Bill Lindsay, a 12-year-member of the Suffolk County Legislature who’s served as presiding officer since 2006, died Wednesday morning following a long battle with lung cancer.
Mr. Lindsay, 67, was elected to his eighth term as presiding officer earlier this year, thus making him the longest-serving presiding officer in the Legislature’s history.
He had been battling a form of lung cancer called mesothelioma for the past two years and had missed a number of Legislature meetings as a result. Mr. Lindsay had a lung removed in 2012 due to the disease.
“He was a close friend of mine and I consider him a hero,” said South Fork Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk). “He spent his life helping working people. He was a really special guy. It’s a personal loss and a county loss.”
Mr. Schneiderman said Mr. Lindsay “never voted against his conscience. He always did his best for the working people.”
A Holbrook resident, Mr. Lindsay was elected to the Legislature as a Democrat in a special election in March of 2001 to fill the 8th Legislative District seat vacated when then-future County Executive Steve Levy was elected to the state Assembly.
Prior to that, Mr. Lindsay was an electrician with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 25, and was that union’s business manger from 1992 up until his election.
“Today, we lost a true public servant, Presiding Officer William J. Lindsay,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a statement. “Bill had a common sense way about him which permeated throughout his interactions with constituents as well as his fellow elected officials.
“You could count on Bill to be honest and a true man of his word. He possessed an unstoppable determination to serve the people of Suffolk County even in the midst of battling cancer.”
Mr. Bellone called Mr. Lindsay “best presiding officer we’ve had in the history of this county.”
Former longtime North Fork legislator Ed Romaine, now Brookhaven Town supervisor, called Wednesday “a sad day for Suffolk County.”
“Suffolk County as a whole will miss his leadership and I will miss his friendship,” Mr. Romaine said.