Republican Sen. John Flanagan has been about as outspoken on the tough decisions that need to be made in the State Legislature as anybody in Albany over the past few years. That included chiding Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at times, a sport for which even most Republicans seem to have lost their thirst lately.

His Democratic opponent, Errol Toulon, suspended his campaign in September when he accepted a position as Suffolk County assistant deputy county executive. So Flanagan, 51, of East Northport, finds himself without competition. With 10 years in the Senate and 16 in the Assembly, he's achieved seniority and now chairs the Senate Education Committee.

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Flanagan has been on the right side of hot-button issues for years but hasn't always gotten support. He introduced a bill last term that would have ended "last in, first out" for teachers and got nowhere. He's been vocal about ending or reforming the Triborough Amendment, which allows public employees to get raises even when they don't have contracts, and gotten nowhere.

He wants to take a hard look at special education funding, the process by which poor teachers are terminated, and a host of mandates from the state that make school districts difficult to run and finance. These are all good ideas, and he should keep pressing them.

Newsday endorses Flanagan.