Donald Trump isn’t running to represent New York’s First District in the House of Representatives, but in many ways this election is a referendum on the president and the very real need to impose a check on both his policies and his divisive rhetoric, which have only deepened the partisan divide weighing on the country.
Lee Zeldin, the incumbent Republican seeking his third term, has proved to be an effective representative. From time to time, he has broken ranks with his party to better represent his district. For example, he opposed last year’s tax overhaul, which, with its caps on state and local tax deductions, poses a real hardship for many New Yorkers. He has joined environmentalists to oppose offshore drilling and the dangers it could pose to Long Island’s tourist economy.
In a normal election cycle, Zeldin’s attention to local issues would be enough to warrant our endorsement. But these are not normal times, and the incumbent’s unwillingness to take a stronger stand in censuring the president is disappointing.
Zeldin’s challenger, Democrat Perry Gershon, has to convince voters he’ll be able to deliver the goods to our district. But he has already convinced us he can help change the tone in Washington. His motivation is his belief the country cannot survive much more of Trump and his antics.
While we respect Zeldin’s personal position to be pro-life, we believe Gershon’s pro-choice stance more accurately reflects the position of voters in the district. We have strong concerns about some of Gershon’s positions. His Medicare-for-all position, for instance, seems to be dead on arrival because of both costs and Republican opposition.
Be that as it may, it’s time for Americans to unite — men and women of every race and belief — and that means taking the first steps to reining in this president and those who think his behavior is acceptable. The Independent endorses Perry Gershon.
For East Hampton Town Board
David Lys, the incumbent, and Manny Vilar, the challenger, are cut from the same cloth. Both have deep local roots and have raised families here. They agree on the major issues, and we’d be comfortable with either one on the town board.
Vilar, a Republican, was one of the first politicians to voice concern about the Deepwater Wind project and many of his warnings — like the negative effects of the project on our fishing industry — have proven prophetic.
Lys, a longtime member of the town zoning board of appeals (and its chairman), was a Republican. When he was tabbed to fill a vacancy on the town board, he agreed to register as a Democrat. After surviving a primary battle, he is now running to complete the year remaining on his term. Although Lys has touted his independence and shown he can break from the majority on occasion, the fact remains that his election would give the Democrats all five seats on the board. The last time that happened — during the Bill McGintee administration — we ended up with investigators from the district attorney’s office crawling all over town hall.
We need a two-party system in town. In a race featuring two excellent candidates, Vilar offers not only his expertise in labor affairs and his affability, but his standing as a watchdog should party politics overrun Town Hall again. Remember this: The last time it cost taxpayers $30 million. The Independent endorses Manny Vilar.
Although Jay Schneiderman, who has been a member of just about every political party under the sun, has been criticized for being a professional politician, he has always shown a desire to work hard for his constituents. Running as a Democrat, Schneiderman faces a tough uphill climb in his bid to unseat incumbent Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy, but he has our support and will continue to have it should he fall short and return to his position as Southampton Town supervisor.
We also give our nod to State Assemblyman Fred Thiele and State Senator Ken LaValle, two long-time incumbents who for decades have shown the ability to work across party lines for the good of the East End.