For the last 12 years, this district was represented by William Lindsay, the legislature's much-respected former presiding officer who died in September. Seeking to succeed him are his son, Democrat William Lindsay III, and Anthony Musumeci, a Republican who ran against the elder Lindsay two years ago.

William Lindsay III, 41, an insurance executive from Bohemia, says he inherited a passion for public service from his father, his role model, but adds he is not a carbon copy: For example, he would have voted to sell the Foley nursing home and not fight its closure.

Musumeci, 36, of Bohemia, says he learned from his earlier campaign he needed more experience; he's now a member of the Islip Town planning board. He is an engineer, which requires an ability to analyze problems and devise solutions. And he has some good ideas, but he needs to think more broadly to be a member of the county legislature.

Lindsay has more concrete plans for fixing the county's finances, which both agree are a mess. He supports cleaning and developing brownfields to return them to the tax rolls, and wants to resurrect the proposal to merge the offices of treasurer and comptroller to save money. Musumeci says the budget process is broken and calls for all 18 legislators to be involved in it, but lacks specifics on how to address the county's fundamental imbalance between expenses and revenue.

Lindsay says economic growth can come from big new developments such as Wyandanch Rising, the Ronkonkoma Hub and the Heartland proposal for Brentwood, and adds that all large projects should build their own sewage treatment plants. Musumeci warns against getting caught up in what he calls "big buildings and grandiose ideas."

Lindsay describes himself as apolitical and says a good idea is a good idea regardless of who it comes from. And the legislature, he says, should not be a lap dog for the county executive. Musumeci says county government has been partisan for eight years and needs to be more transparent, especially in budgeting.

Lindsay promises he'll be an independent voice. We hope he is.

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Newsday endorses Lindsay.