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Group forms to advance the ‘common good’ on the North Fork

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A group of North Forkers with an interest in a wide range of issues facing local residents in the wake of the November elections is starting an organization for discussion, education and advocacy.

“North Forkers for the Common Good” has its roots in a group originally formed last year to support Bernie Sanders’ nomination as the Democratic candidate for president.

Abigail Field of Cutchogue, who is helping to build the organization, felt that although there was no point continuing the Bernie Sanders group and since its members reached across the entire East End, forming a North Fork centric organization made the most sense.

“Bernie East End Supporters was never a core Democratic thing,” said Field. “Although it was focused on a Democratic primary, a lot of the members and a lot of the interest reflected non-Democrats. It was issue-oriented.”

So far the group has about 18 members and Field hopes that number will grow.

“We’re looking to broaden and bring people in,” she says. “We’re looking for people who care about issues, not political parties. I think that there is tremendous interest in doing advocacy on a local level.”

The group’s mission is to “promote economic, social and environmental well-being and justice on the North Fork” and hopes to tackle issues like affordable housing, the environment, energy and racism.

One of the first events the fledgling group has planned is a “teach-in” to discuss the plausibility of single-payer health care for New Yorkers. The New York Health Act, sponsored by New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), is a single-payer plan that would provide publicly funded, comprehensive coverage to all New Yorkers regardless of age, income, wealth, employment or other status.

Michael Zweig, professor emeritus and former director at the Center for Study of Working Class Life at SUNY Stony Brook and Martha Livingston, professor and chair of Public Health, SUNY Old Westbury will conduct the teach-in. Livingston is an expert in the area of health care issues and the co-editor of the book “Ten Excellent Reasons for National Healthcare.”

“We want to educate people about single-payer health care,” says Zweig. “We’re going to be talking about how to pay for it and address a number of myths and stories that scare people away. We want to give people some basic information.”

For more information, check out their Facebook page.

For more information about the teach-in, call Gwynn at (631) 875-0896.

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Katharine Schroeder
Katharine is a writer and photographer who has lived on the North Fork for nearly 40 years, except for three-plus years in Hong Kong a decade ago, working for the actor Jackie Chan. She lives in Cutchogue. Email Katharine