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Tuesday, September 23, 2014
A look at the new Nassau Legislature
by David Weingrad

The Nassau County Legislature will have a different look on Jan. 1, with Republicans picking up one additional seat on Election Day, strengthening their majority to 11 seats over the Democrats’ 8.

There will also be new faces on both sides of the aisle, including Republicans Laura Schaefer and Donald MacKenzie, and Democrats Laura Curran and Ellen Birnbaum.

Schaefer ran unopposed in the 14th District, a seat vacated by Republican Joe Belesi. MacKenzie defeated Democratic challenger Dave Gugerty in the 18th District by more than 2,000 votes.

Curran replaces longtime Democratic legislator Joseph Scannell in the 5th District, and Birnbaum takes the reins in the 10th District, a seat formerly held by Democrat Judi Bosworth, who successfully ran for Town of North Hempstead Supervisor.

The new legislators match the number who remain in office since the Legislature’s inception in 1996 — Republicans Francis Becker (6th District), Vincent Muscarella (8th District) and Dennis Dunne (15th District), and Democrat Judith Jacobs (16th District).

Nassau County’s 19 Legislative districts were redrawn earlier this year, a requirement every 10 years by the county charter to account for updated census data. The new lines shifted Democratic Delia DeRiggi-Whitton into the 11th District, a North Shore seat held by fellow Democrat Wayne Wink since 2007.

After initially considering a run for county comptroller, Wink chose to run for town clerk in the Town of North Hempstead, a race he won.

In the new district lines, David Denenberg picked up most of Wantagh/Seaford in his 19th district, Norma Gonsalves’ 13th district includes North Wantagh and Rose Marie Walker’s 17th district now includes North Seaford. Dennis Dunne’s 15th district no longer includes Wantagh/Seaford.

Wantagh/Seaford’s legislators offered their comments to The Citizen:

Norma Gonsalves

Nassau Legislature Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves was re-elected to the Legislature’s 13th District.

Said Mrs. Gonsalves, “This is who I am. I do work with a sense of dedication and commitment. And that dedication and commitment has not dwindled in the least in the long tenure of my legislative office.

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