Nassau County Legislator Carrie Solages, (D-Elmont), is the first elected official to call on Democratic county executive primary candidate Adam Haber to take down his latest TV political ad, criticized by some Italian-Americans as a slur.
Solages, during his 2011 campaign, was the victim of a racist remarks by a supporter of his opponent. Below is his statement:
"Today I call on Adam Haber to immediately pull his latest political ad from the airwaves. The ad which negatively depicts Italian-Americans is offensive, insensitive and wrong. As someone who was previously the victim of a racist political attack I can tell you that this type of campaigning takes away from the discussion about what is best for the future of Nassau County residents."
Haber is running against former County Executive Thomas Suozzi in the Democratic primary for county executive in September.
Mimi Pierre Johnson, the Haber campaign's outreach coordinator, said she was "disappointed in the Suozzi campaign. Tom Suozzi needs to answer for his actions and explain why he gave himself and his political appointees a raise while middle class families only got higher taxes and more debt. I know racism when I see it and this is not it. Tom Suozzi should be honest with Nassau voters and stop using inflammatory rhetoric to deflect attention away from his failed record as County Executive."
Also Tuesday, Steven Markowitz, chairman of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, issued a statement on the controversy. Markowitz, an active supporter of Democratic comptroller candidate and Suozzi ally Howard Weitzman, did not mention any candidate by name.
"I strongly urge all of the candidates running for public office in Nassau County to absolutely avoid any campaign statements or advertising that could be interpreted as racist, anti-Semitic or in any way demeaning or offensive to any particular ethnic or religious group," Markowitz said. "We live in a rapidly changing, ever more diverse community and we look to our political leaders to promote tolerance, not divisiveness and stereotyping."