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Republican Kevin McCaffrey and Democrat Susan Berland get Suffolk leadership posts

Suffolk County Legis. Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst) has been elected as legislative minority leader, while Legis. Susan Berland (D-Dix Hills) will serve as majority leader.

Republicans selected McCaffrey as their leader on Sunday, in a move he called "coming full circle." McCaffrey previously had served for three years as minority leader before Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore) took the role.

Democrats in late November chose Berland as majority leader to replace Legis. William Spencer (D-Centerport), who stepped down from the leadership post after his arrest in October for allegedly trying to trade opioid pills for sex. Spencer, a physician, has pleaded not guilty.

Berland, an attorney and a former Huntington Town Board member, has represented the 16th Legislative District, which includes sections of Babylon, Huntington and Islip Towns, since 2018.

"I am humbled and honored that my colleagues have entrusted me to lead our caucus. Suffolk County faces significant challenges, but we have innumerable opportunities within our reach," Berland said in a statement in which she pledged to work across the aisle.

McCaffrey, also the president of Teamsters Local 707, has served the 14th District, which includes southeast Babylon Town, since 2014.

"Our agenda is to take back a majority in the legislature," McCaffrey said Monday. "We're going to do that by [promoting] the Republican values many people hold near and dear," including fiscal responsibility and public safety.

Cilmi said he relinquished the leadership post after three years so he could focus on his district and help McCaffrey with the leadership transition during Cilmi's final year in office under county term limits.

Berland presides over a 10-member caucus while McCaffrey oversees a caucus of seven Republicans and one Conservative Party member, Nicholas Caracappa, of Selden, who was sworn in Monday.

Caracappa was elected in November to fill the final year of the term of Ronkonkoma Republican Tom Muratore, who died in September.

Caracappa was arrested last month and charged with first-degree criminal contempt and criminal obstruction for allegedly choking his estranged wife in a domestic violence-related incident. Caracappa has pleaded not guilty, and his attorney, Thomas Campagna of Hauppauge, has said the allegations are false.

Caracappa, who served as a Suffolk County Water Authority maintenance worker for 34 years and as president of Local 393 Utility Workers Union of America, is the third person in his family to hold the legislative seat. His swearing-in ceremony was held in the Rose Caracappa legislative auditorium in Hauppauge, which is named after his late mother.

Also Monday, the legislature reelected Legis. Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue) as presiding officer and Legis. Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) as deputy presiding officer.

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