Glen Cove Mayor Thomas Suozzi, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to run
for Nassau County executive, spoke to local TV and radio personality Bonnie D.
Q. Tom, this will be an up-close and personal interview. Ready?
Q. What's the worst piece of career advice you ever received?
A. I don't really know. Can I come back to that one?
Q. If you could change careers, what would you choose and why?
A. I would probably become a real- estate developer. Then I could continue
to build things and I could do planned communities - the smartest as far as
sustainable growth goes. I'd probably make a lot of money, and then I could do
my public service stuff through philanthropy and make donations to things. I
can't stand the way things are developed now - very irresponsibly - and I think
developers have a great opportunity to actually make beautiful things that
make people's lives better.
Q. If you were asked to write a self-help book - one of those 12-steppers -
what would be the subject?
A. These are crazy questions, Bonnie. This is very hard for me, this kind
Q. What do you think you know exceptionally well that you would like to
share with people?
A. I could write a self-help book for politicians. The first thing you have
to do is convince yourself that you're the best candidate for the race,
because you won't be able to sustain the lifestyle unless you're really
convinced that what you're doing is worthwhile and that you'll be the best
person for the job. The second thing you have to do is make sure that you
maintain a balance between your public life and your private life. And the
third thing you have to do is maintain your integrity throughout the entire
Q. What would you call this book?
A. "Making It Through Public Life."
Q. When you go to a carnival, would you rather go on the Ferris wheel or
A. The Ferris wheel - I love when you're up on top of the trees and you can
see where you are in relation to everything else.
Q. Have you ever sung Karaoke?
A. "Somewhere beyond the sea,
Somewhere waiting for me."
Yes, I sang Karaoke before they had Karaoke. "Beyond the Sea" is one of my
favorite songs ever. Bobby Darin's song.
Q. If you were a car, what kind of car would you be?
A. I'm not really a car guy, but I would probably be like a vintage Ford
Fairlane station wagon - with wooden panels on the side, in yellow. It's kind
of cool looking, but it's really pretty straight, pretty classic, very utility
Q. What best describes the pace of your life, pre-campaign?
A. High speed. I'm a pretty much go-go guy, personally. Before the
campaign, it was high speed. Now it's full speed.
Q. What type of family do you come from?
A. A big family - five children and a mom and dad. Very big extended family
- always big holidays. Very Italian on one side. Very Irish on the other side.
My father was born in Italy. He came to the United States as a young boy. My
mother's mother was born in England, and my mother's grandfather was born in
Ireland. Everybody in the family is involved in some sort of public service.
Q. What were the last three books you've read?
A. One of those spy novels, and "The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People"
by Stephen Covey, and "Nassau: Suburbia, U.S.A." by Edward Smits.
Q. If you could have any power, what one power would you want to have?
A. I guess I would want to be able to fly. I remember as a kid I was always
thinking about that - about how my book bag would turn into a plane so I could
get home right away. It's kind of like the Ferris wheel thing. You get to see
what everything's like up on top.
Q. How often are you on the Internet?
A. Twice a day. Check e-mail. Visit Newsday.com and news12.com.
Q. Tell me about your all-time favorite TV show.
A. I really like TV. When I was working out this morning, "The Odd Couple"
was on and I was thinking how much I love "The Odd Couple." Now I like "NYPD
I've also always liked "The Waltons." I used to watch "The Waltons" instead of
"Kung Fu," which was very unusual for the kids my age.
Q. Yankees or Mets?
A. Mets - I guess because I was born in '62, so in '69 it was a big thing.
Also, they're more Long Island.
Q. If Long Island were having an earthquake and you had to leave your
house, but you only had a box two feet by two feet by two feet and you could
put your most cherished possessions in it, what would you take with you?
A. I have one little thing - a picture of my kids. It has this thing where
you press the button and it does a recording of them talking to me: "Merry
Christmas, Poppa. I love you." I'd take that. I don't really have many
possessions, but I'd also take a pitcher in our kitchen. My wife - whenever I
say something that she thinks is absurd - she writes it down on a piece of
paper and sticks it in the pitcher. Every once in a while, we read it.Other
than that, maybe I'd also bring my journal.
