Democrat Steve Israel, 52, seeking his sixth term in the House, offers no simple answers. His positions are those of an experienced, thoughtful legislator, which puts him at odds with his opponent. The campaign of Republican John Gomez, 48, relies mostly on broad tea party-approved talking points and offensive accusations.
Gomez, of Bayport, owns a telecommunications and consulting firm and used to host a program on WLIE radio. He says it was anger over the MTA payroll tax that spurred him into the race, although the federal government has no involvement in that issue.
Israel, of Dix Hills, is a fiscal conservative who understands the vast majority of federal spending goes to Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, debt maintenance and defense. He believes tax cuts should expire for the rich but says the line, currently earnings of more than $250,000 for couples, should take inflation into consideration and rise to $388,000.
Gomez claims he wants to shrink spending and government but supports more rail and bus service, wider and better roads, and other new infrastructure. He fails to identify many specific cuts he would support.
Israel is unabashed in his support of the health care reform bill. Gomez opposes the new law, but in its place suggests only tort reform and 50 state health insurance markets, far from the sweeping changes needed.
Gomez's campaign is short on ideas and long on smears, including signs calling Israel a socialist. Israel is a strong legislator, a principled public servant and a tireless advocate for Long Island.
Newsday endorses Israel.