Nassau Republicans miss chance at legislative supermajority

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Republicans increased their numbers in the Nassau County Legislature from 10 to 11 in Tuesday's elections, but fell short of reaching the 13 needed for a supermajority to borrow money.

"Despite a great night at the polls, Republicans still can't go it alone," said Lawrence Levy, executive dean of the Hofstra University National Center for Suburban Studies. "The GOP and the Democrats either find a way to work together to reach a common ground to bring the county back to fiscal health, or the Republicans use their mandate to pressure a couple of Democrats to vote with them on matters that require 13 votes."

For much of the past two years, the nine-member Democratic minority has used being needed as a tool to fight for some of their goals, such as certain social service activities. In the process, though, some big payments, such as property tax refunds, were delayed.

Republican leaders are now saying that with an 11-8 majority, they are hopeful for more bipartisan efforts.

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"I look forward to a more congenial legislature comprised of members that want to work for the people of Nassau County," said the legislature's presiding officer, Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow).

Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick), who won his district Tuesday despite it having been redrawn earlier this year to give it a Republican majority of registered voters, noted that he had "crossed party lines" before.

"I would love to see bipartisan progress," he said. "But the negativity of the campaign may undermine progress in this area."

Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), who also was re-elected, said: "While we are disappointed with the results . . . [Tuesday], the fact is Nassau's finances are still a mess and we are still under NIFA [the state's Nassau Interim Finance Authority] control. We must work with Mr. Mangano on a plan to solve our problems that doesn't involve bankrupting our future."

Brian Nevin, a spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano, said "now that the political season is over we're hoping for more cooperation between the two parties."

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