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Editorial: Jay Schneiderman in Suffolk legislature's 2nd District

Jay Schneiderman, candidate for Suffolk County legislator, 2nd

Jay Schneiderman, candidate for Suffolk County legislator, 2nd District. (May 20, 2013) Photo Credit: James Escher

Legis. Jay Schneiderman has been quietly effective in delivering what his constituents need.

His levelheaded problem-solving has served his South Fork district well, from initiating Sunday bus service for transit- dependent workers and preserving open space, to requiring county public health officials to develop a tick-control plan to combat Lyme disease.

After a decade in the legislature, the next term would be his sixth, and last, because of term limits. Schneiderman, 53, a member of the Independence Party from Montauk, wants to expand the popular Sunday bus service to additional routes and to see the tick plan to fruition.

Republican Christopher Nuzzi, 39, of Westhampton Beach, who is hoping to oust Schneiderman, is a Southampton Town councilman term-limited out of that post. His pitch for the job is direct: He said he'll do it better.

Nuzzi said he would use the bully pulpit to seek relief from state mandates, including Medicaid, jail construction and pensions. And pointing to Southampton's healthy finances, he promises to nudge the county toward less borrowing and more responsible spending.

But the local issue he would champion -- pressing Suffolk to take over the town's responsibility to maintain Dune Road -- would be a costly hit for the county. Dune Road and many others were made county roads in name only so the towns could qualify for federal highway dollars. That good deed shouldn't be punished by putting the county on the hook for their upkeep.

Nuzzi is a knowledgeable challenger, but Schneiderman is a capable legislator who has earned a final term. He should use it to push for solutions to the problem of nitrogen pollution of groundwater and surface waters. Schneiderman previously won enactment of a local law that bars fertilizers within 20 feet of wetlands. But the county needs tougher nitrogen standards generally, and creative ways to encourage the adoption of updated septic tank technology. Schneiderman should lean in on this critical issue.

Newsday endorses Schneiderman.

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