Bridget Fleming, a Democratic incumbent Suffolk legislator and former Southampton Town councilwoman, is seeking a fourth term, challenged this year by Robert J. Carpenter, a Republican making his first bid for public office.
Ms. Fleming, who lives in Noyac, is also seeking her party's congressional nomination for the 2022 election cycle, but she said in an interview this week that her county legislative campaign is her priority, signaling her willingness to serve the people no matter which position she is in. Legislators serve two-year terms.
"As someone who is very tied to local needs and concerns, you can see at every level there's a role to be played and the resources become more and more significant, whether it's going from town to county or if, down the road, I would be elected to Congress," she said.
Mr. Carpenter, who lives in Hampton Bays, works in Suffolk County government, though he declined to say which department. He has a degree from the Culinary Institute of America and also works in the restaurant industry.
Of his career experiences, he said, "I usually jump into it and go into it full-force. I'm very meticulous about things."
Ms. Fleming's primary issues are solutions to transportation issues in her district and the county, fine-tuning the county's new septic system policies and programs, advocating for affordable housing, supporting small businesses and Covid-19 recovery, and addressing coastal erosion and other aspects of climate change.
Serving as legislator is about reaching out and understanding the interests of constituents, she said. "It's a source of pride for me and it's definitely a very satisfying way to undertake governmental responsibilities, interact with stakeholders, and strike a balance when their interests compete."
Mr. Carpenter said that if elected, he would focus on ways to ease traffic and more clearly define the county's septic laws. He also wants to make sure quality of life is ideal for people on the South Fork.
Asked how he would serve the diverse communities in this legislative district, Mr. Carpenter said he would "pay more attention at town board meetings and civic associations, actually going door to door and seeing how people feel about the government and the traffic, and getting out and hearing what people have to say."