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Editorial: Elect Michaelle Solages in 22nd Assembly District

Michaelle Solages, Democratic candidate for the 22nd Assembly

Michaelle Solages, Democratic candidate for the 22nd Assembly District. (May 29, 2012) Credit: David Pokress

Western Hempstead

This is a key time for residents of this newly created Assembly district on the Queens border in southwest Nassau. How the area surrounding the Belmont Park racetrack is developed, as the state moves to legalize casino gambling and reform horse racing, will shape the community for decades to come.

Democrat Michaelle Solages, 27, of Elmont, is a library worker at Hofstra University, where she earned a bachelors degree in athletic training.

Sean Wright, 43, of North Valley Stream, is a lawyer with the Town of Hempstead. He is a registered member of the Independence Party running on the Republican Party line.

The two don't differ much on issues. Both want the unused Long Island Rail Road station at Belmont reopened and favor family-friendly development in the surrounding area. Wright would like to see a walkable mall and soccer fields. Solages added that the track's parking fields would also be a good spot for a park-and-ride, offering a 30-minute commute into Manhattan. Both are wary of legalizing casino gambling but say they want to hear from residents before deciding what should be done with the track itself.

Neither supports the much-maligned Metropolitan Transportation Authority payroll tax. To replace revenue that would be lost if the tax is abandoned, Solages suggests selling advertising on MetroCards. Wright favors a zone system, with subway fares based on the length of a trip. They each support legalizing medical marijuana, promise to vote no on a pay raise for legislators, and pledge to fight for more school aid and less unfunded spending mandated by the state.

No freshman legislator will have much clout on such broad, statewide issues. But Wright, as a member of the Independence Party who would likely caucus with the GOP, would have slower time gaining traction in a partisan chamber dominated by a Democratic majority. That would make it difficult for him to deliver for the district. Solages would fare better. As a Democrat, she would be an energetic voice for suburban interests inside that New York City-focused majority.

Newsday endorses Solages.

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