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Sep 23, 2014 2:44 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bishop, Zeldin Hold First Debate In Hampton Bays

Sep 24, 2014 9:42 AM

In their first debate of the 2014 election season, U.S. Representative Tim Bishop and State Senator Lee Zeldin exchanged barbed attacks and fleshed out their differing opinions on almost every major policy issue, from gay marriage to term limits, on Monday night.

During the debate held in the Hampton Bays High School auditorium, the two politicians, who are looking to represent New York’s 1st Congressional District in Washington, D.C., riffed on topics submitted by audience members, brushing on both national talking points as well as local issues. The debate was sponsored by the Hampton Bays Civic Association.

Mr. Zeldin, a Republican from Shirley, accused Mr. Bishop of being unable to produce results during his 12 years in Washington, pointing to the ever-stagnant effort to get the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to raise and repair Dune Road. He also criticized the incumbent for supporting President Barack Obama’s administration and the agenda of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, scoring points and loud cheers from much of the audience—which was in his corner from the beginning—by challenging Mr. Bishop’s views on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and immigration.

“We don’t need someone representing us like this in San Francisco,” Mr. Zeldin said. “We need someone representing us like this is the East End of Long Island.”

Mr. Bishop, meanwhile, defended his track record in Congress as one that reflects his own ideology rather than one that strictly adheres to the Democratic Party platform. The Southampton Town resident drew groans and a few a boos from the audience when he described Obamacare as a “work in progress,” as well as laughs when he expressed his support for term limits. He battled off hecklers throughout the night.

The incumbent criticized his challenger for arguing against policies, such as the Affordable Care Act and the immigration reform bill passed by the Senate last year, without firmly backing an alternative. “What I’m very clear on is what you don’t support,” Mr. Bishop said. “I have no idea what you do support, so please share with us what that is.”

The candidates discussed the proposed privatization of Social Security, a topic most likely brought on by an attack ad that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been running this month that focuses on a statement Mr. Zeldin made to Newsday during his first campaign against Mr. Bishop in 2008. Mr. Zeldin, who lost that bid, said he would support privatizing some Social Security contributions from people under 40. The video features a retired teacher from Blue Point named Walter who talks about how detrimental a move like that would be for retirees such as himself.

Mr. Zeldin vehemently denies that he ever made such a claim, adding that he in no way supports privatizing Social Security. He went on to challenge Mr. Bishop to denounce the ad and request that the Democratic party pull it.

“If my opponent really wanted to have an honest debate on facts, he’d make a statement right now to this audience, with the cameras rolling, calling on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to take down that ad of that senior in Blue Point,” Mr. Zeldin said. “Because what he’s saying is untrue and it’s shameful that you’re letting this go on.”

Declining to accept Mr. Zeldin’s challenge, Mr. Bishop instead returned fire, daring Mr. Zeldin to renounce an advertisement being run by the National Republican Congressional Committee that highlights a report that surfaced in 2012 of Mr. Bishop helping a constituent obtain a permit for a private fireworks display, which purportedly resulted in the constituent and his wife later donating $10,000 to Mr. Bishop’s reelection campaign. The incident is still under review by the Office of Congressional Ethics and a ruling has not yet been issued.

“If you want to talk about shameful ads that campaign committees are running, take a look at the one that’s running on your behalf,” Mr. Bishop said, careful not to disclose the content of the spot. “And then why don’t you look into that camera and renounce that, which I doubt you’ll do, because that’s the only bullet you’ve got.”

Mr. Zeldin made no such statement. Mr. Bishop went on to say he’s glad his opponent has changed his stance on Social Security.

After receiving a question about their views toward same-sex marriage at the federal level from an audience member identified as “Brad from Northampton,” Mr. Bishop said he fully supports gay marriage while Mr. Zeldin said he believes that marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman.

In 2011, Mr. Zeldin was one of 29 members of the New York State Senate who voted against the Marriage Equality Enactment bill. The law still passed the Senate by a vote of 33 to 29 and was ultimately signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, officially legalizing same-sex marriages in the state. Mr. Zeldin described that as the most emotional debate he has been a part during his four-year tenure in Albany.

During his response, Mr. Zeldin said he did not run for office to get involved in the gay marriage debate, but rather to address issues related to taxes, licensing and veterans affairs.

“I enjoyed being as open-minded as possible but unfortunately ... for the advocates, I had to vote no,” he said.

