The winner of the special election in Nassau's 12th Legislative District should not only fill out the 14 months of the late Peter Schmitt's term, but bring a moderating voice to a bitterly divided legislature.
In a short campaign, name recognition is golden, so Republicans bypassed experienced and senior party members to go with Michael Venditto, 31, of Massapequa, the son of John Venditto, the popular supervisor of Oyster Bay town. Democrats think their best shot in this heavily GOP district is Joanne Maglione, a registered Republican who was a deputy county attorney for five years.
Venditto, an attorney for the Town of Hempstead since graduating from law school, knows politics but doesn't yet have the life experience or insight to form his own views on the critical matters facing the county. He recites the worn policies that have gotten the county into trouble, and his votes are likely to continue Mineola's partisan stalemate.
Worried about the anger over the big increases in some tax bills, Venditto blamed the school districts and said the solution was to ensure everyone grieves their assessments. Such a strategy only perpetuates the problem. The Islanders' departure to Brooklyn, he says, is all the fault of the team's owner.
Maglione, 42, of Massapequa Park, wants a comprehensive fix to the assessment system. Refreshingly free of the party dogma, she says politics has strangled economic development at the Hub. She pledges to be independent, a problem solver on the budget, borrowing, sewage treatment plants, and the funding of social services. Newsday endorses Maglione.