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Elections Held In Shadow Of Hurricane Sandy

King, Fuschillo, Hannon, McKevitt and Saladino all return to office and Venditto wins special election for legislator

Status Quo. That pretty much sums up the results of this year’s elections, both nationally and locally. On the national level, President Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term. Democrats maintained control of the U.S. Senate, while Republicans held on to the majority in the House of Representatives. Statewide, U.S. Senator Kirstin Gillibrand was elected to her first full term. Control of the New York State Senate remained in question, awaiting the outcome of two very close upstate races in which absentee ballots would determine the outcome. Locally, all of the incumbents were re-elected.

However, this year’s elections will be more remembered for the circumstances under which they were held. With Hurricane Sandy having hit the island the week prior to Election Day, many residents were dealing with the power outages, or the outright destruction of their homes by the storm. Those who were elected did not express tremendous joy at their victories as concern for the victims of the hurricane took precedence.

“Due to the circumstances, the election was very secondary to my life,” remarked Assemblyman Tom McKevitt, whose assembly district will now consist of a significant portion of Massapequa. “It was the most surreal election night I ever went through. It’s a time when politics ended and you’re just focusing on helping people.”

McKevitt received 57.32 percent of the vote in defeating challenger Kevin Brady. He thanked residents of Massapequa for the huge support he received in the area and added that he is looking forward to “a great relationship for many years to come,” with residents of Massapequa.

“My heart goes out to everyone’s family who has been affected by this horrible storm,” said Joseph Saladino who will be returning to the New York State Assembly. “I have visited homes of many of my constituents in Nassau and Suffolk counties and have seen tremendous damage from flooding, fires, and the tidal surge.”

Saladino will now represent the 9th Assembly District, which in addition to parts of south Massapequa and Massapequa Park, also includes eastern Lindenhurst, West Babylon, Babylon Village, West Islip, western Bay Shore and Brightwaters. He expressed appreciation to the electorate and vowed to work hard to serve the needs of the communities. Saladino received almost 75 percent of the votes cast in Nassau County and almost 65 percent of votes from Suffolk.

“The focus was more on helping people out than it was on winning an election,” said Michael Venditto, who won a special election to fill the unexpired term of Peter Schmitt. Venditto received 65.4 percent of the vote in defeating Joanne Maglione to complete the term of Schmitt, who passed away last month. Venditto said, “I’m going to roll up my sleeves right away to try and help the residents of the 12th Legislative District and the county.”

Congressman Peter King will continue to represent the Massapequas, although now he represents the 2nd Congressional District instead of the 3rd. With new district lines formed because of the 2010 census, King’s district now encompasses the Massapequas, as well as a significant part of Suffolk’s south shore. King relied on heavy support in the Massapequas to propel him to another term. In Nassau, King received 71.58 percent of votes cast, while receiving 53.22 percent of Suffolk votes, in defeating Democratic challenger Vivianne Falcone.

“They (Massapequa and Massapequa Park voters) always give me a good vote and I really appreciate the tremendous vote that I got on Election Day,” said King. “I promise I will continue to fight in Congress for them and the values they stand for.”

King said in the short term, his immediate goal is to work to get as much federal assistance as possible to help the region recover from the devastating storm. After that difficult task is addressed, King said his long-term plans include addressing issues such as Homeland Security and the Long Island Rail Road, and making sure that the region gets the funding that is needed.

Both incumbent state senators from the region, Kemp Hannon and Charles Fuschillo were reelected. Fuschillo, who received 61.75 percent of the vote in defeating his challenger, Carol Gordon, thanked his supporters..

“I’m very pleased with the overwhelming support that I have received in the Massapequa community,” remarked Fuschillo. “New York State has to continue moving in the direction of less spending and less taxes and that should be the continued priority as we go forward.”

Fuschillo also expressed disappointment at the Long Island Power Authority’s response to the storm. He said the power authority’s preparation and communication has been a failure, especially considering that they knew the powerful storm was on its way.

Senator Kemp Hannon also was re-elected, receiving 52.37 of the vote. Hannon also spoke more about the storm, than of his victory. He personally had been without power for more than a week. He said both he and his office members who have been working tirelessly to assist residents in desperate need, and he harshly criticized LIPA for its response. He said one of his immediate goals would be to help the region recover from the devastation of the storm. Following these remarks, he took a moment to speak about his victory.

“Every two years I put myself before the people with a program of what I want to do and I report what I’ve done in the last two years,” said Hannon. “The job is challenging. Obviously, I relish the challenge and I want to solve the problems that are there.”

Hannon said that after the devastation of the storm is addressed, creating jobs, lowering taxes, strengthening the economy and addressing the challenges of implementing the federal health care program all need to be dealt with.