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South Shore residents and officials voice opinions on election

Holding out hope for bipartisanship

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At press time on Monday, former Vice President Joe Biden had tallied over 75 million votes in the presidential election — more than any other candidate in history — besting President Donald Trump’s 70 million-plus votes, the second-most in history.

Only two states remained to be decided, Georgia and North Carolina, according to the Associated Press. A call for either candidate in either state, however, would not affect the outcome of the election.

Biden had 290 electoral votes secured, the AP was reporting. If he were to win Georgia — an increasingly likely outcome — he would end the election with 306 electoral votes. A candidate needs 270 to win the presidency.

Locally, Suffolk County Republican Andrew Garbarino appeared to have secured the seat in New York’s 2nd Congressional District, succeeding longtime Republican U.S. Rep. Peter King, of Seaford. Incumbent Sen. John Brooks, a Democrat from Seaford, was re-elected in the 8th District, running unopposed.

Residents of Wantagh, Seaford and the surrounding communities were keen to finding out how the presidential election would affect their day-to-day lives. “It’s a different feeling from when I travel from home in Seaford to work and then back,” said Celia Carlson, 41, a counselor at Intermediate School 125 in Woodside, Queens. She said she could feel the disappointment at the results of the presidential election in her hometown, but more positive vibes in Queens. “In New York City,” Carlson said, “they’re kind of feeling how I’m feeling: excited. There’s a buzz.”

On election night, she said, she wasn’t feeling very hopeful, with Trump edging Biden in some key states. Then, after seeing the vote totals for Biden rise Wednesday morning, she said she became “cautiously optimistic.”

As Biden secured more Electoral College votes, Carlson became increasingly aware that many of her neighbors weren’t happy. “Many people are hurt, and I understand that,” she said. “We have to understand that. That’s how it felt four years ago for the other side.”

Jay Mooney, 57, of Wantagh, said he stayed up until about 3 a.m. after election night. He said he was confident that Trump could continue building on his solid start.

“I woke up just a few hours later and I was astounded,” Mooney said. Despite supporting Trump, however, he asserted

that whoever accumulated the most Electoral College votes fairly should be the president-elect.

There would likely still be some emotional divide between Democratic and Republican community members, he said, but the key would be treating one another with respect.

“What I’d like to see is everyone get along and we pull together and move forward no matter who wins,” Mooney said, before adding that he wasn’t confident that would happen.

He reflected on a recent exchange with a longtime friend, whom he’s known since he was 5. His friend, a liberal, and Mooney, a staunch Republican, had a longstanding pact to keep conversations friendly, and avoid politics when possible. But when they spoke last Sunday on the phone for 90 minutes, politics was the lone subject. They disagreed on numerous topics, but hung up cordially, as friends.

“The gap between political parties will still be there,” Mooney said. “But whoever is in office should just want to do the best job for their constituents, no matter the party.”

Brooks and Republican Town of Hempstead Councilman Christopher Carini noted their parties’ successes and failures on election night. They both spoke of their desires to create lasting change, albeit in different ways. Carini noted his party’s focus on “law and order” and how he believed that inspired South Shore voters to flock to the polls.

Brooks, who acknowledged that Democrats could have been more forceful in their support for law enforcement, said he would focus on creating legislation to remodel the home value assessment process and better fund schools. Carini brought up high tax rates. Brooks keyed in on stopping misinformation.

Nonetheless, they offered small concessions, and  welcomed compromise.

“I think that a sincere bipartisan commitment to the well-being of the people whom public officials represent is the key to moving forward in an effective and productive fashion,” Carini told the Herald.

Brooks said that he wanted to see more get done, especially in the Senate, and that he wanted to maintain open lines of communication between the parties. “We all need to sit down and talk,” he said, “and until we do that, we won’t solve anything.”