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Move-in day on Capitol Hill
This week was the first time newly elected Congressman Tom Suozzi stopped living out of a suitcase in Washington.
During a visit with the Newsday editorial board on Thursday, Suozzi said he found an apartment in Southeast Washington near the Navy Yard. He’s sharing the pad with two other freshmen: Josh Gottheimer, who won an upset victory in New Jersey, knocking off a seven-term GOP incumbent; and Jimmy Panetta of California, the youngest son of Leon Panetta, the former CIA director and secretary of defense. Suozzi says Gottheimer talks faster and is even more frenetic than him.
In these early days of the 115th Congress, Suozzi scored an early victory -- a seat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, specifically the subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. He got a second seat on another subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, from which he says he will look at climate change.
His first trip to Israel is scheduled for August.
However, Suozzi says his request for a seat on the powerful Armed Services Committee is still up in the air. He wants that assignment to be able to look at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Northport, the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point and the toxic plume in Bethpage that stems from the days when Grumman Aircraft built warplanes for the Navy.
Unity in the skies
Sen. Chuck Schumer isn’t the only elected official from New York eyeing the much-discussed federal infrastructure bill as a way to fund a new terminal for Long Island MacArthur Airport.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) says money from a $1 trillion plan — a total touted by both President Donald Trump and Schumer, Washington’s No. 1 Democrat — “will be instrumental” in spurring a public-private partnership to build the terminal. Zeldin, who cited the partnership rebuilding LaGuardia Airport as a “success story,” encouraged Islip Town, which owns and operates MacArthur, to seek a similar arrangement with an international airline or development company.
“Any feasible plan to make a successful north terminal proposal a reality with new airlines and routes is something that we should all get behind,” Zeldin wrote in an email.
A member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as well as its subcommittee on aviation, Zeldin has been an enthusiastic backer of MacArthur, just like Schumer. Unlike Schumer, Zeldin is a member of the majority party.
Making MacArthur a regional jewel, it seems, can be a bipartisan endeavor.
Fact of the matter
Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco began his political career in 2005 as a registered Conservative and has held that line in each subsequent run for re-election. However, he’s also seen as a progressive because of his policies to reduce the jail population and to push for rehabilitative alternatives to incarceration.
That reputation will be tested in this year's election, and DeMarco’s highly publicized break with former Suffolk County Conservative Party chairman Ed Walsh puts that endorsement in question.
A key measure with Suffolk’s electorate will be DeMarco’s positions on immigration, as the country reacts to sweeping policy changes from President Donald Trump. There is talk that DeMarco is toughening his policy on detaining inmates wanted by federal agents for deportation.
In an interview with The Point on Thursday, the sheriff said nothing much has really changed yet on the ground. Since a federal policy change went into effect here on Dec. 2, the department has handed over seven people wanted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The comparable number for December 2015 was 10 people.
“I know people say I did this because we have an election this year,” DeMarco said. “But it was really that ICE changed their paperwork in September.”
As a candidate endorsed by all sides — Democratic, Republican, Conservative and Independence — in the last two elections, DeMarco may be in the habit of pleasing all sides. Trump’s ramped-up immigration policies may put that stance to the test.