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GOP legend D’Amato calls Dem Kaminsky NY’s top legislator

ALBANY – Former Sen. Al D’Amato, the man who once took a backbench Republican legislator and turned him into a three-term governor, now considers freshman Democratic Sen. Todd Kaminsky New York’s best legislator.

Kaminsky is “the finest, best legislator in New York today,” D’Amato said at his birthday celebration Tuesday night. “You make us all proud.”

The shoutout to the state senator in his first term in the Democratic minority conference of the Senate seemed to surprise Kaminsky, too. The Senate is led by some veteran Long Island Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport).

Kaminsky, a Long Beach Democrat, said he didn’t expect the compliment, but he’ll take it.

“I learned a lot about politics from him,” said Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) in an interview at D’Amato’s celebration at a Park Avenue club. Kaminsky said he served as a summer intern to D’Amato in Washington while in college.

“Everyone in our town always said he was ‘our’ senator,” Kaminsky recalled.

D’Amato, who served in the U.S. Senate for 18 years, plucked state Sen. George Pataki out of obscurity to take on and beat Democrat Mario Cuomo in 1994 in perhaps New York’s biggest political upsets.

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