State Sen.-elect Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) will head the state Senate’s commerce committee, Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins announced last Tuesday, following the defeat of several key Republicans on Election Day.
Because of the new Democratic majority, Kaplan will succeed Phil Boyle, a Republican representing District 4 on the South Shore who was among a handful of Long Island Republicans to hold onto their seats in the midterm elections.
Kaplan defeated incumbent state Sen. Elaine Phillips (R-Flower Hill) 58,273 to 48,342 to represent Senate District 7, which spans North Hempstead, Elmont and part of Hicksville.
Jesse Hamilton, the current ranking Democrat on the committee and former member of the Independent Democratic Caucus, was defeated in the September primary election by Brooklyn lawyer and activist Zellnor Myrie.
“It’s an honor to have been named Chair of the Senate’s Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee,” Kaplan said in a written statement on Monday. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to find innovative solutions that support businesses across the state, while providing good-paying jobs for New Yorkers, and spurring reinvestment in our local communities.”
Stewart-Cousins said Kaplan will be “an important voice” as the committee’s chair, particularly in the realm of boosting opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses and protecting small businesses “from the devastating impact the federal tax plan will have on their property taxes – especially on Long Island.”
Stewart-Cousins cited Kaplan’s years of experience with the Town of North Hempstead as an important asset.
“As a dedicated public servant, Senator-elect Kaplan has been working closely with the business community since her time as a member of the North Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals and as a North Hempstead Councilwoman and I look forward to her leadership,” Stewart-Cousins said.
In addition to Kaplan heading the Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee, four other Long Island Democrats will hold committee leadership positions and one other will lead a subcommittee.
State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) will lead the Environmental Conservation Committee, State Sen. John Brooks (D-Seaford) will head the Veterans Committee, State Sen.-elect Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown) will head up the Consumer Protection Committee and state Sen.-elect Jim Gaughran will chair the Local Government Committee.
State Sen.-elect Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood) will head the subcommittee on domestic animal welfare.