Mr. Bishop, on the other hand, touted his record of voting to repeal legislation restricting benefits on same sex couples and preventing the recognition of same sex marriages across state lines. His daughter, Molly Bishop, is in a same-sex marriage.

“We ought to be a nation that is sufficiently loving and sufficiently tolerant,” he said. “That we cannot just allow but embrace two people who make a commitment to one another and want to share that commitment with the world and wanna codify that commitment. I’m a full supporter and an enthusiastic supporter.”

In line with a slogan, “Term Limit Tim,” that the Zeldin campaign has used in recent weeks, one audience member asked how the two felt about term limits. Mr. Bishop, unsurprisingly, does not support restricting the number of terms one can serve in Congress, but said the way he sees it, he is term limited, pointing to the fact that he must seek reelection every two years.

“It’s a very good system in terms of holding us accountable,” he said. “I will say this, and I know there are people in this audience that will disagree—I’m a better member of Congress now than when I was first elected. I know more, I know how to get things done better, I’ve grown in seniority and that seniority matters. I’ve developed relationships with the agencies and the departments and the people that I need to have them with to serve my constituents.”

Mr. Zeldin said he is in support of term limits at all levels to prevent ideas from getting stagnant, although he did not specify his desired parameters. He said he did not intend to have a long career in Albany, nor does he intend to have one in Washington if elected in November; he simply wants to affect what change he can and then move on.

Mr. Bishop then questioned what Mr. Zeldin thought of his colleague in Albany, State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle. A Republican, Mr. LaValle has served in New York State’s 1st Senatorial district since 1977.

“Should I tell Ken LaValle that 40 years is too much, or do you want to tell him?” Mr. Bishop joked. “OK, I’ll tell him.”

“I love Ken LaValle, he’s a good guy,” Mr. Zeldin returned. “Leave Ken LaValle out of this.”

“Have a consistent argument,” Mr. Bishop quipped.

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Privatize Social Security?

Privatize our National Park System?

Lee, you're on the wrong side of history pal.
Sep 23, 14 8:35 PM appended by Mr. Z
If you're against same sex marriage, you're on the wrong side of history regarding that too. What if one of your children someday turns out to desire one? I'd think this through if I were you...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 23, 14 8:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
on social security you (like bishop) are misrepresenting the facts. You may want to read the article again. Zeldin claims he never made that statement. I for one would be in favor of allowing people under 40 with an option of putting some of the SS money in the market as long as they are aware of the risk. Ask your self are you better off investing in the equities market over the long haul or buying 10 year treasury notes yielding 2.5%?
I do agree with you that the GOP needs to get on board ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 23, 14 9:05 PM
The T-Bills really require a good bit of capital to yield something decent. 10k will only get you $250. A moderate growth portfolio in solid funds is a pretty good way to go via an IRA or 401k. My retirement was maturing quite nicely until 2008 blew the **** off the economy.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 23, 14 10:53 PM
if you didnt panic and held onto your money in the 401K you did just fine. Historically the equities market will out perform any traditional investment. My point is putting a portion of SS proceeds into the equities market is not a bad idea particualry for younger people. It will out perform the bond market and help to pace inflation
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 24, 14 8:58 AM
1 member liked this comment
I didn't "panic".

I was actually unemployed for a few months, and underemployed for a few years until things recovered.

