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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Rep. Kathleen Rice endorses Senate candidate John Brooks

Rep. Kathleen Rice has endorsed John Brooks, a

Rep. Kathleen Rice has endorsed John Brooks, a Democrat who is running against Republican state Sen. Michael Venditto in the 8th District. Above, Rice at a meeting in Farmingdale on July 19, 2016. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Democratic State Senate candidate John Brooks, seeking an upset against Republican Sen. Michael Venditto, has received the backing of U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice and of a political action committee that supports legislation to make it easier for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abusers

Venditto (R-Oyster Bay), meanwhile, released a new TV ad that cites his efforts to pass a bill that would make it easier to test the blood of drivers involved in fatal car accidents for drugs and alcohol.

Brooks, of Seaford, is an enrolled Republican who is challenging Venditto, a first-term senator, in the 8th District. Democrats had been pursuing other Long Island races but have made a renewed push in this contest after Venditto’s father, Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, was arrested on corruption charges last month.

John Venditto has pleaded not guilty.

“At a time when corruption in our state and local governments have eroded so much trust in our public officials, it’s critical that we elect bold, honest, hardworking leaders like John Brooks,” said Rice (D-Garden City).

Brooks also received the endorsement of Fighting for Children, a PAC that advocates for the passage of the New York Child Victims Act. The bill would eliminate criminal and civil statutes of limitations for sexual abuse against minors and give adult victims one year after they come forward in which to sue their abusers and any institutions that may have facilitated the abuse.

The bill stalled last session in the Republican-controlled State Senate.

“We are proud to endorse candidates committed to reforming the state’s statute of limitations for child sex abuse to better protect the children of New York,” said Gary Greenberg, founder of the Fighting for Children PAC. “John Brooks will be a great addition to New York’s Senate.”

Venditto’s new ad is narrated by Phil Walker, whose son, James, was struck and killed by a car in 2011 while crossing a road in Brightwaters. At the time, James Walker was 26 and seven months shy of graduation from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury.

The driver who struck Walker was never tested for drugs or alcohol.

Philip Walker, who lives in Nassau but has declined to disclose his hometown because he is a retired New York City correction officer, said Venditto worked with him to get a law passed that would make it easier for police to obtain a court order to test the blood of drivers involved fatal crashes.

The bill passed the Senate but stalled in the Democratic Assembly.

“I called Michael and said ‘I need help,’ ” Walker says in the ad. “You can call his office. You can call him. He’s there for you.”

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