Nassau County Executive candidate Thomas Suozzi told a crowd of a more than 150 Hempstead and Freeport residents last night that if re-elected to his former post, he would stabilize the county's finances and improve the area's quality of life.
"This election needs to be about the vision for the future of Nassau County," Suozzi said at a rally at Kennedy Memorial Park in Hempstead. "We can be the model suburban community in the nation."
Elsewhere last night, Suozzi's challenger for the Democratic nomination, Roslyn school board member Adam Haber, offered a competing vision for Nassau's future to members of the Rockville Centre Democratic Club, touting his business acumen.
Haber spoke before a crowd of about 35 at the Sandel Senior Center in Rockville Centre. He bashed County Executive Edward Mangano for losing the Islanders and slammed Mangano's response to superstorm Sandy as "abysmal."
Suozzi's event brought out a who's who of Nassau politics and served as a pep rally for him in anticipation of the November election. Residents were encouraged to sign up to volunteer on the campaign. Suozzi was endorsed at the meeting by Freeport Mayor-elect Robert Kennedy and Hempstead Village Mayor Wayne Hall.
Residents, civic leaders and lawmakers cheered their candidates and booed any mention of Republican Mangano, who narrowly defeated Suozzi in 2009 and is running again this fall.
Suozzi said that when he left office, Nassau had a balanced, stable budget. Under Mangano, the county's finances were taken over by a state control board.
Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said: "No public forum can make up for Tom Suozzi's record of broken promises, higher tax bills and loss of jobs. Over eight years, Tom's only solutions have been to raise property taxes, increase spending and build up debt -- clearly the wrong direction for Nassau taxpayers."
Suozzi acknowledged mistakes in his political career, including a failure to work hard enough during the 2009 campaign and a poor showing in the 2006 gubernatorial race against Eliot Spitzer, who won the race but left office after a sex scandal.
"It didn't work out well for me," Suozzi said. "But it didn't work out too well for him, either."
With Sid Cassese