With newly minted members Kathleen Rice and Lee Zeldin joining Steve Israel and Peter King in the House of Representatives, Long Island will have a promising neophyte and a seasoned veteran on each side of the aisle.
To maximize that advantage, Democrat Rice and Republican Zeldin need to steer clear of the ideological extremes and focus on solving problems. They should avoid the partisan gridlock.
Zeldin, of Shirley, must become a strong voice for the Island's interests within the Republican House majority -- for instance, on immigration reform that would benefit East End farmers who need legal laborers. King (R-Seaford) has never hesitated to take on his GOP colleagues when the interests of Long Island were at stake. Zeldin must demonstrate similar independence and resolve.
Rice, of Garden City, pledged to advocate for small business and the middle class. Israel (D-Huntington) is stepping down as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a key leadership post. But he remains a savvy party player whom Rice should tap to help her effectively navigate the halls of power.
The nation could use more of Long Island's willingness to be bipartisan.