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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Venditto, Brooks spar in Senate race; Schumer backs Brooks

US Senator Chuck Schumer hold a press conference

US Senator Chuck Schumer hold a press conference at the foot of the Ed Koch Bridge in Manhattan calling on the US Department of Transportation to finalize a rule regulating large truck speeds, on Oct. 16, 2016. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

The campaigns of state Sen. Michael Venditto (R-Oyster Bay) and John Brooks traded charges Thursday over the state’s property-tax cap and a Nassau County corruption scandal Thursday. Meanwhile, Brooks picked up the endorsement Thursday of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Brooks, a Seaford resident, is an enrolled Republican who has been nominated by Democrats to challenge Venditto, a first-term state senator. Democrats had been focusing on 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 in a Nassau County probe.

Schumer gave his endorsement to Brooks, saying the candidate had served his community with “integrity and distinction” as a school board member, volunteer firefighter and Army National Guard medic.

“For Long Island voters tired of corruption and unethical elected officials, the choice is clear, support John Brooks for state Senate,” Schumer said in a statement.

Republicans fired back by highlighting that Brooks was part of a petition sparked by the state’s implementation of a property-tax cap in 2011. Supporters said the petition, delivered to state legislators and the governor’s office, was about getting more state aid for Seaford schools. An online version lists reasons to oppose the cap, but also asks lawmakers to consider giving Seaford a financial grant if the cap was imposed.

“John Brooks is so thoroughly and completely out of touch with the values of hardworking Nassau County taxpayers and their families that he organized a petition drive to stop the property tax cap from becoming law,” Scott Reif, a spokesman for Senate Republicans, said in an email. “With these anti-taxpayer views, he shouldn’t be elected to anything -- especially the state Senate.”

Democrats countered that the attack was disingenuous - while trying to tie the senator to his father.

“It’s not surprising that Senator Venditto would stoop to lies and deception to distract from (the) corruption scandal,” said Mike Murphy, Senate Democrats’ spokesman.

With Robert Brodsky


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