2010-11-05 / Columnists

East End Matters

Looking Toward The Future
Commentary By Miriam Rosenberg

“Hope for the best when the election is over and that both parties come together to work for the people of America.” That was one post from 7online.com’s election night coverage that included submitting questions and comments to anchor Diana Williams. That same sentiment can be expressed about the state of New York after four tumultuous and embarrassing years that included one elected governor chased from office because of his involvement with a call girl and another governor who many felt was ineffective. There was a hijacking of the state Senate by Republicans that was assisted by overly ambitious Democrats, which closed down government; a legislature that couldn’t or wouldn’t work with the governor and investigations abounded in Albany. Our own State Senator Malcolm Smith is the subject of one such investigation that continues. As a matter of fact, voting on the east end presented its difficulties as our congressman, Gregory Meeks, is also under investigation for allegations of wrongdoing.

As this is being typed, Andrew Cuomo has been elected governor. It will be his job to lead the changes in Albany. As 7Online.com analyst Bill Cunningham said on election night, Cuomo should take away from all this that people are “sick and tired of the dysfunction” in Albany. For Rockaway all our current representatives seem to be on their way back to Albany. But it should be with this in mind – stop the shenanigans. For some that means those backroom, behind doors doings that we seem to only find out about on the front pages of the newspapers. In addition, our representatives should remember that those who put them in office did so expecting them to decide what is best for their constituents, not to do the bidding of a few in leadership positions in the legislature. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate leaders John Sampson, David Valesky and Repub-lican Dean Skelos do not represent Rockaway. Smith is the only Senate leader from the peninsula. He and our other representatives, from the east to the west end, need to remember that we voted for them and not the leadership.

On the national level, Democrats took a big hit on election night despite passing a major health care bill, financial reform and other important initiates. And despite the fact that Republicans blocked everything in sight. That included the extension of unemployment benefits for longtime unemployed Americans. Democrats – as is always the case in midterm elections and being the president’s party – caught the anger of voters. The GOP took back the House, but was denied the Senate. We still have a Democratic president and Senate. Republicans will now have to stop looking to the next election to see how many defeats they can serve up to President Obama and the Democrats and work for the good of the country. Being the party of no will no longer cut it.

If some of the local polling places of those who work at The Wave were any indication, voter turnout for these midterm elections was extremely good. Yet instead of tossing out the incumbents – as had been advocated – after those many debacles of the last few years, voters sent many, if not most, back to Albany.

The election is over and the work begins. Will Democrats and Republicans come together for the good of the country and, in what is known as the most dysfunctional legislature in the country, work together for the good of New York State? Well assuming that they forget what I was told in my first political science class in college – that the first rule for a politician is to get elected and the second rule is to get reelected – we should see a new beginning. Otherwise, get ready for more of the same. But we can hope, can’t we?

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