Republican Kemp Hannon consistently wins the incumbent daily double: He's the dominant leader in the State Senate on the critical issue of health care, and he is vigilant about the specific needs of his district.
Hannon, who is seeking his 11th term, makes the best case for why experience counts. As chairman of the Health Committee, his nuanced knowledge of the complex issues of Medicaid funding help the state cut more than a billion dollars in hidden costs, and he is deeply involved in implementation of the insurance exchanges required by the federal Affordable Care Act. Hannon worked on getting the required approvals for the Hofstra University medical school and on the establishment of an online registry to cut trafficking in prescription painkillers.
Addressing a worrisome problem in his district, Hannon, 66, has been aggressively pressuring the Department of Environmental Conservation to act faster to protect local wells from the underground toxic plume spreading south from the old Grumman Corp. plant in Bethpage toward Massapequa.
Challenger Ryan Cronin, 31, has a future in politics. Like Hannon, he is from Garden City and a graduate of Chaminade High School. A lawyer in Manhattan, he promises to make the Bethpage plume a priority while moving Nassau County toward a "modern economy" by making it easier for high-tech business to thrive. His first time out of the box, Cronin is reaching for the stars. He's promising, but he fails to make the case to turn out one of the Senate's most respected members.
Newsday endorses Hannon.