Seeking his sixth term in the Assembly, Democrat Phil Ramos, 56, knows how Albany works, and he's often made it work for his district. That's one of the perks of being in the Democratic majority, and amassing some seniority.
But so much of what Ramos, of Brentwood, seeks are the same things he's sought for years, albeit with some success. He is deservedly proud of bringing home money to fight gangs and graffiti, and to beautify the downtowns in his district. But Brentwood and Central Islip still aren't beautiful, and gangs and graffiti are still rampant. Ramos may need to look at new approaches, and bring new enthusiasm.
Republican challenger Manuel Troche, 49, pulses with passion for his community. He cites his experiences as a hometown firefighter in Brentwood as central to his understanding of local problems, and wants to fight gangs, sober houses, sex offenders and foreclosures. But Troche isn't familiar with the statewide issues he would confront in Albany, and that's a weakness.
Ramos has the experience, but we hope he can use it to make real progress with the district's problems.
Newsday endorses Ramos.