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King of Staff
Here’s a new name in President Donald Trump’s search for a new chief of staff: Rep. Pete King.
You’ve heard the latest chatter about Jared Kushner and Chris Christie. But Seaford Republican King was floated in a Monday CNN appearance by Paul Begala, the Democratic strategist and former Bill Clinton staffer.
Begala said that previous frontrunner Nick Ayers would have been the wrong pick because he’s a campaign guy, and Trump needs someone who can help him get something done before 2020. So Trump should “hire a former member of Congress or a current one,” like King or former Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican who is the U.S. representative to NATO.
In emails with The Point this week, King, who will be readjusting to life in the minority party starting next month, seemed tickled by the attention, but he said Trump hasn’t talked to him about the job: “No discussions. Happy to be in Congress.”
That said, he put in his own two cents, too. King said he didn’t want the job to go to former South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney, who currently directs the Office of Management and Budget and is acting-mischief-maker of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
King called Mulvaney “anti-NY” on funding issues like 9/11 healthcare, superstorm Sandy relief, and taxes.
Who else would be a good chief of staff, then? “I honestly don’t see anyone out there,” King said.
LI Dems tag team environment
With Long Island Democrats Todd Kaminsky (Long Beach) and Steve Englebright (Setauket) now chairing the environmental conservation committees in the State Senate and Assembly, respectively, local environmentalists expect the tag-team to move a flood of bills through both chambers.
“This has potential to be enormously productive for protecting the environment and serving the public,” Citizens Campaign for the Environment executive director Adrienne Esposito told The Point.
Kaminsky, who served on Englebright’s committee when he was an Assembly member and will assume his Senate post in January when Democrats take control of the chamber, is seen by environmentalists as a huge improvement over the previous chairman, upstate Republican Tom O’Mara.
“He wouldn’t discuss the issues,” Esposito said of O’Mara. “He made it known his goal was to make sure industry was represented on the issues.”
After witnessing the devastation superstorm Sandy inflicted on Long Beach, Kaminsky plans to push hard on climate change issues.
“The Senate Republicans were climate change deniers and did very little in that area,” Kaminsky told The Point. “My conference believes that it is urgent and that we’re way past due to have aggressive environmental policy to reverse global warming.”
Kaminsky said he plans to hold hearings around the state on the Climate and Community Protection Act, an Englebright bill that sets a state standard of zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Other topics on Kaminsky’s agenda are clean water and clean air issues, including emerging contaminants, plastic and paper bags, and resiliency.
A list provided by Englebright’s office dovetails with that and also includes bills on nitrogen fertilizer usage, offshore drilling prohibitions, and banning 1,4-dioxane from household cleaning products.
Meanwhile, Esposito is fronting a coalition of environmental groups that have written to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo asking for $2.5 billion for clean water infrastructure in the 2019-20 budget, building on a similar amount in the 2017-18 budget.
But will having your ducks in a row translate into reality in 2019?
Dreaming of a PC holiday
If LI were a nation
The Point was fascinated to see the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis release gross domestic product figures by county this week for the first time, and wondered how to put the information in context. The 2015 totals were $84.4 billion in goods and services produced in Nassau and $78.5 billion in Suffolk, for a total of just under $163 billion.
That means the Island, with just fewer than 3 million people, has an economy that would rank 58th in the world if it were a nation, just below oil-rich Kuwait (4 million people) and just above Angola (26 million people), Hungary (10 million people), Ukraine (42 million people) and Morocco (36 million people). So on a per-capita basis, our country would be doing pretty well.
If it were a state, Long Island would have the 32nd largest economy in the nation, ranked just below Utah and just above Kansas, both of which also have populations of about 3 million. And on the surface, that’s a bit surprising because Long Island does have a higher median household income than those states. The hidden fact that explains this anomaly is average age, because the Island has a lot of retirees who do not create goods and services counted in GDP. Also, transfer payments for things other than goods and services, like Social Security and pensions, are not part of GDP.
So just how old is Long Island? With an average age of 41.4 years, it would be the third-oldest state in the nation, trailing only Maine (44 years) and Florida (41.6 years).
The national average age is 37.9 years, up from 30 in 1980.