Spin Cycle

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LI's homegrown Hoosier awaits U.S. Senate swearing-in

Democrat Joe Donnelly thanks supporters after winning the

Democrat Joe Donnelly thanks supporters after winning the U.S. Senate seat over Republican Richard Mourdock at an election night celebration in Indianapolis. (Nov. 6, 2012) (Credit: AP)

Democratic Senator-elect Joe Donnelly of Indiana drew national notice in November when he defeated Richard Mourdock, a Republican who’d made his own waves with controversial remarks about rape.

Maybe not as widely known is that Donnelly, who will be sworn in for the first time as a senator on Thursday, grew up in Massapequa. He attended St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary in Uniondale before going off to college at Notre Dame in Indiana, where he has resided for most of his adult life.

“My sister lives on the East End, and a lot of cousins still live on Long Island as well, a number of them around the Massapequa and Wantagh areas,” the three-term congressman and Blue Dog Democrat told Newsday on Friday. He called it a “wonderful place to grow up.”

He said he saw early examples of public service – one of his uncles was a New York City firefighter, and another, a New York City police officer. His mother died when he was very young and his father, whom Donnelly recalls took the Long Island Rail Road to work each day, raised him and four siblings.

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