The New York League of Conservation Voters has endorsed Ann Welker for Suffolk County Legislature in the Second District.
Ms. Welker, a member of the Southampton Town Trustees, is a Democrat. She will face Manny Vilar, the Republican candidate, in the Nov. 7 election. County Legislator Bridget Fleming, the incumbent, is not seeking re-election.
In announcing seven new endorsements on Monday, the league pointedly withheld its support for what it calls the “Anti-Clean Water Majority” in the Legislature, incumbents who voted on partisan lines against the Suffolk County Water Quality Restoration Act in July. The league, according to a statement, “believes a new direction is needed on Long Island and that it’s time to elect a majority who will prioritize the health of its residents.”
In the 2023 legislative session, New York State approved a ballot measure to advance the act, which would have funded the Suffolk Subwatersheds Wastewater Plan. The majority voted to keep the measure off the ballot, “thereby taking it out of the hands of county residents, the very people who for decades have suffered from the health impacts of unsafe levels of nitrogen in their water.”
“There is a crisis happening on Long Island that is decades in the making,” Julie Tighe, the league’s president, said in the statement. “The water in the bays and harbors and the water coming into homes across Suffolk County — water that our children drink every day of their lives — is at risk from unsafe levels of nitrogen caused by septic pollution. A solution was proposed and all that lawmakers had to do was place it on the ballot. Sadly, the majority in the Suffolk County Legislature chose pure politics over the health of their constituents. This fight is not over, and we look forward to the November election when voters will have the opportunity to choose public health over partisan politics.”
Also endorsed for the Legislature on Monday were Catherine Kent, Steve Englebright, Dorothy Cavalier, Ryan McGarry, Eve Meltzer Krief, and Thomas Donnelly, the latter an incumbent. The league endorsed the incumbents Samuel Gonzalez and Jason Richberg in July. All are Democrats.
The league has now endorsed 30 candidates on Long Island. Nineteen are Democrats and 11 are Republicans, including Ed Romaine, a candidate for Suffolk County executive.
Early voting for the general election runs from Oct. 28 through Nov. 5.