The evolution of Jack Martins continues. Martins, 47, a Republican from Mineola, has impressed in his four years in the State Senate. Thoughtful and reasonable, he draws on a broad base of experience earned in eight years as mayor of Mineola.

His opponent is businessman Adam Haber, 49, of East Hills, a former commodities trader who made an unsuccessful run last year for the Democratic nomination for Nassau County executive. He has served five years on the Roslyn school board, a thinner base from which to make the leap to Albany.

Haber has some good ideas we truly hope Martins adopts. Haber says a third track for the Long Island Rail Road between Floral Park and Hicksville can be an economic catalyst. He's right. And he has a better approach to redeveloping the Belmont area. He rejects the New York Cosmos' soccer stadium-hotel-retail proposal embraced by Martins in favor of development that's attractive to young adults -- an incubator for technology startups, for example, with affordable rental housing and a version of the Chelsea Market.

We like Martins' vision of doing something transformative with the $4 billion-plus the state will receive in bank settlements from the mortgage securities crisis. He wants to spend it on badly needed infrastructure -- perhaps a tunnel to Westchester -- and clean energy. Haber agrees on spending on transportation, but the North Shore ferry system he's proposing is unlikely to survive without heavy subsidies.

Martins opposed the Long Island water-quality bill that passed the Assembly but died in the Senate, saying it focused too much on nitrogen pollution and not enough on saltwater intrusion into the aquifer. He wants the state to fund aquifer protection and a state commission to oversee that. We challenge him to channel his passion for protecting water into working with disparate groups in the debate to produce legislation that does just that.

His continuing maturation and nuanced approach to many issues suggest Martins could develop into the kind of next-generation leader Long Island will need in Albany. Haber's abrasiveness is not conducive to the art of compromise necessary in Albany or to working within the kind of suburban coalition that would have to represent Long Island if Democrats take over the Senate.

Newsday endorses Martins.

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