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Rank and file

Rep. Tom Suozzi at the Jewish Community Relations

Rep. Tom Suozzi at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Long Island in Plainview on April 15, 2018. Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

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Daily Point

Pulling rank

It might be more of a surprise that an effort was made to create this new ranking, rather than its results. A new study by LegiStorm finds that congressional Democrats have staff with more advanced degrees from elite schools than Republicans. And it’s perhaps even less of a surprise that Democratic House members from New York and California lead the rankings.

The private research firm that monitors Capitol Hill activity put the office of Rep. Gregory Meeks, who represents a bit of Nassau County in his mostly Queens 5th District, as the top New Yorker. Tom Suozzi’s team ranked 12th in the House of Representatives. Kathleen Rice’s crew was 146th on the list.

LegiStorm took into account the number of staff members with graduate and professional degrees, and using U.S. News & World Report school rankings, it gave extra points depending on where degrees were earned.

Republican staff overall placed low in the rankings, and Long Island’s two GOP representatives didn’t fare too well. Rep. Lee Zeldin's staff came in at 352nd and Rep. Peter King at 360th; that’s out of a total of 435 members in the House.

On the Senate side, New York’s two Democrats didn’t make the top tier. Kirsten Gillibrand’s staff was ranked 23rd and Chuck Schumer’s team came in at 57th.

All of which proves just about nothing about how well these staff members perform their jobs.

Rita Ciolli

Talking Point

Bashing on de Blasio

The tides change, the Earth circles the sun, and suburban Republicans criticize Mayor Bill de Blasio.

De Blasio rallied Democrats to try to retake the State Senate in 2014, but his fundraising efforts got him in campaign finance trouble and he’s been relatively silent on the issue since. Yet the big bad liberal city mayor remains a mainstay of Long Island campaign ads.

One such Facebook ad paid for by the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee includes a photo mashup of Brentwood Democrat Monica Martinez and de Blasio beneath a quote, “We are family,” and the Newsday logo.

The ad says Martinez “joined NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio at a party unity rally in Manhattan. Newsday reported that de Blasio and Martinez were front and center as party leaders called for a takeover of state government.”

The Point covered Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s September unity rally in Manhattan that was attended by de Blasio, various State Senate candidates, including Martinez, and many others. The Sept. 18 newsletter item said, “Long Island challengers were front and center.” The GOP ad’s boldface quote, “We are family,” was not uttered by anyone. It was a Point headline referring to Cuomo bringing everyone under the tent for the general election.

Needless to say, the newsletter does not like to see its words twisted, and we complained. “You’re really reaching,” Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif said in an email. “Did she attend the event? And was de Blasio there in support?? Everyone knows that a vote for Monica Martinez is a vote to put Bill de Blasio and his radical New York City allies in charge of the Senate and our entire state government.”

The Earth circles, the sun rises . . .

Mark Chiusano

Pencil Point

A different kind of justice

Final Point

’Tis the season

It’s that time of year again.

Endorsement season.

Election Day is fast approaching and Newsday’s editorial board has been busy interviewing candidates in as many as three races per day. We’ll endorse in 40 contests on the federal, state and county levels — from governor, attorney general and state comptroller to five congressional contests, from 30 State Senate and Assembly races to two Suffolk County positions. We do not endorse when there is only one person running.

The array of contenders often is breathtaking, and this year is no exception. We’re barely one-quarter of the way through, and already we’ve interviewed one candidate who was born in the 1930s and another born in the 1990s. Some we are interviewing for the first time; others are veterans, like State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, whose session this week was at least his 16th endorsement interview with the board (no, we haven’t seen Ken LaValle yet, who’s running for his 21st term in the State Senate). While some are professional politicians, the overall field of candidates includes varied backgrounds — lawyers, business people, a guidance counselor, a geologist, an animal trainer. Every one of them has told us there is a palpable sense of interest and energy about this year’s vote.

This year, the editorial board also is making a video featuring a behind-the-scenes look at our process and some of the candidates talking about what it’s like to come in for an endorsement interview. We’ll post it on the opinion page website later this month.

Our endorsements will start appearing in the coming weeks.

Michael Dobie

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