There are over 3 million people living in Nassau and Suffolk counties. They live on Long Island for a variety of reasons. Some have lived here their entire lives.
Others have migrated to the region for its many wonderful benefits. The crime rate is low. The parks and beaches are spectacular. And happily, we have some of the best schools in the entire state. We have one other asset, which is our many dedicated public officials.
There are many good local county, village and town officials. While they toil each day in their various communities, much of their success depends on the state legislature and therein lies the challenge.
Once upon a time, the bi-county region was lucky enough to have nine state senators, both Democrats and Republicans, whose combined seniority made them a powerful force in Albany.
Time and retirements have reduced that power group to just four people and their survival is in 2022 is critical to the two counties.
High school taxes are a big headache for our homeowners and without Senators Brooks, Gaughran, Kaplan and Kaminsky, the taxes would be far higher.
This year, thanks to their efforts, the amount of school aid for the island’s school districts was the highest in history.
In addition to school aid, many other consumer and anti-crime programs were approved, that helped the region to keep its quality of life. This is not to disparage the other state senators, but they are the minority party in Albany and can’t deliver the goods that Long Island desperately needs.
There is no one superstar in the Democratic delegation as all of them are hard-working, experienced and informed on the issues. They pay taxes, send their children to our public schools and have a lifetime of public service that makes them stand out in the legislature. They speak up for the island and are not afraid to challenge New York City progressives who do not understand the needs of suburbia.
John Brooks served as a school board member before seeking a senate seat. He has been a volunteer firefighter for over 50 years. He served as Nassau County’s Director of Risk Management and his challenge of the state’s health insurance program saved ratepayers over $400 million. He is the chairman of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee.
Sen. James Gaughran was the youngest member of the Huntington Town Board in its history. He served in the county legislature and is an expert on water quality issues. He has battled high water costs, housing discrimination and has gotten major bus safety laws enacted. He is Chairman of the Local Government Committee and is a strong voice for ethics reform.
The life story of Sen. Anna Kaplan is impressive. Her family escaped the turmoil of the Islamic Revolution and she embarked on public service as a way to say thank you to this country for its many new opportunities.
She has been fighting for the little guy in her role as chair of the Small Business Committee. She has fought for women’s rights and battled hate crimes. Before going to Albany she served on the North Hempstead Town Board.
Todd Kaminsky brought an impressive career as a federal prosecutor to his Senate job. As chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee, he has pushed through major clean water legislation and has battled for climate change programs. He has battled official corruption.
Senator Kevin Thomas, as chair of the Consumer Protection Committee has introduced laws to protect your personal privacy and helped deliver $239 million in Homeowner Assistance funds to the state. As an attorney, he was a dedicated civic leader before seeking public office.
During my 23 years in office, I was fortunate to be the leader of the Long Island Assembly delegation. Our group of legislators made their voices heard and battled for more school aid, consumer protection, anti-crime laws and a variety of other badly needed efforts.
They got legislators from the city and upstate to take notice of the needs of the suburbs. Long Island has a lot at stake in November 2022. While there will be many candidates for statewide, Congress and other offices, the survival of the Island Four is important for residents of every political thinking.