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Hail and Farewell

An era has come to an end in northeast Queens. State Sen. Frank Padavan, the man who has represented the 11th Senate District for 38 years, was defeated by former City Councilman Tony Avella in a major upset.

The Republican Padavan was repeatedly re-elected in a district where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 3-1. The district includes much of northeast Queens and parts of Queens Village. That was a remarkable accomplishment made possible by Padavan’s ability to rise above the limits of partisan politics. Although he was a party leader, he did not hesitate to vote against his party when it was a matter of principle or when the Republicans took a stand that was not in the best interest of his district.

Padavan’s office wrote the book when it came to providing constituent services. His door was always open and there was seldom an event in northeast Queens when Padavan or at least a representative of his was not on hand.

Although there were times when we disagreed strongly with the senator, there was never a time when we doubted his integrity or commitment to the people he represented. We thank Padavan and congratulate him for nearly four decades of service to the people of New York.

At the same time, we congratulate Avella for his remarkable accomplishment on Election Day. Like Padavan, Avella is well-known in northeast Queens. As a councilman and ex-mayoral aide, he placed an emphasis on serving the people of Queens. Like Padavan, Avella has shown an independent spirit and a willingness to take on his own party when he found it necessary.

We wish him success in Albany. At the writing of this editorial, it remains unclear whether the Democrats or Republicans will control the Senate. However it turns out, we hope Avella will help break the legislative logjam in Albany.

Among the Senate’s most important challenges will be working with the state Assembly and Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo to produce a state budget on time. It will take brinksmanship and a willingness to cooperate — not compromise — to save the state from fiscal collapse.

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