Thomas Suozzi is the relentless voice Long Island needs in Washington.
The second-term Democrat, 58, has carried the mantle on the crucial reversal of the SALT deduction cap. He helped negotiate an elimination of the cap for 2020 into the pandemic relief bill that passed in the House.
Environmentally, he has put fixing the Bethpage plume at the forefront. He successfully appealed this past spring to the House Appropriations Committee for more federal funds to clean the polluted former U.S. Navy site, and he repeatedly has urged the Navy and Northrop Grumman to speed cleanup as the groundwater contamination continues to spread through Bethpage and beyond. He wants the Navy and Grumman to cede responsibility to local water authorities to get the job done.
He supports the Green New Deal legislation, showing that he is able to channel the ideas of the progressives, but uses the Problem Solvers Caucus he vice-chairs to find common ground in the middle on issues like COVID-19 relief.
Beyond his centrist work, he was willing to get partisan when needed. At the height of the coronavirus outbreak in New York, he vigorously defended the state’s taxpayers during the "Blue State Bailout" tension set off by a tweet from the president accusing Democrat-led states of mismanagement. Suozzi even tangled with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over it.
Opposing Suozzi is Republican George Santos, a financial professional with asset management and business development experience at firms like Citgroup, Goldman Sachs and LinkBridge Investors. Santos, 32, who lives in Whitestone, has little familiarity with specific Nassau and Suffolk issues, especially local environmental concerns.
Santos has an unconventional plan to address the nation's broken immigration system, which he calls the Legacy Act. It would halt legal immigration with minimal exceptions and during that hiatus a system would be devised for all those here, illegally or not, that would lead to green card eligibility after 10 years. While flawed, as a challenger he gets credit for outlining a coherent vision for fixing the current system.
Santos is a first-time candidate who was appalled by "the Third World electrical grid system" exposed by storms this past summer. He pledges that as a first-term representative he will work to secure federal dollars to begin burying the power lines and trimming trees, and boldly promises that if unsuccessful he won't run again. However, Santos could not articulate how or why the federal government would support such a plan.
Suozzi channels a similar energy on his "high-tech Island" dreams, which includes further expansion of our research corridor. He will keep up the pressure for Bethpage plume remediation, a SALT cap repeal and Long Island’s other immediate needs from his post on the Ways and Means Committee.
Suozzi, the former mayor of Glen Cove and Nassau County executive, has a mature political portfolio and his years in executive management add depth and insight on how to address local as well as national challenges.
Newsday endorses Suozzi.
-- The editorial board