EDITORIAL

Elections are all about giving 'extreme underdogs' a chance

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We haven’t heard too much lately from George Diaz, the Norwood political activist vying for an Assembly seat. But that doesn’t mean he’s not on the mind of the current occupant, Jeffrey Dinowitz.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie told supporters last week he wants to protect well-rooted incumbents, like his longtime ally Dinowitz, according to a New York Post report. And that’s fine by Dinowitz — now in his 26th year representing his neighborhoods in Albany — who told the newspaper “there’s very little rationale for trying to oust the very people who’ve delivered record accomplishments over the past year.”

About his record, Dinowitz isn’t wrong. In the past session so far, Dinowitz was the primary sponsor on 28 bills that passed both chambers, half of which were delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Of those, all have been signed except for one that was just delivered last Friday about requiring Realtors to learn ethical business practices as part of continuing education.

There’s no question Dinowitz does a lot for the community, and having someone with experience is beneficial. But there’s also value in considering introducing a fresh perspective, many times from a new Assembly member.

We have seen that first hand with state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi. She had to fight a well-entrenched incumbent to win her seat, but she’s worked hard. In her first year in Albany, Biaggi authored eight bills that have passed both chambers, four of which have since been signed by Cuomo.

Newly elected lawmakers like Biaggi and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have created some real fear in our political establishment. Where in some extreme cases, incumbency doesn’t have the power it once did.

But it’s still powerful, to the point where it’s time New York slapped term limits on legislators. One recent bill from Port Washington Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso would limit both chambers to four four-year terms.

Is that the magic number for term limits? We couldn’t say. But really, if as a lawmaker you can’t accomplish what you set out to do in the time for a baby to be born, and grow up enough to get her driver’s license, then maybe it’s time to step aside and let someone else give it a shot.

Or if you have 16 years of success, great! Take that experience to the next level, or at the very least, allow someone else to follow your lead.

Political parties look at “extreme underdogs” who can “come out of nowhere to get elected” as a nuisance. But maybe, just maybe, they’re looking for a fresh perspective.

 

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