**** you.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Sep 24, 14 7:38 PM
well this conversation has deteriorated. Sorry if I hit a nerve
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 25, 14 10:16 AM
Glad to see a neutral and balanced political story from this newspaper for a change. Keep up the good work Kyle.
By Zorro (66), Southampton on Sep 23, 14 9:20 PM
I'm pleasantly suprised by the fact based reporting in this article. Thank you for leaving the usual Bishop supporting bias out of your coverage.
By BillWillConn3 (180), Scarsdale on Sep 23, 14 9:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Narrow minded with nary an original thought. The only requirement to be a candidate for the republican party is to watch Fox news.
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Sep 24, 14 7:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
I thought Zeldin really did not answer many of the questions. Seemed not very knowledgable about specifics. Makes a good appearance though, so if impressed by looks and not substance, he should get a lot of votes.
His supporters were very vocal to the point of being rude. None of the HB people I spoke to, including me, recognized them. Not locals. A friend recognized some as Riverhead Committee. From screams of approval when Zeldin's name was called, and before he said a word, it became sadly ...more
By MABS (1), Hampton bays on Sep 24, 14 11:19 AM
Why have debates-Bishop is unbeatable
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 24, 14 11:21 AM
Zeldin, like most Republicans, is vocal about an opposition to The Affordable Care Act. My husband has his own business and we were able to finally afford a decent plan for our family through changes "Obamacare" made possible. I am curious what exactly Zeldin plans to do with families like mine who are benefiting from Obamacare if he were elected. He never really addresses this, just says how awful it is. Many Americans are not affected by Obamacare because they get insurance through their employer ...more
By mrs.k (1), brookhaven on Sep 24, 14 11:37 AM
3 members liked this comment
I find that hard to believe (unless you qualified for tax subsidies).What carrier did you go with? What is your premium and what are your deductibles?
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 24, 14 3:13 PM
Nine hundred dollars a month savings with no tax subsidies. Better policy with same deductibles. What can't you understand, Obamacare forced insurance companies to be more competitive. WHAT has the republicans offered besides NOTHING!!!!!
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Sep 24, 14 4:51 PM
3 members liked this comment
900 dollars a month for a family plan and no subsidies. Same deductible..better policy???? Yeah right. I'd like to hear the name of the company and the coverages. The cheapest group plan that I know of is Health republic (a company funded with hundreds of millions of federal grant money). Its 976 a month for a family and has a maximum out of pocket of 12,700. Take the exposure ontot the premioum and you have 1,976 per month.
The ACA was drafted behind closed doors and it didnt matter what they ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 25, 14 9:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
I gave you details. My new policy covers more than my old policy. Out of the fifty some policies, only two of them were more expensive than I was paying. You believe whatever you want, I'll be in the Caribbean this winter vacation with the ten grand savings. And the Republican plan is WHAT????? Republican plan on immigration is WHAT????. Party of do-nothings and WHINERS!!!!
By Mets fan (1501), Southampton on Sep 25, 14 5:09 PM
2 members liked this comment
You made a statement. You provided no details. What carrier and coverages did you have and what carrier and coverages do you have now? There is no way you had a business health plan and are saving 900 a month and your new policy covers more. It's a ridiculous statement and you can't back it up.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 26, 14 12:45 AM
Under Obamacare insurance companies can no longer set $ ceilings or limit payouts for the lifetime coverage.Before, they could (& would) terminate yr coverage when that ceiling was met. What is Zeldin's plan, what is the House Republican plan? God bless Obama
By mo (89), Sag Harbor on Sep 26, 14 8:03 AM
Wrong Phil. He provided NO details. He made a comment. Its very simple. What carrier and coverage did he have and what carrier and coverage does he have now? There is no business plan that would save a family 900 a month and offer better coverage with a better carrier. That is what they call a fact.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 26, 14 11:16 AM
Wrong again. He has not responded because his statement is a blatant lie. It is a fact that there is no business plan that will save you 900 per month, offer better coverage, with a better carrier and he knows it. Phil, if I made a statement with no facts to back it up and you knew I was wrong you would have a field day.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 27, 14 5:09 AM
to razza5350:

Your skepticism of Met's fan's account is borne of ignorance. In fact, it is not uncommon for insureds to find that they have saved MORE than $900/mo. under Obamacare while enjoying superior coverage. Google, for instance, "Former New Hampshire GOP Chair Saves $1,000 A Month With Obamacare".
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Sep 27, 14 5:45 AM
LOL. I'm still waiting. What carrier and coverage did he have and what carrier and coverage does he have now?

As a small business owner who provides medical coverage I know more than you.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 27, 14 4:18 PM
to razza5350:

What can one say. I provide a reference showing that your are clearly WRONG in your belief, and, without offering a countering reference to authenticate your erroneous opinion, you simply state that you "know more than [me]" because you are a "small business owner". Forgive me if I don't prostrate myself in awe of your credentials.

By the by, while you are waiting for Mets fan to disclose his health insurance information, how about providing the details of your ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Sep 27, 14 5:02 PM
1. I will get you details on my old and new coverages as well as alternate option my broker presented when I get back in the office on Monday.
2. I did read the article about the New Hampshire GOPer. He did say he saved 1000 a month on his anthem policy but his deductibles and max out of pocket went through the roof. he added the policy was worse and he denounced the ACA. You forgot to add that point.
3. The Mets will win the World Series before I hear back from him. There is no ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 28, 14 12:25 AM
1 member liked this comment
to razza5350:

Accepting, arguendo, your characterization of Fergus Cullen's opinion, the fact remains (as you admit) that he SAVED $1000 A MONTH in premium costs which refutes your argument that it is impossible.

