Anthony Palumbo took the oath of office in Albany Wednesday, starting his first term as Senator of the 1st District.
Mr. Palumbo, who served for seven years in the State Assembly, succeeds former Senator Ken LaValle in representing the district, which covers all five East End towns and portions of eastern Brookhaven. Mr. LaValle served in office for 44 years.
“I am honored to represent the residents of the 1st State Senate District and look forward to getting to work and addressing the serious challenges facing our communities here on Long Island and throughout the state,” Mr. Palumbo said in a statement.
Mr. Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) defeated Democrat Laura Ahearn in November’s election with 51% of the vote, a win that was officially secured after the counting of absentee ballots.
He will serve as a ranking Republican member on the state senate’s Codes and Ethics Committees and said his top priorities include responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing relief to struggling small businesses and repealing “radical policies” he says have emboldened criminals.
A former assistant district attorney, Mr. Palumbo specifically pointed to the state’s landmark 2019 bill that effectively ended cash bail for most misdemeanor and non-violent felonies, among other changes.
The bill has been amended following public backlash from lawmakers, prosecutors and law enforcement.
“Sadly these disastrous policies are still on the books, with seemingly more pro-crime bills on the horizon. We must repeal these laws and end the dangerous anti-police rhetoric in Albany,” Mr. Palumbo said in a statement.
Democrats, however, gained seats in 2020’s election after already gaining big ground in the 2018 midterms, making Republican pushback on those laws unlikely to go anywhere. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said in November that Democrats in the state Senate will now have a supermajority, which would allow them to override a veto from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is also a Democrat.
Last week, Mr. Palumbo joined with Republican colleagues to back a series of measures coined as the “Reset New York” agenda, which includes economic proposals to address growing fiscal stress facing the state.
The agenda calls for restarting local economies by safely reopening small businesses and helping schools and universities stay open.
Lawmakers behind the proposal also called on the legislature to tackle a “culture of overspending” by restoring fiscal responsibility and addressing unaffordability throughout the state.
“Long Island’s families, businesses and seniors are hurting and need greater support and relief from state government, both in the immediate term to help get through the pandemic and in the future to ensure that New York is a more affordable and safer place to call home,” Mr. Palumbo said. “Reset New York will put us on a trajectory to accomplish these goals and begin to reverse the trends of higher taxes, burdensome regulations, and more crime that has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee the Empire State.”