By Connor Beach
It was a show of power from state Democratic politicians at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport Sunday for the swearing-in ceremony of recently elected State Senator Jim Gaughran.
Governor Andrew Cuomo made the trip from Albany to lead Gaughran in the oath of office in front of a full house of enthusiastic supports. Gaughran’s wife Carol and son Michael were also on hand to witness the ceremony.
Cuomo said he was “excited” to work with Gaughran, who Cuomo said would give Long Islanders “a voice and power they have not had before.”
“Nobody sweeps away Jim Gaughran,” Cuomo said. “You're going to have the strongest delegation you have ever had and you're going to see a state government that delivers more for Long Island.”
Gaughran’s defeat of veteran Republican State Senator Carl Marcellino in the 5th State Senate District in November was a significant victory for New York Democrats. Senate Democrats picked up eight seats and enter 2019 with a 39-24 majority.
As state lawmakers return to Albany this week for the start of the new legislative session, Democrats now control the governor’s office and both houses of the legislature.
In his speech during Sunday’s ceremony, Gaughran said the Democratic majority signaled the “end of years and years of the state senate not allowing votes on so many critical issues.”
Issues Gaughran said he hoped to tackle during his term included criminal justice and ethics reform, healthcare, the Long Island Rail Road, environmental issues and gun safety reform.
A who’s who of Democratic power players flanking Gaughran on stage for the ceremony also included Senator Chuck Schumer, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D- Glenn Cove) who served as master of ceremony.
Schumer said Gaughran “earned” his senate seat on a record of ethics reform while serving on the Huntington town board and Suffolk County legislature.
“Some people are just born dedicated to public service, and that’s Jim Gaughran,” Schumer said.
Bellone also highlighted Gaughran’s leadership experience at the local level.
“Jim has been a leader here in this town, this county and on Long Island for decades now,” Bellone said. “I know Jim is going to continue to make us proud representing our interests here in the fifth district.”
Despite the new Democratic majority, Gaughran said he wants to work with republicans to “bring civility back to government.”
He said he would “do more to encourage democracy, bring more civility to politics and work with my Republican colleagues to get things done.”