Furthermore, his Obamacare policy DOES provide him better coverage (even though he doesn't want it.)
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Sep 28, 14 8:22 AM
Met fan said he saved 900 a month and got a better carrier and coverage. I am refuting that. This is also true of the GOPer in NH. He may have saved 1grand but his deductibles and coinsurance went way up. He commented that the increased exposure tacked onto his premiums cost him more this year than last. Frankly I can't believe you couldn't find a better article to reference than this one.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 28, 14 10:26 AM
to razza5350:

If you had read the article more critically, you would have seen that, even were Mr. Cullen were to max out his out-of-pocket expenses, the cost of his Obamacare policy would be but $700/yr. more than he paid previously. Moreover, since his prior insurance increased by 22% in the year immediately preceding his enrollment in Obamacare, it is highly unlikely that he could obtain remotely comparable insurance on the private marketplace today (were it possible) for what his Obamacare ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Sep 28, 14 11:19 AM
The comment by Mets fan was that he got a better polciy and better coverage at a better rate. I eagerly (LOL) await his response. Listed below is mine
Last year I had Oxford Freedom Metro 25/50 EPO C plan. This plan had a monthly family rate of 1842. It offered copays on eveything except hospital and surgery where it had a 2,000 deductible. Per the ACA Oxford terminated this program and offered me two comparable plans. One was the Oxford Gold at a monthly premium of 2.150 and the other Oxford ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 29, 14 9:11 AM
HHS you can verify my information by talking to any small business owner (under 50 employees) or a speaking with an insurance broker. You will learn a lot more by getting out and speaking with real life people and getting their experiences with the ACA as opposed to citing articles from the Huff post.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 29, 14 9:01 PM
to razza5350:

As I recall, Mets fan's plan was an individual plan, just like Mr. Cullen's. If your plan is a group plan, then it is you who are comparing apples to oranges. Perhaps that misunderstanding is the cause of your skepticism.

I don't see how you can consider yourself justified in making the unqualified declaration that Mets fan's claim is impossible. Your opinion flies in the face of reason. If an insured with an individual policy is old, sick and unqualified for ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Sep 30, 14 8:21 AM
Perhaps that is the problem. It doesnt help that mets fan has been unresponsive and has you as his spokesman.. He has always boasted about how successful he is and how he doesnt qualify for subsidies which would lead me to believe that he works in some capacity (any capacity). It is true that the individual market in NY was a mess but this was created by the democrats. They created and passed the community rated act in 1992. Less the mandate this act is almost a mirror image of the ACA. It appears ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 30, 14 9:09 AM
Google "the New York Times tries and fails to protect obamacare". The article is spot on.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 30, 14 6:46 PM
Tim Bishop, as usual, knew his stuff and gave pointed answers full of factual information, one-two-three. Also as usual, he refused to be cowed by the braying loudmouths who came to prop up his opponent.

In pitiful contrast, Lee Zeldin came on as a paper-cutout man, an empty suit parroting Tea Party buzzwords, generalities and evasions. If it hadn't been for his imported cheering section, Zeldin would have sunk without a trace.

By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Sep 24, 14 2:05 PM
2 members liked this comment
Did the "imports" come from a different CD?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Sep 24, 14 4:00 PM
Ken La Valle has done a wonderful job. He sends helpful data to residents all of the time. He or his staff answer communication from individuals. Ever write to Tim Bishop? Most likely you won't get an answer especially if you ask for something with which he doesn't agree. There is no comparison between the two.
It's about time for someone who will really represent us. That happens to be Lee Zeldin.
By Negative (1), Quogue on Sep 25, 14 11:12 AM
Zeldin is a joke. He ran hard to win the Tea Party endorsement in the last campaign for U.S. Rep & bent over backwards to prove he was more right wing than his opponent & eventual winner of the Republican primary, Randy Altschuler. R voters preferred Altschuler overwhelmingly over Zeldin. (Altschuler, who fought fiercely against the charge of carpetbagging, moved out of the district after his loss to try his electoral chances elsewhere.). Zeldin is such a lightweight, only the Riverhead Tea Party ...more
By mo (89), Sag Harbor on Sep 25, 14 2:41 PM
Actually, Lee Zeldin never ran in a primary against Randy Altschuler - in 2008 Lee was the designated R candidate. In 2010 and 2012, Randy was in a primary with George Demos, and this year it was Lee and George.

