An election of firsts: LI leads trend of putting Democrats in NY Senate

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Long Island led the way in what was a statewide trend that will put Democrats in control of the New York State Senate starting in January.

Suffolk County Legislator Monica Martinez will become the first Hispanic state senator to represent to Long Island. And civil rights attorney Kevin Thomas, of Levittown, is the first American of Indian descent to be elected a state senator in New York.

MORE: Reps. King, Suozzi: Let’s find common ground

The six-member state Senate delegation from Nassau and Suffolk will be closely watched. The last time Democrats held the majority in the chamber, they passed an MTA payroll tax and a school aid adjustment that cost Long Island taxpayers millions of dollars. Democrats were accused of putting New York City interests ahead of suburban ones.

"I have no doubt that at the end of the day, every one of the members standing next to me are going to wake up in the morning and say, 'What's best for Long Island?'" says state Sen. Todd Kaminsky, who won his re-election bid on Tuesday.

Former state assemblyman and political analyst Jerry Kremer says the new lawmakers will have a lot to prove.

"The questions moving forward are, can the new group be in a position where they can influence policy and protect what we've had," Kremer says. "So they will be hard-pressed from day one to prove that they'll be Long Island-centric."

For years, all nine of Long Island's state senators were Republicans. The Island never had more than two Democratic senators at one time, and now there will be six.

Among the Republicans who lost their re-election bids on Tuesday were longtime state Sens. Kemp Hannon, of Garden City, and Carl Marcellino, of Oyster Bay.

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