Q. If you could go back in history and witness one event or meet one
person, what would that event be or who would that person be, or both?
A. I would probably want to hang out with Thomas Jefferson.
Q. And three questions you would ask him?
A. How did you come up with all those different ideas? How much influence
does religion really have on your life? Did you ever feel like giving up during
Q. Why would you want to know that?
A. Because it was a very tough life the way this guy lived. Everybody
wanted to kill him. I'd want to know if it seemed as dramatic as it appears now.
Q. If you're planning a two- week international vacation, where would you
start out and where would you end up?
A. Southern Italy - all different places in Italy. There's a lot of other
places I want to go now - Israel, India, China, Ireland. These are places where
I've met people during the course of my life and they described them in such
Q. Why China?
A. It's mysterious. I want to go somewhere that's some big vast place like
you'd see in some sort of painting - just like a huge open field with giant
mountains around and waterfalls.
Q. What's the best advice your mother ever gave you?
A. Always look at your girlfriend's mother to find out what she's going to
be like later on.
A. I have a wonderful mother-in-law.
Q. What's your favorite reality TV show?
A. "Survivor." I watched it for a while the first season.
Q. What did you find interesting?
A. How I would like to do something like that. I'm a very rough-it type of
guy. If I had the opportunity, I would go camping and I would go hiking out
somewhere where nobody else was and try and live off the land.
Q. How long do you think you'd last?
Q. What movie had the most influence on you as a kid growing up?
A. What movie had the most influence on me growing up as a kid? I don't
know. I have a terrible memory. I should have my wife here doing this stuff
Q. What was the last movie you saw?
[Suozzi phones his office and asks for his wife, Helene. He's put on hold.]
A. I better get her to help me with these questions.
Q. You only have one lifeline, and you're using it right now.
[Suozzi speaks on the phone.]
A. Honey, what is the last movie we went to go see? ... Oh, it was that
terrible - it stunk. We took the children: "Cats and Dogs."... They asked me if
I had any favorite possessions I would want to keep if the house was burning
or if there was an earthquake. I said I'd want to keep the thing you gave me
with the kids with the "I-love-you-Merry-Christmas" thing. And I said I'd keep
the pitcher with all the notes you put in it ... The pitcher - the water
pitcher with all the notes in it ... Where you write down the notes. Honey, you
don't know what I'm talking about? The thing with the water pitcher ... Not a
picture - a pitcher. A water pitcher ... What else would I keep? Anything else
I would keep? ... My Palm Pilot? Yeah, right. OK, goodbye. See you later.
[Suozzi hangs up the phone.]
I'd also take my Palm Pilot with all my phone numbers in it.
Q. What three things make you laugh the most?
A. My wife Helene, when she makes goofy faces and stuff like that - when
she's really very silly. Kramer from "Seinfeld" makes me laugh a great deal.
"Whose Line Is It Anyway?" - the tall guy makes me laugh.
Q. If you could ask a psychic any three questions about the future, what
would you want to know?
A. Am I going to win this race for county executive? Oh, I don't know. I
very much believe things happen the way they are supposed to happen.
Q. Not curious about anything?
A. Not really. I want to know if the polar ice cap is really going to melt
or not. I want to know if this is really a bunch of hooey or are things really
falling apart. And I want to know if there ever will be peace in these places
that everybody keeps on fighting for, like in the Middle East and the Balkans
and Ireland and Africa.
Q. We're done.
A. Let me hear the questions quick again.
Q. All of them?
A. Very quickly in case I left anything out the first time around.
Q. What was the best piece of career advice you ever received?
A. Oh, the best piece of career advice I ever got was from [former Oyster
Bay supervisor] Lew Yevoli. He said that I shouldn't nominate Tom DiNapoli as
chairman of the Nassau County Democrats because he ended up running against me.
I nominated Tom DiNapoli as chairman of the Democratic Party. But I figured,
hey, Tom will help to bring the party together. Lew said, "Tom DiNapoli is
going to run against you for county executive." I said, "No, he's not." So I
went to DiNapoli. I said, "Tom, I'm running for county executive. You don't
have any interest in that job, do you?" He said, "I wouldn't take that job on a
bet." So I nominated him as chairman. I should have listened to that advice.