If you are going to be such a hater, at least get your facts straight.
By Theresa Kiernan (26), Southampton on Sep 26, 14 2:03 PM
A lot of people are in favor of the points that you disparage. Thank God there has been a Congress able to obstruct Barak Hussein Obamas' attempts to turn our great nation into a third world dictatorship. L'il Tim has been a rubber stamp for anything and everything Demokrat, and has never met an increase in government that he didn't like. Time for a breath of fresh air in DC, haven't we been Taxed Enough Already? Zeldin over Timmy this November.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Sep 25, 14 5:20 PM
You sign in as big fresh and I wonder just how much and how many instances you have in connection with Big Fresh? Apparently you do not really know Rep. Tim Bishop. Tim has done Suffolk County and all his constituents a lot of good in Congress. Besides he is truly a honest east ender.
As for folks that disparage President Obama I have found the true reason for all their hatred is race pure and simple. That has been our experience since we moved "south of the border' south of the Mason Dixon ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Sep 25, 14 5:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
"Demokrat?" What are you, in the fourth grade? You must be involved in politics because you were able to fill a paragraph with trite meaningless statements without making a single viable point. Come back when you have something to say, if you can understand anything at all.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Sep 26, 14 1:44 AM
2 members liked this comment
What a surprise! big fresh could not respond to one accurate charge, but instead offers hot air. What fresh air when the House is full of the noxious gas of the Republican House do-nothing, say anything agenda. Again, where can I read Zeldin's health plan? What is the Zeldin plan to reduce gun violence? Do you really believe civilians should be allowed to possess .50 caliber anti-aircraft rifles & ammunition? Zeldin is as recalcitrant as his big supporter, the gun industry front's NRA.
By mo (89), Sag Harbor on Sep 26, 14 8:18 AM
It's really quite amazing how very far to the right Lee Zeldin is. His positions shouldn't get much traction in a closely matched purple district like this one. Most Republicans around here are moderates.

Honestly, I have problems with the local GOP on the local level, finding that they tend to disregard the environment and be too cozy with their contributor chums, but on the national level, I believe the majority of them are common-sense centrists who do not embrace the extreme right's ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Sep 26, 14 11:37 AM
1 member liked this comment
The facts are my medical insurance has tripled since this president has come to office. The fact is Tim Bishops daughter is paid 300k to be his campaigh manager with contributors monies. The last fact is Tim Bishops biggest contributer is a hedge fund who wants Tim Bishop to help turn a blind eye to their computer trading nonsense. This man is on the wrong side of every issue the east end needs help with.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 28, 14 8:36 AM
Notice, I didn't attribute that common-sense moderation on national issues to ALL the local Republicans, just most of them. Chief is Exhibit A for the far-out minority.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Sep 28, 14 12:49 PM
I'm a far out majority, because I speak the truth about medical insurance? This president is still running a huge deficit, and added ten trillion in debt not to mention another trillion that's not on the fed balance sheet because of this nonsense insurance plan. If you are paying $900 for a family of four you are being subsidized by Obama or you have a huge deductible. I researched medical insurance for three months, and it is a total mess. Don't worry Turkey your going to see how the Republicans ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Sep 29, 14 6:21 AM
1 member liked this comment
to razza5350:

An accurate article but with a biased viewpoint. The 1992 NYS health insurance law was passed to eliminate the "death spiral" by which citizens who had to purchase individual health insurance policies were required to pay higher and higher premiums as they aged and sickened until they were bankrupted and compelled to beg for charity. By mandating "community rates", the risk and expense was spread out over the entire population. The law also forbade "junk" policies (just ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Oct 1, 14 7:09 PM
HHS there is no way to sugar coat it the community rated act of 1992 was an utter failure. When I got out of college my rate was 17 dollars a month for medical insurance. This law put rates into a death spiral. Younger healther people didnt want to and couldnt afford to subsidize the premium costs for the sick and the elderly so they gradually started to pull from the insurance pool.. This caused rates to escalate higher and higher because insurers were left with more undesireable risks. The ACA ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Oct 2, 14 11:04 AM
to razza5350:

To the contrary, the 1992 NYS law was a complete success. It ended the death spiral (at the cost of higher average health insurance premiums.)

Whether insurance premiums remain high in NYS compared to other states remains to be seen. Since ALL states must now offer community rates, I see no reason for the continuation of the phenomenon.

In any case, until the figures are in from 2014, this conversation is premature.

However, I wholeheartedly agree ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Oct 3, 14 8:10 AM
HHS you lost me me at the 1992 rated law was a success.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Oct 4, 14 2:04 AM