There is no hot presidential election this year, no congressional or state offices with big-stake outcomes up for grabs on Tuesday.
But the many local races on the ballot are incredibly important because they impact every Long Islander’s daily life and their future.
Both Nassau and Suffolk counties are grappling with troubling finances, the opioid epidemic and the failure of public servants to deliver honest government.
In Nassau, a new county executive will inherit a budget mess and a broken contracting system after the departure of Edward Mangano, who is under federal indictment. Legislators in both counties must work across party lines to better serve residents.
Newsday’s 11-member editorial board, which operates independently of the paper’s newsgathering operation, interviewed nearly every candidate for countywide positions, county legislative seats and town supervisor offices — nearly 100 contenders in 52 races. We met with interest groups involved in three statewide referendums.
We recommend candidates based on their ideas, their accomplishments, their enthusiasm and who we believe will best represent the interests of Long Island and their communities. Political party ideology plays no role. Nor do the business interests and ownership of the Newsday Media Group influence our decisions.
This guide summarizes Nassau County endorsements published over the past three weeks. Click here to read Suffolk County endorsments.
Now we ask you to do your part. Vote.
Nassau County executive: Laura Curran, Democrat
Tough, clear-eyed, has a strong plan to fight against the corruption that has destroyed the public trust. Willing listener with unusual humility and a practical solution to Nassau’s troubled assessment system.
Nassau County comptroller: Jack Schnirman, Democrat
Shepherded Long Beach out of near-bankruptcy, now ready to be the fiscal watchdog Nassau needs. Promises to be independent and monitor county finances like a baseball umpire, calling balls and strikes.
Nassau County clerk: Maureen O'Connell, Republican
Longtime clerk has introduced new technology and promises to continue her modernization efforts. Intends to continue speaking out against excessive fees that are improperly being used to raise revenue.
Hempstead Town supervisor: Laura Gillen, Democrat
Ready to end business-as-usual with more transparency, more contract oversight, less patronage and a stronger ethics code.
North Hempstead supervisor: Judi Bosworth, Democrat
Promises to continue progress in solid finances, and a more open government, including tough anti-nepotism measures.
Oyster Bay Town supervisor: Mac Herman, Democrat
Trained ethicist is needed for corruption-riddled town. Listens to people, says transparency and honesty are key to governing.
State Supreme Court: Richard Hoffman and Robert Lifson
The editorial board makes selections in judicial races only when larger principles are in play. Send a message to political bosses about backroom cross-endorsement deals that deprive voters of real choices. Voters can chose a maximum of four of the 10 candidates running for State Supreme Court. Vote for just two, Robert Lifson and Richard Hoffmann, both running only on the Republican line, to upset the party bosses’ plans.
1st legislative district: Kevan Abrahams, Democrat
Knows county’s ills, minority leader ready to use experience to partner with new county executive and majority leader.
2nd legislative district: Siela Bynoe, Democrat
Helped start programs to refurbish zombie homes and improve police-community relations and training to deal with mental illness.
3rd legislative district: Paul Sapienza, Republican
Focused on growing local businesses, rare GOP voice in favor of independent inspector general. Quiet, intelligent voice needed.
4th legislative district: Denise Ford, Democrat
Caucuses with Republicans, good district advocate, willing to reform minimum manning requirements that increase police OT.
5th legislative district: Debra Mulé, Democrat
Pushing corruption reforms, beefing up assessor’s office, working across party lines. Freeport village board experience an asset.
6th legislative district: William Gaylor, Republican
Supports more housing for young people to ensure the bright future he sees for Nassau County.
7th legislative district: Karen Blitz, Democrat
Neurologist accurately diagnoses Nassau’s corruption problem. Math and science skills would be an asset.
8th legislative district: Vincent T. Muscarella, Republican
Pragmatic, effective, engaged. Original legislative member understands nuances of issues and how to solve them.
9th legislative district: Richard Nicolello, Republican
The other original member, likely next presiding officer. Mix of intelligence and perspective makes for good leadership.
10th legislative district: Ellen Birnbaum, Democrat
Wants to reopen the Sixth Precinct, fully staff assessor’s office, establish independent inspector general.
11th legislative district: Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, Democrat
Rising star, smart and forceful. Strong stance on ethics reforms and engaged in fighting opioid crisis.
12th legislative district: Alex Melton, Democrat
Bursting with energy and ideas. Wants to use data and technology, like a transparent crime database, to craft policy.
13th legislative district: Eileen Napolitano, Democrat
Exudes passion for balancing budget, restoring county’s moral compass, ending arcane police work rules, and term limits.
14th legislative district: Laura Schaefer, Republican
Effective constituent advocate brings projects back to district. Should apply that engagement to countywide issues.
15th legislative district: John Ferretti, Republican
Newcomer has experience in county clerk office. Ready to fight fee increases. Good ideas for reforming assessments.
16th legislative district: Angel Cepeda, Republican
Insists parties work together on budget woes. Wants stable revenue for public transit and mixed-use development at Hub.
17th legislative district: Ray Arora, Democrat
Newcomer pushing tough package of ethics reforms and negotiation of an affordable police contract.
18th legislative district: Josh Lafazan, no party
School board member, on Democratic line. Energetic, has experience fighting opioid epidemic. Wants rental housing at Hub.
19th legislative district: Jeff Gold, Democrat
Expert knowledge of assessment system invaluable to legislature that needs it. Also wants to roll back outrageous fees.