Incumbent Republican State Sen. Anthony Palumbo.

Incumbent Republican State Sen. Anthony Palumbo. Credit: James Escher

Find out the candidates Newsday's editorial board selected on your ballot:

Anthony H. Palumbo had big shoes to fill in his first term replacing Ken LaValle, who retired after 44 effective years serving the 1st District. And Palumbo, 52, is off to a good start.

The New Suffolk Republican used his seven-year experience as a member of the GOP minority in the Assembly to get nearly 40 bills passed as a member of the Senate minority. He brought legislation to legalize kelp cultivation in Peconic and Gardiners bays with him from the Assembly, and partnered with Democrats to get it passed; the measure was supported by fishers and marine scientists who say kelp will provide a revenue stream for oyster farmers while absorbing nitrogen from the water. Palumbo also co-sponsored with Democratic Assemb. Fred Thiele a bill to place a referendum on November's ballot allowing East End residents to approve an additional half-percent real estate transfer tax to fund affordable housing projects in a region in desperate need of that.

Palumbo has a good grasp of environmental issues, supports needed changes to recent bail reform, and is pushing a proposal to fund a mental health initiative for the North and South forks.

Skyler Johnson, 22, of Mt. Sinai, is making his second attempt for this seat after losing in the 2020 Democratic primary. Previously an aide to Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren, Johnson works for the nonprofit New Hour for Women and Children LI. He is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about a wide range of issues and has a promising future in politics. But he needs more governmental experience, perhaps at a more local level, before making a run like this.

Palumbo laments that "politics has gotten so impolite," and vows to lower the heat by continuing to talk and work with members of the opposing party. He's earned the chance to do that.

Newsday endorses Palumbo.

ENDORSEMENTS ARE DETERMINED solely by the Newsday editorial board, a team of opinion journalists focused on issues of public policy and governance. Newsday’s news division has no role in this process.