Long Island’s Senate delegation to have diverse new look

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HAUPPAUGE -

Come next year, Long Island's state Senate delegation will have a whole new look.

In January, Monica Martinez will become the first female Hispanic state senator in Long Island history. Fellow Democrat Ana Kaplan, of Great Neck, will become the first state legislator ever born in Iran.

And Kevin Thomas, of Levittown, will become New York's first Indian-American state senator.

Democrats were elected in six of Long Island's nine state Senate districts on election night in part because of a big turnout of voters in minority communities across Nassau and Suffolk.

“For the first time since as long as I've been doing this, we saw presidential-like turnouts in minority communities in this past election,” says Rich Schaffer, the Suffolk Democratic Party chairman.

Others say the success of the candidates was because of the increasing diversity of Long Island’s population.

“In some ways, it's a picture of the new diversity on Long Island. We're growing because of an influx of immigrants and other minorities,” says political analyst Larry Levy.

After years of Republican control, Democrats in the state Senate will have a 40-23 majority starting next year.

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