Democrat Phil Ramos, 55, is savvy to the ways of the Assembly. That's both his strength and his weakness.
It means that the four-term incumbent from Central Islip has been able to deliver money for downtown beautification, an anti-graffiti effort and an anti-gang campaign that includes after-school and drug programs. His proposal for a "gang court" could help too. But success has made him reluctant to challenge the status quo.
Republican Mohsen Elsayed, 52, of Brentwood, is a businessman and former U.S. Defense Department consultant in Iraq. He wants to cap property taxes and state spending and repeal the Metropolitan Transportation Authority payroll tax, all good things. But a Republican newcomer in the Democratic-controlled Assembly would, unfortunately, mean less for the district.
Ramos should be more inclusive of all his constituents at home. And he should take a broader view of the need for reform in Albany, even when that means bucking his party leadership. Newsday endorses Ramos.