Suffolk Times Endorsements: Who we think you should vote for

Abigail Field Trustee

For Southold Town Trustee: Abigail Field

Democratic challenger Abigail Field is passionate about public policy. She’s a stickler for details and when she gets talking about a topic that’s important to her, it’s difficult to quiet her down.

Ms. Field would certainly stand out if elected to the Southold Town Board of Trustees — and not because she’d be the only woman or Democrat to serve on that particular board, but rather because she’d bring a high-energy and high-tech approach to a quiet office that could probably benefit from a little shaking up.

Incumbent Republican Dave Bergen is a bright man whose education and experience make him knowledgeable on the issues facing the board. Though we’re endorsing the challenger, we believe he’s also a very good choice on Election Day.

During their only public debate and at our editorial board meeting, the two candidates agreed on most issues. When it came time to discuss topics such as water quality, coastal erosion zones and shoreline hardening they used terms like “she hit the nail on the head” and “everything he said is true” when echoing each other’s responses.

What sets Ms. Field apart for us, however, is just how well-versed she is as a non-incumbent. When interviewing challengers for local office, we often wonder if they’ve ever attended a town meeting, and it’s obvious many times that a candidate hasn’t done a lick of homework.

Ms. Field made it clear that she did attend meetings during her campaign and that she took note of what needed improvement and cultivated actual ideas.

She believes that when the Board of Trustees, which gets very little media attention, is holding hearings on an important issue they should go beyond the standard public notice and reach out through the Internet, social media and e-mail newsletters to better engage the public. We think that if she’s elected, the board, which splits its duties, should assign her the task of serving as a public information liaison.

Ms. Field would bring a modern, common sense approach to the board and we’re excited about the possibility of seeing her in office. In fact, there’s a big part of us that wishes she’d held out to run for Town Board next year, where she could have an even greater impact.

When we asked Mr. Bergen why he was passed up for a Trustee nomination last year after two terms in office — a question party leadership answers with little more than a silent pause — he said he was told the Republican Committee believed the board needed some new blood and “fresh faces.”

We believe Ms. Field fits the bill perfectly.