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Call him the Long Island One.
Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), who was sworn in Tuesday as Long Island’s newest state senator, is the one Democrat in the Island’s nine-person delegation — breaking up what had long been called the “Long Island Nine,” an all-Republican bloc that held powerful sway in the state Senate for decades, with the exception of a two-year period.
Kaminsky, a freshman state assemblyman, edged out Republican Christopher McGrath in an April 19 special election to replace ex-Sen. Dean Skelos, a Republican who was convicted in December on federal bribery, extortion and conspiracy charges.
Kaminsky used his profile as a former assistant federal prosecutor, the Skelos conviction and Albany corruption as campaign issues. He said he’ll push a range of ethics-reform proposals in the Senate.
“Look, I think my election is one of those results of what happens when you don’t get reform,” Kaminsky, 38, said. “I took a seat that was held by the same party since I was in first grade. Things don’t change lightly. They change when big seismic changes [occur], and I think that happened.”
Somewhat ironically, he was sworn in about an hour before former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was sentenced to 12 years in prison on corruption charges.
He called the timing “fitting in a sense” because it “reminds people we better get our act together.”
With his election, Democrats now outnumber Republicans in the Senate, 32-31, but still don’t control the chamber. Republicans do, thanks to a power-sharing agreement with six breakaway Democrats.
Republicans had urged voters to stick with the GOP, contending that Kaminsky would be aligned with New York City Democrats. Kaminsky called that a “fabricated challenge to my ability to fight for Long Island.”
Kaminsky promised that his agenda will be based more on his region than his party.
“I look forward to showing I’m a fighter for Long Island,” Kaminsky said after a ceremony in the Senate chamber. “If Democrats put forward something that helps Long Island, great. If Republicans put forward something that helps Long Island, great.”
He also promised to push several education bills in the remaining seven weeks of the 2016 legislative session, especially one that would “decouple” teacher evaluations from state education-funding formulas.