Three years after Tom Suozzi narrowly lost Nassau’s top-elected position, the former county executive is aiming to get his old job back.
Suozzi, a Democrat, made the announcement Wednesday on his campaign’s official website in a letter addressed to Nassau County residents, declaring his intention to challenge Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano to “restore fiscal stability to our county government and to stop the irresponsible borrowing and skyrocketing debt that shifts the responsibility to our children and grandchildren.”
The former four-term Glen Cove mayor and two-term county executive’s campaign intentions have been one of the worst-kept secrets in Nassau political circles for months. Suozzi has made no secret of his love of politics or intentions for higher office, stating during a debate against former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer during his failed bid in the 2006 Democratic gubernatorial primary that he’d like to be president one day.
Mangano, a veteran county legislator from Bethpage, defeated Suozzi in December 2009 by less than 400 votes following a razor-thin recount that ended in New York State Supreme Court. The following month, Suozzi was hired by one of his largest campaign contributors, Bethpage-based Cablevision Systems Corp., as a consultant to its Local Media Group, which includes holdings Newsday, am New York and News 12. In April 2010 he was hired as a senior advisor to Manhattan-based global advisory investment bank Lazard Ltd. Most recently, Suozzi was of counsel to Harris Beach, a law firm with 13 locations throughout New York State, including Albany and Uniondale.
“Nassau County was once the ideal suburb and we can be again,” Suozzi declares in the letter, dubbing himself “a problem solver” who loved his job as county executive.
During his time away from public office, Suozzi writes, he’s seen “the county mismanaged from one man-made crisis after another” and notes its financial takeover by state watchdog Nassau Interim Finance Authority.
He also reflects on the continued departure of recent college grads who can’t afford a future in Nassau because “this suburb of opportunity for my parents, my grandparents, and my generation now has little to offer them.”
“I’m running to demonstrate that we’re all in this together and to stop shifting the burden to our school property taxpayers,” Suozzi continues. “I’m running to stop the deficit spending and the phony budgets.”
A Mangano spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Nassau County Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs will be holding a press conference to discuss Suozzi’s candidacy Wednesday afternoon. Although there is already one announced Democratic candidate for the position, Rosyln School Board member/businessman Adam Haber, and another currently exploring a possible run, North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman, political insiders tell the Press Suozzi is the party favorite.
“Jay [Jacobs] is in Tom’s corner, that is well-known in party circles,” says a Democratic Party source.
“I believe that everything I have done in my life has prepared me for this moment,” continues Suozzi’s letter. “My training as a certified public accountant and attorney, my years as a mayor and county executive, and my recent private-sector experiences have prepared me for this job.”