Nassau Legislative Chamber Named for Peter Schmitt

Peter Schmitt
Peter Schmitt

Nassau County lawmakers have renamed the place where they do the public’s business after Peter Schmitt, the longtime Republican legislative leader who died last fall.

The main chamber inside the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola will be named the Peter J. Schmitt Memorial Legislative Chamber. The measure directing the county Department of Public Works to “install conspicuous signage” passed unanimously Monday.

“Literally and figuratively, he died on the job,” said Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow), who replaced Schmitt as leader of the chamber’s 10-9 GOP majority. “This would be a very fitting tribute to peter and the work that he’s done.”

Schmitt, who served 17 years since the legislature’s founding, died of a heart attack during an Oct. 3 budget meeting in County Executive Ed Mangano’s office. Legis. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa) won the special election to replace him.

“We miss him dearly,” Venditto said before the vote. “It’s been an honor for me to succeed him here.”

Democrats in the legislative minority offered an amendment to have Schmitt share the designation with the late Legis. Barbara Johnson (D-Port Washington), another charter member of the panel who died of breast cancer in April 2000.

Gonsalves said the amendment was not submitted within the required seven days prior to the vote, but called Johnson a friend, “truly a fine legislator and a lady.”