Former Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi officially announced his candidacy to run for Congress Sunday, vowing to show he knows how to “get things done.”
Suozzi, 53, said he intends to draw on the experience gleaned from his eight-year tenure as county executive and eight years as Glen Cove mayor, to continue retiring Rep. Steve Israel’s fight for middle class families, veterans and seniors.
“Whoever the candidate ends up being, we’re going to stick with that message and fight to do those things,” Suozzi said at a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in Halesite held by the Huntington Democratic committee. “We’ve got to be able to demonstrate that we’re the ones who are going to be able to reform government, to make it work, to get things done for people,” he said.
He spent the day crisscrossing New York’s 3rd Congressional district, which runs along the North Shore from Eastern Queens to Western Suffolk County.
Among those running in the June 26 primary for Israel’s seat are former North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, North Hempstead Town Board member Anna Kaplan, lobbyist Brad Gerstman and Suffolk County Legis. Steve Stern.
In an interview, Suozzi said that the Democratic candidates embrace similar issues—taking care of veterans, making college affordable, renewable energy, protecting the Long Island Sound, and bringing money to the district.
“We give a lot more money to the federal government in income taxes that we get back in federal infrastructure and federal investment, so I’m going to fight to get our fair share,” Suozzi said.
Suozzi and Stern — who is also vying for the nomination — worked the room Sunday. In the Halesite crowd, Stern had an advantage.
“I’m for my local boy,” Donna Rossetti, 53, who works for the Huntington comptroller, said. “I’m very supportive of Steve.” Rossetti said she didn’t know much about Suozzi other than his serving as Nassau County executive.
“It’s going to be a tussle between those two,” John Bivona, 76, a retired judge said of Stern and Suozzi.
Stern said he represents a “fresh new face” with a track record of working across the political aisle.
“Protecting the air that we breathe and protecting our drinking water,” are among the most important issues for Long Island, he said.
Later in the day, Suozzi received an endorsement from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, a Democrat, at a diner in Bayside, Queens. She said Suozzi has the experience needed to bring federal dollars back to the district to address local issues like transportation and air traffic noise.
“He has shown himself to be a true fighter, not only for reform, but for legislation and getting things done,” Katz said.