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Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer has announced the appointment of Senator Michael Balboni to be Deputy Secretary for Public Safety, the senior security and law enforcement official in his new administration.

Newly appointed New York State Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Michael Balboni.

"There is no one better prepared to serve the state in this capacity than Michael Balboni," said Spitzer. "Since September 11, [2001], he has been at the forefront of the state's homeland security and disaster preparedness efforts. He understands what has been done to date and he knows what the state must do going forward. I am honored that he has agreed to join the administration in a senior position and lead this important effort."

As Deputy Secretary for Public Safety, Balboni will have day-to-day responsibility for managing homeland security affairs, emergency preparedness and response, and law enforcement.

Balboni, an 18-year veteran of both houses of the state legislature, has extensive experience in security and law enforcement matters. He is currently chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs. He was the author of the state's Anti-Terrorism Law of 2001 that mandates severe penalties for those who commit terror acts, make terror threats, or render assistance to terrorists. He also authored a 2002 law that helps protect the state's water supply from terror attacks. In 2005, he authored the Chemical Plant Security Act, the first of its kind in the nation.

In 2004, Balboni was appointed to serve on a national task force reviewing allocation of federal money for homeland security measures. In 2005, he was named Senior Fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University. In addition, he co-chaired the National Conference of State Legislatures Executive Task Force on Homeland Security.

Balboni, a resident of East Williston, is a graduate of St. John's University Law School. He was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1989. He was elected to the State Senate in 1997. He represents Nassau County. He and his wife Stephanie have four children.

Balboni issued the following statement to Anton Community Newspapers: "I have been blessed to represent the wonderful people of this district. I want them to know that I would not have accepted this position if I did not believe that I would be able to still serve them in this new capacity. The offer certainly came as a surprise. But I care deeply about these issues and look forward to working with the new administration to protect the public as best as we possibly can."

There is much speculation as to who will run for the New York State 7th Senatorial seat to be vacated by Balboni. On the Republican side, the name in the forefront is that of Nassau County Clerk Maureen O'Connell of East Williston, who also served as a New York State assemblywoman and Nassau County Legislator Richard Nicolello of New Hyde Park. On the Democratic side, Nassau County Legislator Craig Johnson of Port Washington and North Hempstead Town Clerk Michelle Schimel of Great Neck have been mentioned. However, as of press time, there has been no official announcement from either party.

It is speculated that Governor-elect Spitzer will call for a special election in mid-to late February depending on Balboni's resignation date.


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