Former U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato, who rose from the Hempstead Town Council to become a U.S. senator from New York and one of the most powerful political figures in the country, has been hospitalized since Friday after a diagnosis of Covid-19, his spokesman said Monday.
D’Amato, 83, a Republican from Lido Beach who was originally from Island Park, is at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn. A woman who answered the phone in his room said the senator did not wish to speak.
“I can confirm the senator was hospitalized for Covid this past Friday and that he is on the road to recovery,” his spokesman, Gary Lewi, said.
D’Amato has a political consulting firm in Manhattan, Park Strategies.
Harvey Weisenberg, who served 25 years in the New York State Assembly, said he has been a “life-long friend” of D'Amato.
“I wish him well and I hope God will reward him with a longer life for all of the good work he has done," Weisenberg said.
Weisenberg, a Long Beach Democrat, noted that despite that D’Amato being a life-long Republican, the two worked well together. “I always supported him,” Weisenberg said. “We had a common interest in helping people.”
D’Amato, associates said, was not feeling well last week and immediately stayed home. When he did not recover as quickly as he hoped, he checked into the hospital.
D’Amato served in the Senate from 1981 to 1999. He was well-known on Long Island and in Washington, D.C., for paying close attention to the needs of his constituents, earning him the nickname “Senator Pothole.” But he used to joke about the name. When he was elected to the U.S. Senate, he told reporters, “I’m still the Fonze.”