Island Vote 2018: How will Albany's power shift impact Long Island?

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ROCKVILLE CENTRE -

All of the legislative power in Albany has shifted into the hands of the Democrats following this year's midterm elections, raising the question: how will if affect Long Island?

For years, Long Island's Republican state senators wielded considerable clout in Albany, single-handedly blocking legislation they felt was too liberal or too generous to New York City at the expense of the suburbs. But that dynamic is coming to an end.

Suffolk County Legislator Monica Martinez was one of a half-dozen Democrats elected to the state Senate from Long Island last week. That helped her party take over the majority.

"Now that we have six Democrats from Long Island, we're going to work very hard that we get more resources for Long Island," says state Sen.-elect Jim Gaughran.

MORE: Island Vote 2018 Complete Coverage

To give perspective on how monumental this election was, all nine of Long Island's state Senate seats were held for many years by Republicans. In recent years, Democrats captured two of the seats -- the most they ever held at one time. But after last week's election, six of the nine districts will be represented by Democrats.

Political analyst Larry Levy says there is potential for Long Island lawmakers becoming a powerful voice in Albany.

"The 'Long Island 6' would be smart if they joined arms with suburban lawmakers from other areas of the state to pursue a suburban agenda," Levy says.

One of the earliest tests, and perhaps the biggest, for the new group will involve school aid. Republicans always prided themselves on getting more money for Long Island schools than what was originally budgeted.

"It's an empirical test," says state Sen. Todd Kaminsky, who won a re-election bid last week. "You pass or you fail. We cannot get less school aid than in the past. It's as simple as that."

Long Island will lose a powerful position next year. Northport Republican John Flanagan is currently the state Senate majority leader. Although he won re-election last week, he will lose that post since Democrats won control of the chamber.

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