East Meadow Democrat Eileen Napolitano never stopped running for the legislature after she lost to Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves in 2015. Now Gonsalves is retiring and Napolitano, 55, is even more knowledgeable and ready to take the seat than when we endorsed her for it two years ago.

An optometrist, Napolitano is focused on balancing the county budget and passing ethics reforms. She wants to see common-sense money-savers like moving the county away from paper paychecks and to direct deposit and paying civilians, instead of costly county cops, to drive ambulances.

On assessments and the property tax system, she says it’s the government’s job to get them right by hiring a qualified assessor and staffing the office. She wants closed police precincts reopened, but also wants to end arcane police work rules that cost taxpayers a fortune without improving safety.

She’s furious about huge administrative fees on traffic tickets and real estate paperwork that are burdening residents. She’ll fight for term limits, a better ethics board and an independent inspector general to clean up county corruption. And she promises to listen carefully and advocate for the wants of the community.

Republican Thomas McKevitt, 46, is a minority-party member of the State Assembly from East Meadow. An attorney, he says serving in Mineola, not Albany, would keep him closer to his family. That makes sense for McKevitt. The voters, though, would be better served by a county legislator with a zeal to serve and who could provide some details on how to do so. McKevitt, who says he will seek re-election to the Assembly next year if he loses this race, doesn’t seem to have his heart in it.

Napolitano, on the other hand, understands how badly corruption has damaged the public trust, and that legislators must work hard to restore it. She’s ready for the job.

Newsday endorses Napolitano.