A bipartisan wind swept through Nassau County's swearing-in ceremonies over the past days. But the legislature's new presiding officer, Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) didn't feel much of a draft. His was one of the few speeches yesterday that omitted an expressed desire to work across the aisle.
That's a shame, because Schmitt is leading the Republican resurgence in the legislature, after more than eight years. He knows how it feels under the heel of the Democratic majority, which was petty in its turn. Petty won't resolve the difficulties ahead.
Schmitt outlined good ideas for tough times. He promised no more new taxes or fees - a relief for residents so long as it's fiscally prudent. He wants to reduce spending and consolidate services that are better delivered by local governments. Schmitt pledged to reform property tax assessments and end the practice of forcing through last-minute county contracts without a full financial review. And he vowed to work with new County Executive Edward Mangano to cut administrative staff.
It's a challenging agenda. But Schmitt failed to mention the Lighthouse development and other projects than can help on the revenue side. To protect the array of county services he desires, these must be part of the plan.
The GOP majority can seize this moment and prove it has the stuff to lead. Its members should set aside the tired tools of partisanship as they begin. hN