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Long Island

State Assembly candidates prepare for Nov. 4 contest

Members of the New York state Assembly hold

Members of the New York state Assembly hold a session at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y. Photo Credit: AP, 2011

Candidates from Elmont to East Hampton will compete Nov. 4 for State Assembly, in contests that include the race for a vacant seat in Long Beach and a heated rematch in Medford where Republicans used a tracking device to try to prove the Democratic incumbent does not live in the district.

There are 10 races in Nassau and 12 in Suffolk. But control of the chamber appears not to be an issue: Democrats hold 99 seats and Republicans have 40.

There are 11 vacant seats, including in Nassau's 20th District, where veteran Assemb. Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) is retiring.

Former assistant U.S. attorney Todd Kaminsky, a Long Beach Democrat, is running against Republican Avi Fertig of Lawrence, an aide to the Hempstead Town Board.

Kaminsky, the former deputy chief of the Public Integrity Section for the Eastern District of New York, said his campaign is focused largely on bringing state resources to the South Shore, which was severely damaged during superstorm Sandy.

Kaminsky noted that nearly two years after the storm, Long Beach Hospital remains shuttered.

South Nassau Communities Hospital, which bought the property in May for $12 million, plans to open an emergency department on the site, but residents of the barrier island now must travel to Oceanside for emergency care.

"This hospital is the greatest and most long-standing tragedy of the storm," Kaminsky said.

Fertig said he wants to work with majority Democrats to hold down property taxes, reform Common Core education standards and force the state to pick up $6 million in costs for flashing lights that warn motorists of new Nassau County speed cameras.

"The Democrats can take all the credit," said Fertig. "All I care about is getting things done."

In Suffolk's 3rd District, incumbent Edward Hennessey (D-Medford) faces Republican Dean Murray in a rematch of their 2012 race, which Hennessey won by 226 votes.

Republicans tried to knock Hennessey off the ballot this summer, claiming he did not live in the district.

That was unsuccessful, but the party hired a private investigator who placed an electronic tracking device under Hennessey's car to prove he did not live in the district. A judge in August ruled Hennessey has a legal residence in Smith Point and allowed him to stay on the ballot.

In the 6th District, Victoria Serpa, a former Democratic activist who worked for former Suffolk Executive Steve Levy, is running on the Republican line against Assemb. Phil Ramos (D-North Bay Shore).

Serpa recently changed her voter registration to the Independence Party, although it will not take effect until after the election. Ramos has the Independence Party endorsement in the race.

Serpa says Ramos has left the Democratic Party divided and pitted community leaders against one another.

Ramos, who was first elected in 2002, said he's worked to unite the community and to fight toxic dumping in the Town of Islip.

With Rick Brand

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