A scientist in Congress? Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? It does for the supporters of Nancy Goroff.
“When people hear about my background, yes,” she said in an interview this week. “I’m a scientist. I want to make people’s lives better.”
Goroff is running against Perry Gershon and Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming in the Democratic primary to decide who will take Congressman Lee Zeldin on for the First Congressional District seat. It is considered one of the most important and contentious races in the country.
“Now more than ever we need scientists in Washington who have professional training needed to solve complex problems,” she said.
Goroff taught at Stony Brook University and served as associate provost, interim dean of the graduate school, and most recently chair of the Chemistry Department. She has lived in Brookhaven for over two decades – 23 years — where she raised her two daughters.
Though there is some perception her Democratic opponents have a name-recognition edge on the East End, she is confident she can hold her own. She is well aware it is up-Island where the majority of the votes are.
The primary is, “introducing me to voters, helping me get my message out,” Goroff said. “We know [President Donald] Trump and the national GOP will do whatever it takes to protect Zeldin, but we can win if we fight back with the truth. He doesn’t have the ear of everyone in the [White] House.”
Zeldin supported Trump in his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, stood by his side during the impeachment inquiry, and joined the science-denier-in-chief at Camp David last month.
Most of all, Goroff mentioned a Zeldin stance that she feels should be reason alone not to vote for him: “He’s against reproductive rights.”
Among the primary candidates, Goroff believes she is best suited to take on Zeldin.
“My background presents the strongest contrast,” she said. “I deal with facts and reality.”
Though Zeldin deems himself a difference-maker and takes credit for a lot of accomplishments, that’s not the case, Goroff opined.
“He’s in the majority,” she said. “He took credit for Brookhaven Lab but he had nothing to do with it. If he were stronger, he’d be able to do something about Plum Island.”
The primary election is Tuesday, June 23. Gershon was defeated by Zeldin in a close race last time out; Fleming is also former Southampton Town councilwoman.
“If we had a federal government that was actually functioning, the coronavirus nightmare would have been less severe,” Goroff concluded.