State Sen. Tom Croci’s decision not to seek re-election set off a frenzied race to represent New York’s 3rd Senate District. Democrat Monica R. Martinez of Brentwood is the right person to do it.
Martinez, 41, has served ably as a Suffolk County legislator, working to deliver critically needed services to her economically struggling district. It’s a commitment that she showed even before entering politics through her work as a high school teacher and school administrator.
Martinez immigrated to this country from El Salvador at age 3, and in a demographically changing district, she represents a necessary new perspective that will bring a breath of fresh air to Albany.
She has done her homework to make the leap from her county legislative district to a State Senate one, with its greater responsibilities and larger array of issues. Her commitment to struggling and underserved people hasn’t changed, as demonstrated by what she calls the “grave concern” of the opioid crisis on Long Island. She would work to bring more recovery facility beds to Suffolk County and wants more state oversight of so-called “sober homes” to make sure they put individuals on track to success and are responsible neighbors in their communities.
Martinez understands that one of the key challenges for Albany lawmakers next year must be restoring public faith in the democratic system, and a big part of that includes reforms like early voting, limiting the number of terms and caps on outside income.
Her opponent, Assemb. Dean Murray of East Patchogue, is not excited about big reforms. “Could someone tell me the part of the voting process that is difficult?” he asked rhetorically during his endorsement interview with the editorial board. Murray, 54, is unmoved by the evidence that the state’s registration system is Byzantine, and that many people have difficulty getting to the polls on a workday. He would not support most changes to a system that frustrates many. Murray, unfortunately, also represents a Republican Party in this state that can’t advance a positive agenda and would rather have the party be defined by what it is against, such as a state Dream Act that would help young immigrants attend college and a statewide plastic-bag fee to protect the environment. Instead, Murray is concerned for dog owners who would have no bags to collect pets’ poop.
Murray has bucked his party on issues like the Child Victims Act, which would allow those who were sexually abused as minors to file civil lawsuits, but his overall willingness to go along with a philosophy of no on so many other issues is disheartening.
Meanwhile, Martinez promises to be an independent voice who can stand up to her leaders when necessary and always fight for Long Islanders, looking for ways to make their lives better. That’s what residents of her district need.
Newsday endorses Martinez. — The editorial board