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Democratic Candidate Recovering After Medical Emergency

Fri, 07/14/2023 - 07:57
Tom Flight
Durell Godfrey

Tom Flight, a Democratic Party candidate for the East Hampton Town Board, is on the road to recovery after spending four days at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital following a seizure on July 4.

Mr. Flight, who was formally introduced to voters when the East Hampton Democratic Committee launched its 2023 campaign on June 16, told The Star on July 12 that the cause of his seizure was still undetermined but he has been advised that a viral infection is suspected. He had just returned from traveling when the incident occurred, he said. He is to meet with an infectious disease specialist today.

He briefly stopped breathing during the event, he said. “The good news is that M.R.I. and CAT scan showed no damage to brain matter,” Mr. Flight, who is 44, said in an email on July 12. But he did have pneumonia, he said. His doctors had told him to “take it easy for the next week,” he said.

Mr. Flight, who serves on the Montauk School Board, had posted a message to his Facebook page earlier on July 12, in which he wrote that he is “on the road to recovery but have a lot of follow-up tests to figure out what exactly happened.” On Tuesday, he said that he is “recovering well” and has resumed physical activity such as swimming and running.

In that Facebook message, he credited his colleagues on the Montauk Fire Department and the hamlet’s ambulance company, “who quite literally saved my life. I know many of us have busy lives, and finding time to commit to something like that is hard; yet when you live somewhere as remote as we do, having effective EMS and Fire is a matter of life and death. I shall forever be in their debt.” He encouraged residents to consider becoming emergency medical services providers. “No matter where you live on the East End, E.M.S. needs you,” he wrote. 

“The outpouring of support I have had from friends and family has been incredible, and I am truly touched,” he wrote. “Living out here has its challenges, and while a place of incredible beauty, sometimes that is not enough. It is the community that makes it all worth it. You guys are the best. Keep being there for each other, I will.”

He said on Tuesday that he expects to conduct background campaign work this week and return to the campaign trail next week. He apologized to the public for events he was unable to attend. This is his first campaign for elected office.

Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, who had previously announced that she would not seek re-election this year, also had a serious medical incident in May. She has not attended any of the town board’s meetings since then.

Mr. Flight is joined at the top of the Democratic ticket this year by Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, the deputy supervisor, who is running for supervisor, and Councilman David Lys, who is seeking re-election. Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, also a Democrat, is stepping down.

All members of the current town board are Democrats; Cate Rogers is in the middle of her first four-year term on the board. Should Ms. Burke-Gonzalez win, the board will need to appoint a council member to replace her.

Running on the Republican ticket are Gretta Leon for supervisor, and Michael Wootton and Scott Smith for the town board. Election Day is Nov. 7.

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