New York State Senator, 8th DistrictPosted: Updated:
John E. Brooks
Background: Brooks, 68, of Seaford, is running on the Democratic, Working Families and Women's Equality lines. He spent more than six years on the Seaford Union Free School District board in the 1990s. He was first elected to the Senate in 2016. Brooks is a retired insurance executive who served as the Nassau County director of risk management. He received a bachelor's degree from the New York Institute of Technology. Brooks has a son.
Issues: Brooks said Democrats better represent Long Island interests than Republicans and, if they gain control of the Senate, would advance legislation that has been bottled up by the GOP. Brooks dismissed challenger Jeffrey Pravato's assertion that Democrats would focus on helping New York City. "I ran to help Long Island," he said. Brooks is proposing to cap at 50 percent the proportion of school district budgets that are paid by local property taxes and reduce tax levies accordingly, with money for the plan coming out of the state general fund. Brooks said that would especially benefit counties such as Nassau, where, he added, only 18 percent of education spending comes from the state. "We need to get a fair share of state aid," he said. Brooks said "the concept of a single payer health plan is a good one." He said he would use his insurance background to make the program efficient and "make sure that it is priced in a way that saves money and is actuarially sound." He vowed to fight the Trump administration's plan for oil and gas drilling off Long Island. Instead, he backs putting "wind farms" offshore. Brooks said he wants increased Long Island Rail Road funding for things such as elevators for people with disabilities in LIRR stations. He said he will continue to push for more funding to improve Island roads.
Jeffrey P. Pravato
Background: Pravato, 50, of Massapequa Park, is running on the Republican, Conservative, Reform and Independence lines. He has been mayor of Massapequa Park since 2013 and served as a village trustee from 2002 to 2013. Pravato worked in finance on Wall Street for more than 20 years and currently is deputy public works commissioner for Oyster Bay. He received a bachelor's degree from C.W. Post College (now LIU-Post). Pravato is married with four children.
Issues: The race is viewed as crucial in determining which party controls the Senate, and Pravato said a key reason voters should choose him is that "it's critical the Senate remain Republican. We serve as a check for Governor Cuomo and a city-dominated Assembly." Pravato said he would seek to join a Senate oversight board over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, to push for better Long Island Rail Road service. He wants to make the state property-tax cap permanent, and he called state Sen. John Brooks' proposal to limit how much school budgets should be funded by local property taxes a "phony pledge." Pravato supports eliminating more than $400 million in tax credits for film production in the state and using the money for tax relief. He said fighting corruption and "pay to play" would be a priority, and he backed banning state contractors from donating to political campaigns. He opposes a single-payer health care system, saying it would quadruple the state budget and reduce quality of care. He supports a two-term limit for the governor and four-term limit for Senate and Assembly members. Pravato said his finance background and tenure as mayor means he can adeptly analyze state budgets. "I dig into budgets to make sure there's no wasteful spending," he said.