OpinionEditorial New leaders and fresh starts in Long Island government Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp By The Editorial Board Updated January 1, 2018 12:06 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet gShare Email New faces are taking oaths of office, from western Nassau to Montauk. The tally includes a new county executive in Nassau, six new town supervisors and a new mayor in Glen Cove. This changing of the guard is powerfully symbolic, like the rituals that signify a new year. In some cases, it’s even historic. But it’s the aroma of real progress now possible that we find intoxicating. We say this knowing that the best of plans can face strong headwinds. Promises can be undermined and scripts subverted. But we also know that the new leaders elected in November have deep wells of energy and ideas to tap as they try to turn their visions into reality. Led by new Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and new Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen, this new generation of leaders is clear-eyed about the daunting tasks ahead and willing to reject old approaches. Both women promise to work in a spirit of cooperation, a virtue vital where the legislature, town board or city council is controlled by a different party, also true in places like Riverhead and Glen Cove. Voters want government that works. The new executives face some common challenges. Each must restore faith in government. They must work within the confines of a new federal tax bill that makes it harder to raise taxes Long Islanders no longer can deduct, and which might very well stymie their ability to borrow for infrastructure. Some challenges are unique. Curran, Nassau’s first female county executive, must solve its budget and assessment woes and exorcise the stench of contract corruption. Gillen, Hempstead’s first Democratic supervisor in a century, has to tackle the town’s culture of nepotism and try to undo actions engineered by predecessor Anthony Santino to protect party faithful and lard the payroll. Together, Curran and Gillen can be the team that finally unlocks the potential of a revitalized Nassau Hub. In Huntington, new Supervisor Chad Lupinacci must engineer a settlement in a Long Island Power Authority overassessment case that could cost the town tens of millions of dollars if he continues a risky court fight. With Smithtown freed from Patrick Vecchio’s yoke, new Supervisor Edward Wehrheim can pilot the town through a sea change of downtown revitalizations centered on sewers and apartments near train stations. This is nothing new, but it’s novel for Smithtown. Laura Jens-Smith, Riverhead’s first female supervisor presiding over the town’s first majority-female board, now bears responsibility for the development of 2,900-acre Enterprise Park at Calverton and the recovery of downtown Riverhead. The challenge for East Hampton’s Peter Van Scoyoc is to continue good work by predecessor Larry Cantwell on workforce housing, water quality improvements and shoreline protection. Political newcomer Gary Gerth is poised to attack Shelter Island’s lack of year-round rental housing. New Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke inherits the city’s perennial challenge of balancing resident concerns with moving forward on development projects like Garvies Point. It’s tough work in an ever-difficult environment for innovation. We wish them well. By The Editorial Board Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic Opinion: Laura Curran’s challenge in NassauThe path forward for Nassau County Executive-elect Laura Curran is clear-cut but steep as she ... Everything the editorial board wrote about in 2017This year, the editorial board wrote more than 400 editorials - taking positions on the news, politics and policies that impact Long Islanders. Editorials are the consensus position of the editorial board. They are written and reported independently of the newsroom; news editors, reporters and photographers are not involved in the creation of this material. With each argument we publish, we strive to be a reasoned and pragmatic advocate for what is best for Long Island. We hope readers will use this index of the editorials written in 2017 as a way to easily research our priors positions, suggest additional topics to us that are not being recognized and to hold us accountable for our views. Sign up for The PointThe Point is Newsday Editorial Board's new daily newsletter taking you behind closed doors into the New York political scene. A must-read for those who want exclusive insights into local, city and state politics and policy. Don't miss The Point. Sign up now. Cartoons of the day Comments Comments section is temporarily on hold. Here’s why.