Republican Vincent T. Muscarella, 61, of West Hempstead, is one of the longest-serving Nassau legislators, having been with the legislature since it formed in 1996.

His positions are thoughtful and nuanced, as befits his experience. He eschews the lockstep party line. His understanding of the fiscal challenges led him to say he would vote for a property tax increase, as proposed in the county executive's budget, "as a last resort." His pragmatism carries over to video lottery terminals; he knows it's entertainment for some, and Nassau needs the revenue.

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Carl R. Gerrato, 48, a Democrat from Franklin Square, has worked as a county correction officer for 30 years. He's an engaging first-time candidate who brings crucial knowledge of jail operations. Unfortunately, his exuberance doesn't justify unseating a legislator with Muscarella's knowledge.

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Muscarella needs to leverage his experience and step forward to lead a legislature totally hobbled by partisanship.

Newsday endorses Muscarella.