U.S. Congress, 1st District

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WATCH: Island Vote in-studio debate for this race

Kate Browning
Democratic

Background: Browning, a former Suffolk Legislator who lost the Democratic primary to Perry Gershon, will appear on the ballot on the Women's Equality Party line. Browning said she is supporting and campaigning for Gershon, but her name could not be removed from the ballot.

Perry Gershon
Democratic

Background: Gershon, 56, of East Hampton, is making his first run for elected office. He's running on the Democratic and Working Families party lines. Gershon ran a commercial real estate private equity firm until May 2017, when he decided to run for Congress full time. He made his family's second home in East Hampton his primary residence. Gershon grew up in New York City. He graduated from Yale University in 1984 with a degree in molecular biochemistry and biophysics, and dropped out of Columbia Medical School to open a sports bar in Manhattan. He later graduated with an MBA from the University of California Berkeley in 1993. He was a commercial real estate lender from 1993 to 2017, initially working for large banking institutions before starting his own firm, LoanCore Capital, in 2007. He said he had split time between his Manhattan home and the East Hampton home his family built in 1999. Gershon is married with two sons.

Issues: Gershon said he backs universal health care by providing Medicare for all and stronger gun control measures, including reinstating a ban on assault weapon sales. If elected, he said he'd work on a $1 trillion dollar federal investment in infrastructure, including highway and mass transit improvements. Those investments would create construction jobs and foster economic development, boosting wage growth long term in the district, he said. He opposed a bill, sponsored by his opponent Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), which would require states to honor out-of-state concealed carry permits. Gershon said the election of President Donald Trump galvanized him to run for office and he believed Congress should be a check on the president's power. He pointed to what he called the president's attacks on the environment, health care and income equality.

Lee Zeldin
Republican

Background: Zeldin, 38, of Shirley, is on the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform party lines. He is seeking a third term as the 1st District congressman. Previously, he served two terms in the State Senate. A graduate of William Floyd High School in 1998, he received a bachelor's degree from the University at Albany in 2001 and a law degree from Albany Law School in 2003. He served four years in the U.S. Army on active duty, including in Iraq, and is currently in the Army Reserves. Since 2004, he has served in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. Zeldin, an attorney, is married and has twin daughters. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as five House Subcommittees. He is co-chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus, in addition to serving as co-chair of the Congressional Portuguese Caucus and Long Island Sound Caucus.

Issues: Legislation introduced by Zeldin to expand access to adult day health care for veterans was signed into law by President Donald Trump this year. It expands access to adult day care for severely disabled veterans in Long Island and across the country. The FAA Reauthorization Act this year included a provision by Zeldin that requires the FAA to reassess noise impacts from a North Shore helicopter route and consider alternatives, including a route over the Atlantic Ocean. The Plum Island Preservation Act, which would stop the sale of the island to the highest bidder, passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate. He also touted emergency dredging projects this year of the Moriches Inlet and intercoastal waterways. Most constituents, he said, are happy with the direction of the country, including a healthy economy, better border security and progress combatting MS-13 gang violence.

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