At press time, it was unclear how Fuschillo’s resignation might affect the balance of power in the state Senate, where Republicans hold a tenuous majority over Democrats that is made possible through a power-sharing agreement among the two parties. Dean Skelos, a Republican from Rockville Centre and the Senate’s coalition leader, could not be reached for comment. According to a knowledgeable source, Governor Cuomo can call a special election for Fuschillo’s successor, or he can leave the position vacant until the November election.
“It’s a sad day for Merrick,” said Stacy McHale Grossman in reaction to Fuschillo’s resignation. “He will be missed.” As a community activist, McHale Grossman worked closely with Fuschillo in 2001 in working to shut down the Village of Freeport’s Power Plant No. 2, a potentially hazardous plant that had for years spewed diesel exhaust into Merrick. The plant had no pollution controls. A clean-burning natural-gas plant now stands in its place.
Alison Giangregorio of Merrick, whose husband, Michael, recently worked with Fuschillo to reform state insurance laws to ensure that children with autism have their treatments covered, agreed that Fuschillo will be missed, adding, “I wish him the best in his new endeavor in the private sector.”
Sam Kille, the former Red Cross’ communications director for the greater New York area, said, “Years ahead of Superstorm Sandy, Senator Fuschillo worked very hard to prepare the community by hosting free preparedness events for his constituents. He also was among the senators who provided funding to help purchase and stage shelter supplies across Long Island back in 2007. He believed the supplies would be needed -- and I think we all know how right he was. Long Island has lost a great voice in Albany.”
Nassau County Legislator David Denenberg, a Democrat from Merrick, said, “I’ve always enjoyed working with Chuck as a colleague in government. We partnered on a lot of projects that required state and county funding … We worked together on legislation that passed at the county level, and then he made it pass at the state level.”