anyone say "I" "me" more than her. So got 'em Bridget!!!
By The Gipper (11), Sag Harbor on Sep 4, 12 7:13 AM
1 member liked this comment
Ms Maertz should be disqualified from holding any public office and being paid any of my taxpayer dollars for saying something as plainly ridiculous and misleading that women could die if Planned Parenthood is not properly funded. Why should taxpayers whose religion disapproves or expressly forbids abortion, pay for it? Let Liberal organisations fund this for themselves. What many do not seem to realise is that the Democratic platform approves of abortion in the 8th and 9th month. There seems no ...more
By Leon789 (50), westhampton on Sep 4, 12 7:47 PM
Women are not stupid. Obama seems to think they are. I hope they vote for their families in November and send the message that having a job for themselves or their husband is way more important than having access to a free abortion.
By Leon789 (50), westhampton on Sep 4, 12 7:52 PM
Please tell us why you made such an ignorant statement.
By Phadreus1340 (144), Southampton on Sep 6, 12 9:19 PM
Which part do you consider so?
By Leon789 (50), westhampton on Sep 7, 12 7:46 PM
again more BS fear mongering from Phil. Abortion is LEGAL in every state. The big battle presently is using tax payer dollars to pay for abortion.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 9, 12 7:29 AM
Your twisting rape as being the main reason why abortions are performed. Most Abortions are by woman who want to get rid of a pregnancy that was unplanned. A pregnancy caused by irresponsible behavior with the woman having little regard for the unborn fetus is the main abortion reason. A five year old could tell you there is a baby in a mothers pregnant stomach, but an ignorant liberal can't admit it. Too bad some mothers of liberals didn't think abortion when they were pregnant. What type of society ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 10, 12 9:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
Do you really think abortion is a man trying to control a woman? I don't even know a woman that is pro choice so is that woman controlling other woman? If your a Christian, Muslin, Jew, or Hindu your religion is against abortion.Why is this country so arrogant to think they know better than any religion or any culture?
With your reasoning if something is yours than you can do what you want. So if your child makes you mad just beat the child because it is yours. If your dog pees on the floor ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 11, 12 9:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 11, 12 10:42 PM
You think religion has nothing to do with abortion? That is a convenient belief to believe our creator shouldn't be thought of when we want to terminate a life. Maybe that is why this country is hated in some parts of the world because our morals dissapear when certain subjects are bought up. Don't tell me most abortions are made because of a womans health, in fact an abortion can cause some serious medical problems for a woman. The comments that you make show your selfish ideas by saying it is ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 12, 12 8:14 AM
1 member liked this comment
" Thou shall not kill" Ten commandments made you should check them out sometime
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 13, 12 7:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
There are many references in the bible to When life begins. Most sayings are consistent with life beginning in the womb. Psalm 139:13-16 is just one of many. I find it approprite that the reaper liked your comment phil
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 13, 12 11:04 AM
The govt of the US is based on Judeo Christian morals and beliefs. Unfortunately liberals don't believe in any type of common sense, and are a minority with big mouths. I'm sure Jesus Christ agreed in abortions, and you know more than people who wrote the bible. Phil you are obviously a man hater too think men want woman too have babies.
Phil did you know the majority of abortions are young woman who made bad choices and want to rid themselves of the problem. Woman do have a choice........ ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 13, 12 7:15 PM
The word abortion never appears in the bible. However their are several references to when life begins and what is considered murder. Are you trying to argue that god's intent is to murder un born children and that god hates women? In addition to being a political and financial genius are you also a well versed theologian? Deuteronomy is a book from the old testament. It is widely accepted by scholars that this book consisted of sermons and speech from the people of Israel at the time and were ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 14, 12 6:49 AM
Now you are a person who knows what the authors of the bible meant? LOL Liberaals can twist anything to match their warped sense of values and lack of them.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 14, 12 7:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
I remember all the libs who had the bumper sticker that read "Dissent is patriotic" It should have read dissent is patriotic but only if you agree with me.
Again back to the abortion arguement. Abortion is legal in every state. If you want to get an abortion pay for it with your own money not tax payer dollars. I dont want to pay for something I dont believe in. Your arguement for the war against women is week. The % of abortions due to rape or incest is 1%.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 14, 12 8:42 AM
The Obama Administration is plainly trying to put the fear of God (even though He was left off the Democratic platform) into people about this abortion issue. I am against abortion but cannot see Roe vs Wade ever being overturned. Choice in this regard is something which is not going to be taken away with a Republican in the White House. Its simply never going to happen in this country because our society has gone too far in the opposite direction, which people like me, have to - and do - accept.
By Leon789 (50), westhampton on Sep 10, 12 3:10 PM
Looks like we got off the subject here -- as if that's never happened before -- but just want to remind folks once more about this little-known primary election:

It's on this Thursday, September 13, a Democratic primary for state senator, between Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming of Sag Harbor and attorney Jennifer Maertz of Rocky Point. The winner will face Republican incumbent Ken LaValle in the November general election. Voting is from 6 AM to 9 PM at all the regular ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Sep 11, 12 11:13 AM
Off subject but given the events in Libya and Egypt overnight, I fear another 4 years of Obama apologists being in charge in the White House. Next he will move to take away Freedom of Speech because that speech offends other countries on YouTube. Good Luck to Ken LaValle.
By Leon789 (50), westhampton on Sep 12, 12 2:24 PM
1 member liked this comment