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Opinion

Editorial: Elect Kathleen Rice in 4th Congressional District

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice on March

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice on March 13, 2014 in Hempstead. Democratic Congressional candidate Rice received the endorsement of the Sierra Club Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Kathleen Rice is the best candidate the 4th District can send to Congress to succeed the retiring Carolyn McCarthy.

In her eight years as Nassau County's district attorney, Rice has proved herself as a leader and problem solver. And that's what this nation needs.

Republican Bruce Blakeman, 59, of Long Beach, is a former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature and former Port Authority board member. He has made security, both national and economic, the linchpin of his campaign, but unfortunately in distasteful, scaremongering ways. His lust for war is troubling. And his economic prescription won't create jobs as he envisions.

Blakeman favors aggressive action in dealing with threats from Iran and the Islamic State group. If diplomatic negotiations to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program are at an impasse by this November, Blakeman advocates trying just 90 days of economic sanctions before making a surgical military strike to destroy that nation's nuclear-weapons capability. Yet another war is not what our nation needs. Just as rash is his support for escalating the conflict with the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

His jobs agenda is largely limited to slashing regulations and taxes. And his would be another vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act without any clear idea about what should come next to control costs and expand access to health care.

Rice has staked out a more pragmatic course, which is what is needed to loosen the death grip of extremism and partisanship that has paralyzed Congress.

She would focus on finding ways to fund critical infrastructure improvements -- for instance, establishing an infrastructure bank and tying the federal gasoline tax to inflation. She promises to continue McCarthy's important uphill battle to reduce gun violence by pushing to close the loophole that allows people to buy firearms at gun shows without background checks. Her economic prescriptions include raising the minimum wage, holding the line on middle class taxes, expanding federal assistance for small businesses, reforming immigration with a path to citizenship, and fighting to change tax policies that encourage corporations to move jobs abroad.

Rice, 49, of Garden City, has been a tough, innovative district attorney, the job she's held since 2006. She was one of the first in the nation to prosecute drunken drivers for murder. And confronted with a college admissions-test cheating scandal, she helped to drive changes in test security nationwide.

Congress is notoriously dysfunctional. Partisanship has blocked progress on important challenges, including tax reform, shoring up Social Security and fixing the broken immigration system. With that logjam Congress needs more problem solvers. That's Rice's approach and what we need in Washington.

Newsday endorses Rice.

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