Gillibrand backs Suozzi for Nassau exec

Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand asks a question of a witness on Capitol Hill in Washington. (June 4, 2013) (Credit: AP)

Thomas Suozzi, a Democratic candidate for Nassau County executive, was endorsed Saturday by a top New York Democrat, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who praised him for stabilizing the county's finances in his previous tenure.

"Tom Suozzi was a steady county executive who turned the county's finances around," Gillibrand said.

Suozzi, who led the county from 2002 to 2009, cut debt, passed eight balanced budgets and captured 13 bond upgrades from credit agencies, Gillibrand said.

Republican Edward Mangano, who defeated Suozzi in an upset, is seeking a second term in November. Gillibrand said the county's finances have deteriorated since Suozzi was ousted.

Much of the Democratic establishment has already endorsed Suozzi, including U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, Reps. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) and Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin criticized congressional Democrats and Suozzi, saying: "With the excessive tax and spend policies in Washington, it's no surprise that a candidate who hiked Nassau County property taxes by 23 percent would earn their endorsement."

Suozzi's rival Democratic candidate Adam Haber, a retired businessman, said Nassau taxpayers have told him they "are ready for a change." Haber added, "In eight weeks Democratic voters will be given an opportunity to either create a fresh start for Nassau or continue with the status quo of county government mismanagement."

Suozzi welcomed Gillibrand's backing, saying: "I am proud to receive her support and humbled by her endorsement of my experience and my vision for Nassau County."

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