32° Good Morning
32° Good Morning

Editorial: Ms. Rice and Mr. Zeldin go to Washington

Kathleen Rice, left, current Nassau County district attorney

Kathleen Rice, left, current Nassau County district attorney and Democratic candidate for Congress 4th District, on May 12, 2014, and Lee Zeldin, current New York State senator (3rd District) and GOP candidate for Congress 1st District, at his campaign office on May 9, 2014. Credit: James Escher

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.