Here’s my take on the political winners and losers in this year’s game of Long Island politics.
Judi Bosworth: North Hempstead’s 37th supervisor served with distinction for four terms. She proved that one can govern effectively and civilly at one and the same time. Bosworth maintained the township’s triple A financial rating —a major accomplishment for a New York municipality.
Tom Suozzi: The congressman has had a good year. He successfully pushed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to include in the Build Better Back legislation restoration of the state and local tax deductions known as SALT. If the inclusion survives in the Senate version of the bill, New Yorkers will be able to deduct up to $80,000 of their state income taxes and property taxes from their Federal Income Tax returns. Suozzi turned down New York City Mayor-Elect Eric Adams’ offer to be first deputy mayor in his administration. And he now is a viable Democratic gubernatorial candidate who could win the primary in 2022.
Kathleen Rice: The congresswoman had the guts to vote against a key plank in Biden’s Build Back Act that would have allowed Medicare to negotiate for prices of prescription drugs. She correctly justified her vote when she stated that she will not support portions of the legislation “that are not fiscally responsible….” Rice and three other Democrats joined Republicans on the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee to kill the provision.
Jennifer DeSena: A registered Democrat, DeSena shocked the political establishment by running on the Republican and Conservative Party lines and actually beating Democrat Wayne Wink, Jr. for North Hempstead supervisor. Hopefully, DeSena, the executive director of the nonprofit Manhasset Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse, emulates her predecessor Judi Bosworth and runs a civil and fiscally prudent administration.
Bruce Blakeman: The sempiternal candidate for high public office finally won one. Sadly, Blakeman was elected county executive despite Newsday’s prescient warning that he is “not prepared to take on the challenge of leading Nassau County.” Don’t be surprised if Blakeman, like his GOP predecessors (Tom Gulotta and Ed Mangano), runs the county’s finances into the ground.
Great Neck Republicans: The GOP turned the deep blue Great Neck peninsula purple. Republicans will now have representatives from that area on the town board and the county Legislature.
Laura Curran: During Curran’s four years in office as Nassau County executive, she built a decent record. Under her leadership, the county incurred operating surpluses for the first time in years. Her mistake: An election year $375 homeowner rebate gimmick. Also, the leaders of her political party were in hibernation during the election. Losing to Bruce Blakeman, one of Nassau’s leading political hacks, is a major embarrassment.
Ed Mangano: The former county executive, a convicted felon, awaits sentencing. Word is he is seating tables at a Long Island restaurant. That could be good training for a cafeteria job in a federal penitentiary.
Rob Walker: The former first deputy county executive, a convicted felon, awaits sentencing. Perhaps he and Mangano will find themselves, once again, working side by side. But this time in a federal penitentiary cafeteria.
Jay Jacobs: Nassau County’s leader took quite a hit on election day. He failed to energize the Democratic base and his party experienced its worst drubbing at the polls in decades.
Wayne Wink, Jr.: After easily winning two terms as North Hempstead’s town clerk, Wink was the first Democrat to lose the town supervisor election in over 30 years. What had to be painful: Out of 44,636 votes cast, Wink lost to DeSena by only 789 votes. My guess: Wink is not happy with Jay Jacobs.