Endorsement: Bridget Fleming for Congress

It’s a rare election when politicians and pundits don’t declare that Election Day will be one of the most important in voters’ lifetimes. The pols want to encourage a large turnout of their supporters, and the pundits want to generate support for their predictions and endorsements.

One of those elections was the presidential election of 2020, when a record was set for voter participation and Joe Biden won a decisive victory, ending the one-term, chaotic executive branch led by Mr. Trump. The defeat sent him packing — literally, with classified documents — to his Florida country club, where he still maintains a grip on his party.

Next Tuesday will once again be a milestone moment for American democracy.

Voters in the 1st District will have a large say in this momentous decision, when they vote for who will represent them in the House of Representatives, and which party will control the House.

Nick LaLota is running under the Republican and Conservative banners, and Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming is the Democrat and Working Families Party candidate. Mr. LaLota is a 43-year-old resident of Amityville, which is not in the 1st District, but he’s said he will move here. (It’s not a requirement that an elected official live in the district he or she represents.)

Mr. LaLota is a bright and engaging person and in many ways an attractive candidate.

But our pick for Congress is Ms. Fleming, 62, of Noyac. The long-serving county legislator has been in the vanguard on issues that concern East End residents, achieving solid results during her tenure in Hauppauge. She’s been active in drafting sanitary code revisions that allowed nitrogen-removing septic systems to replace out-of-date cesspools and helped secure more than $10 million for her district in clean water initiatives.

On reducing tick-borne diseases, Ms. Fleming has pushed for funds for the Tick Surveillance and Management Program, dedicated to tackling the health crisis head on. A consensus-seeking environmentalist throughout her career, Ms. Fleming will bring a much needed voice to Congress from our coastal communities. Committed to fast-tracking solar energy, and electric vehicles to protect the climate, bringing goodpaying green jobs to Long Island and bringing down energy costs for her constituents.

Ms. Fleming is working to wholeheartedly encourage capital investment to protect our coastal resources from the effects of climate change.

Mr. LaLota is, like all Republicans, blaming crime on Democrats. But Ms. Fleming has a long and distinguished record on fighting crime and supporting law enforcement, which is evident in her endorsements from the Police Conference of New York and the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association.

On abortion rights, Ms. Fleming has always supported a woman’s right to make decisions about her body and health. Mr. LaLota called the overturing of Roe v. Wade “a step in the right direction,” and said New York should repeal “the extreme position” it holds on abortion. Now, as his party’s standard bearer, he’s softened that position.

Electing a Democrat in this watershed election is essential. The national Republican Party has been overtaken by radicals who once lived in the far-right fringes and now have leadership roles. Rep. Elise Stefanik, who chairs the House Republican Conference, is a loud election denier who voted on Jan. 6 not to validate President Biden’s victory.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the most unhinged public officials ever to attain high office, is seen at public events with GOP leader Kevin McCarthy. If Mr. LaLota is elected to Congress, do you think he will vote to make Mr. McCarthy, a passionate Trump lieutenant, Speaker of the House?

Mr. McCarthy has even raised the possibility that America’s financial support for Ukraine should be reconsidered. In his interview with Times Review Media Group, Mr. LaLota raised the idea that financial support for Ukraine might be better spent on America’s southwest border with Mexico.

Mr. LaLota is running to join an extreme caucus in Congress. In an interview with Times Review, Ms. Fleming said that “fundamental freedoms” and “American democracy itself” are is at stake in this year’s election cycle.

She’s correct — and along with her dedication to solving problems affecting East End residents, Ms. Fleming will be a vibrant, independent voice in Congress who has pledged to shore up protections for the American values of equality, honest speech and representative democracy.

We endorse Bridget Fleming for Congress for what she will do for the 1st District.