While the storm about the presidential election still rages in Florida, in Manhasset the incumbents have all been re-elected. Congressman Peter King, State Senator Michael Balboni and Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli all retained their seats with comfortable margins.
Republican Peter King will serve his fifth term as the representative of the Third Congressional District. Running on the Conservative and Right to Life party lines as well as the Republican line, King received approximately 61 percent of the vote in his district, defeating Democrat Dal LaMagna of Sea Cliff and Liberal Selma Olchin. According to unofficial results, King received 135,328 votes, LaMagna 90,290 and Olchin 1,378.
After his victory King said that he has established an independent record in Congress. He was sharply criticized by members of the Republican establishment when he voted against impeaching President Bill Clinton. "I put New York and Nassau County first, even if that involves breaking away from my own party on certain issues. I feel I can work with Democrats on issues that affect Long Island. We have unique issues on Long Island and they're not Democratic or Republican issues. They are issues that involve people and we do work together," King stated.
During his next two years in Congress, King said he hopes to find an answer to both the HMO and prescription drug issues. Prescription drugs should be more affordable, he said, and people should have the right to sue their HMOs.
"This is all about building a relationship," said newly re-elected New York State Senator Michael Balboni, as he discussed his 57 percent win in a post-Election Day interview. Senator Balboni said he is most anxious to continue his work in the seventh senatorial district. Senator Balboni said that he will "continue to bring back as much money as possible to the district."
He also has a number of issues for which he will advocate in the senate. "I plan to focus on education and day care," he said. Calling the day care concept and day care providers "under-appreciated" and underpaid, he said he would like to see significant steps taken in the quality of day care as well as its affordability.
Also along the lines of concern for children, Senator Balboni, the father of four, said he would continue to tackle the "video violence" issue. Ha and Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli have worked together on this issue in the past.
Turning to senior citizen issues, Senator Balboni said that he is pushing for legislation to make HMOs more responsible for seniors. A major concern is the problem of HMOs dropping seniors, leaving them without health care. "If they (the insurance providers) want to write other lines, they must be made to provide insurance for our seniors," he said. Like his Republican counterpart, Congressman Peter King, Senator Balboni expressed concern over the problem senior citizens have with the high cost of prescription drugs. "No one should have to decide between food and medicine, between rent and medicine," he said.
New York State Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli was returned to his sixteenth assembly district seat with 70 percent of the vote. "Personally, these were the best numbers I've ever had," said the assemblyman. He also noted that is was "a good night for Nassau County Democrats." Mr. DiNapoli, who is the chairman of the Nassau Democratic Party, is widely credited with the outstanding showing his party made in the 1999 victories in the Nassau County Legislature races. DiNapoli himself is considered to be a front runner for the Democratic nomination for county executive in 2001. In an interview not quite two months ago, he told reporters that he would not make any decision about that race until after the Nov. 7 election. Now he says that he will give the race "a lot of thought in the next few weeks."
Speaking as the Nassau County Democratic leader, Mr. DiNapoli said "on balance, it was a good year. We delivered a plurality for Gore...we did well for Hillary...we did better than expected in the judicial races." A tremendous win for the Democrats was the victory for Nassau County Surrogate, as well as six out of eight State Supreme Court victories and the two District Court races in North Hempstead.
He was, in general, in an upbeat mood. Even the party's losses in Hempstead had a positive side. "We were very competitive," he said, "and we seem to have established a two-party system in Nassau County, which will be better for all of us."