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Newsday Highlights Gershon Town Hall

Newsday Highlights Gershon Town Hall

From Newsday's the DAILY POINT.

Headline: Changing the subject

There was one thing that Perry Gershon didn’t really want to dwell on during his Tuesday night town hall: impeachment.

The event was the first in a series of town halls planned by the Democratic hopeful in the 1st Congressional District and was scheduled well before the latest round of impeachment news. This one was in the heart of Rep. Lee Zeldin’s territory at the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library. Gershon had sent out a statement earlier in the day supporting an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. In the library’s basement auditorium, decorated only with a giant American flag, Gershon was asked a yes-or-no question: Would you vote to impeach the president?

"I don’t know enough today to say I would impeach him,” the East Hampton resident said. “I support an impeachment inquiry into the president of the United States, and that's what [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi came out for a couple of hours ago.”

After persistent comments on the issue, Gershon suggested they move on, saying a whistleblower’s claims against Trump warrant a House inquiry, and that it would still be possible to legislate on non-impeachment issues.

It was a careful needle-threading for Gershon, whose district swings but has more GOP registrants than Democrats, as of February numbers. Generally, Gershon described himself as “in the middle” and a fan of moderation.

“I took some somewhat-left points of view to get the nomination last time and that wasn't the right way to go,” he said about his losing 2018 bid for the office. “I’m about bringing people together."

On the controversial matter of impeachment, other Democrats in so-called purple districts are taking things even more cautiously, with New York Reps. Max Rose of Staten Island and Anthony Brindisi of upstate not endorsing impeachment at all even in the wake of allegations that Trump linked U.S. aid to Ukraine to that country’s cooperation in investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.

The Gershon town hall, attended by approximately 50 people, demonstrated some of the strong and conflicting feelings about impeachment, with attendees murmuring and crosstalking. One attendee said impeachment tends to “destroy our country” and "whether you voted for the president or not he was elected to govern for four years."

“Legally,” someone interjected.

Other questions elicited less back-and-forth, even one in which Gershon was asked who he supported for the Democratic presidential nominee. He said “anyone but Trump” and namechecked Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren as people he liked. About Mayor Pete, he noted somewhat ruefully, “He inspires people the way I wish I could.”

— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Posted on September 25, 2019.

For 25 years, I have been a common-sense businessman — not a career politician — so I look at things differently. I know about fixing dysfunction. It starts with hard work, a commitment to results, and perseverance — not scoring cheap political points. We can work together to provide opportunity and create an economy that works for all of us.

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