John Brooks, Democratic incumbent candidate for New York State Senate.

John Brooks, Democratic incumbent candidate for New York State Senate. Credit: James Escher

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

With this year’s redistricting came new State Senate lines, and a new challenge for Sen. John E. Brooks, currently representing the 8th District.

Under the new borders, the Seaford Democrat resides in the renamed and reconfigured 5th District, which stretches north to Bethpage and Hicksville, having lost much of its South Shore side. Surprised by the carving of his base, Brooks, 72, announced his retirement. Three days later, he said calls for him to run and his own realization, after a mass shooting in Texas, that more action on guns is needed in Albany, brought him back into the race.

Shifted lines have no impact on Brooks' deep understanding of local and state challenges. On the thorny issue of school property taxes, the once-obscure but workable plan he’s been pushing throughout his six years in the Senate to limit residential property taxes to 50% of any school district’s budget gains more bipartisan support each year.

And whether it’s on veterans affairs, fire and emergency services, making the Southern State Parkway safer, fighting to get relief for Nassau water customers served too expensively by for-profit water companies, or battling to get a local school district a needed financial monitor, Brooks’ voice is trusted. 

Nassau County Legis. Steven Rhoads, 53, of Bellmore, names safe streets, good schools, and the opportunity for young people to stay in Nassau as priorities. And he says he likes Brooks’ take on reforming school taxes. But Rhoads unfortunately sticks to briefing-book rhetoric on crime without appreciating the need for a multifaceted approach to ensuring public safety. And on the issue of water rates, Rhoads says municipalization can only work if the state provides the money to buy the system. That’s a popular political stance among Nassau Republicans, but not the practical reality.

Newsday endorses Brooks.

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.