Friday, February 02, 2007

Franklin Square-Elmont Herald, New York Daily News Endorse Craig Johnson

Craig Johnson has picked up two more endorsements in his State Senate campaign - one from the Franklin Square-Elmont Herald, which is the first local weekly paper to make an endorsement in the SD7 special election, and one from the New York Daily News.

The Daily News urged voters to "cast their ballots for Democrat Craig Johnson, who outshines his opponent on the issues and is committed to reforming Albany." In contrast, the Daily News says Craig's opponent Maureen O'Connell "refuses to release a draft audit that, one can only conclude, criticizes how she has run the clerk's office."

Read the whole Daily News endorsement online or read more about the O'Connell audit scandal here, here and here.

The Franklin Square-Elmont Herald editorial isn't online, but here's their endorsement:
Johnson for 7th Senate District

The special election for the 7th Senate District, which includes Franklin Square and Elmont, will determine whether the Republicans maintain their five-seat state Senate majority.

The implications of the race, however, extend beyond the state capitol. Democrats hold a 10-9 edge in the county Legislature. If the Democratic candidate for the Senate, Craig Johnson, wins on Tuesday, there will be a special election to fill his seat in the 11th Legislative District. Power in the county Legislature would hang in the balance.

Residents of Franklin Square and Elmont may not be well acquainted with Johnson, who has served in the county Legislature since 2000. The 11th District lies within the Town of North Hempstead, and prior to 2000, when Johnson won a special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of his mother, Barbara, he had never run for office.

In seven years, Johnson's star has risen in the county Democratic Party. In fact, while he was one of five potential candidates screened by a Democratic committee, party sources say that Johnson was the primary choice from the moment the vacancy was created in late December, when then Gov.-Elect Eliot Spitzer named newly re-elected state Sen. Mike Balboni as his choice to be the state's deputy secretary for public safety and homeland security.

It's easy to see why. Johnson is an informed legislator who tackles every task laid before him with vigor, as evidenced by his tireless campaigning in the three weeks since he was designated to run. As a county legislator, he serves as vice chairman of the Legislative Budget Review Committee, and also sits on the Economic & Community Development and Labor; Public Safety; Government Services & Operations; and Towns, Villages, Cities committees. He became the youngest legislator ever named chairman of the county Finances Committee in 2004, overseeing Nassau County's $2.2 billion budget.

Johnson, who is in lockstep with Spitzer's reform agenda, which includes plans for a $6 billion property tax cut over three years, also supports federal and state legislation to reduce prescription drug prices by requiring the government to negotiate for lower prices for drugs for the Medicare program.

A self-described advocate of a woman's right to choose, Johnson was endorsed by the Planned Parenthood of Nassau County Action Fund, Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York and NARAL Pro-Choice New York, and has also garnered the support of the Empire State Pride Agenda, the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights advocacy group.

His opponent, Maureen O'Connell, refused to speak to the Herald regarding her stand on abortion, calling the election "not about social issues, but about property taxes and its crushing burden on Long Islanders." O'Connell, the county clerk and a former state assemblywoman, is an intelligent woman, a Registered Nurse with a law degree. She may think her social politics in this election are immaterial, but taking a stance on an issue is one measure of a candidate's character.

We respect O'Connell's view on abortion - whatever it is. And we take serious issue with Johnson's condescending campaign advertisements criticizing O’Connell’s moral positions, as if few share them. His ads report that she has the full support of pro-life organizations, as though that’s something to be ashamed of. Johnson needs to understand that a significant number of residents of the 7th S.D. hold right-to-life beliefs, and at the very least deserve a representative who respects his constituents and their beliefs.

That being said, Johnson has earned a reputation as someone who works well with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and he appears to be champing at the bit to get to Albany. The Herald enthusiastically endorses Johnson, and looks forward to a special election in the county Legislature to determine where the power, on a more local level, will lie.
4 days until Election Day!

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