Nassau Legis. Laura Curran Monday won the backing of the county Democratic leadership as their nominee for county executive, as she pledged to clamp down on corruption and cronyism in county government.
In a speech to 300 Democratic activists in Uniondale, Curran (D-Baldwin) took aim at Republican County Executive Edward Mangano and at County Comptroller George Maragos, a likely opponent in a Democratic primary.
“I am sick and tired of watching politicians use public resources to enrich themselves, their friends and their families,” said Curran, a second-term legislator.
Mangano has yet to say whether he will seek a third term. In October, federal prosecutors charged him with receiving “bribes and kickbacks” from a businessman who also gave Mangano’s wife a lucrative no-show job. Mangano has pleaded not guilty.
“County Executive Mangano is focused on creating jobs, holding the line on property taxes and maintaining Nassau’s record low crime rate,” said Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin. “The Democrat candidates have little to no accomplishments.”
Curran, a former Baldwin school board trustee who has represented the 5th Legislative District since 2014, called Maragos, a Republican-turned-Democrat, “a yes-man for corruption” and mocked his past claims of county surpluses.
Maragos defended his record, citing recent audits of county contracts and oversight of the county jail in East Meadow.
“She is misleading the public,” Maragos said. “It’s characteristic of someone who is inexperienced and unqualified.”
Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove), who intends to run in a Democratic primary for county executive, said he would “make my case to the voters that I am the best candidate to serve the public interest during these troubled times.”
Democratic leaders also announced they will back Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman, who had been mulling a run for executive, for county comptroller.
Schnirman said if elected he will “open up the county’s books so we can all see the real facts in the open.”
No Democratic members of the county legislature or the State Senate or Assembly attended Monday’s news conference.
Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said he was not prepared to make an endorsement in the race.
Since October, legislative Democrats have blocked Curran from attending their caucus meetings after she voted with the Republican majority to approve $50 million in capital borrowing that Democrats had held up in a political stalemate.
However, Nassau Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs said Monday that “virtually every elected official” would support the ticket.
Nassau GOP Chairman Joseph Mondello declined to comment Monday.
A party source said a decision on a Republican county executive nominee was “not imminent” and officials were weighing several potential candidates. They include former state Sen. Jack Martins, County Clerk Maureen O’Connell, Hempstead Town Councilman Bruce Blakeman and Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Donald Clavin.
- Age: 49
- Residence: Baldwin
- Education: Bachelor’s, liberal arts, Sarah Lawrence College, 1989
- Professional: Curran began her career as a journalist, working for the New York Daily News from 1993 to 1998, the New York Post from 1999 to 2001 and again at the Daily News from 2004 to 2005. She has also served as an adjunct professor at SUNY Purchase and taught local yoga classes.
- Political: Worked part time in the communications office of then-Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, 2006-2007; served on the Baldwin School Board, 2011-2014; elected to the Nassau County Legislature, representing the 5th District, in 2013, and re-elected in 2015
- Family: Married, three daughters, ages 9, 11, 16
— Compiled by Paul LaRocco