Haber, Suozzi court Nassau voters in exec race's final days

Left: Nassau County Executive candidate Tom Suozzi greets Left: Nassau County Executive candidate Tom Suozzi greets voters and their pets outside the Eisenhower Dog Park on Saturday. Right: Adam Haber, right, candidate for Nassau County Executive, visits Somerset Gardens Assisted Living Center in Plainview in one of his final campaign stops before next week's primaries. (Sept.7, 2013) Photo Credit: Barry Sloan / Danielle Finkelstein

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Thomas Suozzi and Adam Haber crisscrossed Nassau over the weekend, making their final pitch to voters as the Democratic candidates for county executive.

Suozzi, a former two-term county executive, spent Saturday visiting campaign offices, greeting pet owners at the Eisenhower Park dog run and wooing minority supporters at a Westbury festival.

Haber, a retired Wall Street trader and Roslyn school board member, devoted much of the weekend to going door to door in neighborhoods from Hempstead to East Hills.

Nassau voters head to the polls in two days. The winner of Tuesday's primary will challenge GOP County Executive Edward Mangano in November.

Dressed casually in a pink shirt and khakis, Suozzi, 51, began the day at his Hempstead campaign office, where 15 volunteers manned the phones.

Suozzi made several of the calls, telling one voter: "I want to turn Nassau County around, but I need your help."

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At his headquarters in East Meadow, nearly two dozen volunteers bombarded area residents with calls and messages. The get-out-the-vote operation grew throughout the day, with roughly 100 volunteers making an estimated 10,000 calls, campaign officials said.

At Eisenhower Park, Suozzi stressed his credentials as an animal advocate as he hugged a beagle and was slobbered on by a golden retriever.

Suozzi took a spiritual tone as he addressed congregants from local churches at Martin Bunky Reid Park in Westbury. "Praise the Lord!" he thundered as he crooned the chorus to "Amen," from the Sidney Poitier film "Lilies of the Field."

Haber, 48, spent much of Friday greeting voters one on one. "Hi, I'm Adam Haber, I just wanted to make sure you knew about the primary on Tuesday," he said as he knocked on doors in East Hills with his wife, Renee.

Mara Rachlin, 61, was excited to see Haber at her door, telling him she planned on voting for him because of his "innovative new ideas," including a proposed tourism-minded summer sports festival. "I think his ideas will create a new style of government, which is what Nassau County needs," Rachlin said.

Haber campaigned Saturday in Freeport and Plainview.

While Suozzi, county executive from 2002 through 2009, has racked up big-name political endorsements, Haber's campaign has relied on building a network of smaller endorsements from civic groups.

Outside the Islamic Center of Long Island in Westbury on Friday, Haber, donning a light-gray suit, shook hands with prospective voters and handed out fliers.

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CAMPAIGN PROPOSALS

ADAM HABER

Reform property tax assessment system by assessing residential property every three years to account for market changes.

Restore Red Light Camera Fund as a dedicated funding source for youth social services; give one-third of his $174,000 county executive's salary to youth and senior social service programs.

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Appoint a "disaster czar" to coordinate relief efforts in advance of major natural disasters. Contractors for disaster response would be prescreened and selected competitively.

THOMAS SUOZZI

Reform Nassau's assessment system by reversing County Executive Edward Mangano's freeze on tax rolls at their 2010 values and devote more resources to commercial assessments.

Encourage commercial and residential development near Long Island Rail Road stations through $10 million in county, state and federal grants over four years.

Develop walking trails that integrate the Nassau Coliseum with Eisenhower Park, Museum Row, Nassau Community College and Hofstra University.

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