Eastern Suffolk County’s newest Assemblymember is named Ed Flood. Elected to represent Assembly District 4 in the 2022 election, the Republican defeated longtime member of the New York State Assembly, Democrat Steven Englebright, in a hotly contested election. Flood’s victory has been seen by many as a major upset, after Englebright served in the state Legislature for three decades.
The Fourth Assembly District is wholly within the Town of Brookhaven. Including the northeast portion of the town, the district spans from Port Jefferson southward past Coram to Gordon Heights. The district, like all of the state’s legislative map, was recently redrawn. Each Assembly district represents approximately 130,000 residents.
Flood is a resident of Port Jefferson and is a lawyer by trade. He has spent his entire life in Brookhaven, graduating from Comsewogue High School, class of 2000. He graduated from St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue and then continued his education to law school, where he graduated with his Juris Doctorate from Western New England University School of Law, in Springfield, MA.
Over the past several years, he has served in various positions in local and state government. Most recently, he was an assistant town attorney for the Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk’s largest local municipality.
Prior to his role with the Town of Brookhaven, Flood served as the chief of staff for then-Assemblymember Dean Murray. From this, Flood brings with him a breadth of experience in state government matters.
“It’s advantageous because as a former chief of staff, you know some of the ‘ins and outs’ of government,” he says. “I know how to introduce bills, how the floor works or how to cosponsor another Assemblymember’s legislation. I also learned how to work across the aisle, working with the majority to get things done.
“Having a basic understanding of the Assembly and the Chamber will give me a leg up, instead of learning everything on the fly,” he continues. “I think this will be advantageous to the constituents of the Fourth District throughout my first term.”
In 2022, Flood ran with the backing of Suffolk County’s Republican and Conservative parties. He was successful in his campaign, defeating Englebright by just over two percentage points — which equates to 726 votes.
“I started knocking on doors in June of last year. There was a positive reception to my message. People were fed up with the high cost of living, the economy, the budgetary issues, as well as the increase in crime locally and statewide,” Flood says.
Much like elsewhere on Long Island and in New York State, the major battle line of the political campaign was centered on the state’s bail reform law. Passed in 2019, bail reform enacted various changes to the state’s criminal justice system, including but not limited to eliminating the use of cash bail for most misdemeanors and many felony charges.
The new law motivated people to the polls, especially those voters registered as Republicans and Conservatives. Flood notes that voters unaffiliated with any party were the deciding vote, which he attributes to frustration with how the government is currently being run.
“My message resonated with the voters that I met at their door,” Flood says.
In this portion of Suffolk County, Flood’s victory completed a sweep for Republican candidates, which included sending a new Republican member of Congress to Washington, re-electing Anthony Palumbo, and electing former-Assemblymember Dean Murray to the Senate.
“I was able to campaign alongside my former boss, which was really cool,” Flood says. “We campaigned together a bunch. We knocked on doors together, talked with voters about our messages, and carried each other’s literature.
“Now that we are both elected to office, there are many ways that we can continue to work together to benefit our shared constituents,” Flood continues. “There are even some bills that were never introduced after Dean left office that we worked on together, that we plan to reintroduce as two-house bills.”
Flood took a clear position on the bail reform issue in the campaign. He will fight to repeal this law, he says, and oppose various other measures, such as Raise the Age, Less Is More, the HALT Act, and the Clean Slate Bill. With these at the top of his agenda, he takes office on January 1, 2023.
“I want to make sure my constituents know that my door is always open and I am here to serve the needs of the community,” Flood says. “I am here to listen to the thoughts and opinions of my constituents and serve their interests in Albany. It is not only what I feel is best for the community, it is what the community feels is best for the community.
“I have been up to Albany in the days since the election, but I’ve spent more time in the district meeting with civic leaders and liaisons to various executive agencies, and I’ve got more meetings scheduled,” he continues. “I have spoken with other elected officials about how we can tackle issues together, beginning on day one.
“It’s my goal to continue to build relationships and connections in the Fourth Assembly District and across the state, to ensure that this district is represented to its fullest,” Flood continues.
Appealing to a broader swath of voters than previous Republican candidates for office in this region of Suffolk County, Assemblyman-elect Flood was vocal about more political topics than just crime and safety. He advocated for parents’ rights in education, to secure proper funding for Long Island’s school districts, and to repair Long Island’s infrastructure.
He also has goals to bring economic opportunity to the various parts of the district while reducing overhead to the current business community and residents as a whole. He hopes to reduce the burden of costs on taxpayers and businesses that currently exist.
Flood, who has been involved in local political affairs for nearly 25 years, first volunteered on a campaign in his early 20s. He has spent the majority of his life working to elect qualified and dedicated candidates to town, county, state and federal offices. Now, after a hard-fought race, he is elected to lead for his first two-year term in the “People’s House.”
“It was a gratifying win for myself and my team. It took a lot of hard work from myself and various volunteers. The parties, our chairmen, the state organization and the law enforcement community came out in droves to support my candidacy. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t have been successful without everyone’s hard work,” Flood says.
And now that the campaign is over, he says it’s time to fulfill his promises and fight for the Fourth.
“The novelty of winning has begun to wear off and now as Assemblyman, I have a job to do. There are countless important issues to address, and this is where the hard work really starts,” Flood concludes.
Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate publisher of Dan’s Papers.