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Curran Becomes First Woman Elected As Nassau County Executive

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The numbers came in late, but in the end voters made history by electing the first woman to serve as Nassau County Executive.

Laura Curran won with 51 percent of the vote to Jack Martins' 48.

EXTRA: New York Election Results

Curran delivered her victory speech in New Hyde Park Tuesday night. The 49-year-old married mother of three from Baldwin is a former newspaper reporter and Nassau County legislator.

"I am truly humbled and honored for the great responsibility the people of Nassau County have trusted me with. We made history tonight thanks to the tireless effort of so many," she said.

Throughout the campaign, both candidates promised to clean up Nassau County government.

"We deserve a government that lives up to the people who live here that is open, that is transparent and is not corrupt," Curran said.

It's an issue important to voters, who have seen a number of politicians indicted recently, CBS2's Magdalena Doris reported.

"For me I think the issues were really the corruption and that's why I voted for Curran," said Mineola resident Joel Maxwell.

"I think Jack's campaign ran on reform, as did Curran's, but the real issue around here is just taxes," said lawyer John Dalli. 

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, Martins -- also a corruption fighter -- conceded defeat on Wednesday.

Martins, the former Mineola Village mayor and state senator, did not make a concession speech Tuesday night. His camp said, "He wanted to take a close look at the numbers and we are in the process of doing that."

However the leader fo the once unbeatable Nassau Republican machine conceded that the party had been dealt a blow.

"Sometimes ladies and gentlemen there are certain circumstances and issues that are very very hard to get over," Nassau County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Mondello said.

Ever present in voters' minds was Ed Mangano who leaves office amid corruption charges, and Dean Skelos another fallen Nassau GOP favorite son.

Curran promises a total overhaul of county ethics, a fix to the property assessment system with more qualified assessors, and outreach to Republican county lawmakers still in control.

She plans to work on her transitional team this week.

"I will fulfill my pledge to staff our government with the best and brightest people who want to serve -- hired based on what they know, not who they know," she said. 

She also wants to sit down with Republican lawmakers, who have majority control over the county. The two sides have not seen eye to eye at all in recent years.

"The issues facing our county are not Democratic or Republican issues. They're Nassau issues," she said. "It's going to take all of us working together in a strong, bipartisan effort to deliver real results for the people we all represent."

"We look forward to Legislator Curran's input as we await NIFA's recommendations in the coming days. We recognize the unique position she is in, and have every intention of working with her on this budget and future budgets she will submit," Nassau County Legislature, Republican Majority spokesman, Matthew Fernando said.

Hofstra University's Larry Levy said to expect the previously impermeable Republican block to reach back if they want to keep their jobs.

"It will be difficult for Curran to get things done, but I think the Republicans on the legislature saw the so-called handwriting on the wall and saw that people obviously voted for change," Levy said.

Meanwhile, two other Lauras made history on Long Island, WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reported.

In the Town of Hempstead, Laura Gillen became the first Democrat to win the supervisor's seat in 100 years.

"I want to change the culture of cronyism and nepotism in Town Hall. It's legendary," Gillen said. "I mean everybody knows that's what's always happened in Town Hall."

In Riverhead, Laura Jens Smith became the first female supervisor in the town. She said she wants to bring more business into the area.

"We're one of the few towns on Long Island whose downtown is still languishing," Smith said. "I think we need to work the business owners and small businesses in the area, and developers, to have a more progressive plan."

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