Hundreds braved sub-freezing temperatures Monday to see Laura Curran sworn in as the first female Nassau County Executive in Long Island history during a brief ceremony outside the county legislature in Mineola.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, swore in Curran, who then laid out her plans during her first remarks as the county’s top-elected official as supporters looked on from the lawn of the Theodore Roosevelt Legislative & Executive Building.
“I am honored to stand before you today as county executive,” she said. “I am truly humbled by the responsibly you have entrusted in me. Today I take office fully aware that as county executive one of my most pressing challenges is to restore trust and respect in our government so we as a county can chart a new path forward.”
Curran replaces Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, who did not seek a third term and rebuffed calls to resign after pleading not guilty to federal corruption charges. His last day in office was Sunday. Curran beat ex-New York State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Old Westbury) in November in the race to replace Mangano.
“This is the time of the woman and we needed one and we have a great one,” Cuomo said. “This is a special day, and these are no ordinary times and Laura Curran is no ordinary person.”
The governor alluded to Curran’s uncommon background for a lawmaker. She was a journalist before becoming a Baldwin school board member and serving two terms in the county legislature.
“I am excited that Laura is not a typical politician because there are no typical solutions to what we’re going through,” he said. “Laura has the strength, the courage, the leadership, that we need to make a difference and go forward. We are honored and blessed to have her.”
Curran said she’ll waste no time in getting to work. Her negotiating skills will be put to the test with the Republican-majority county legislature.
“Of course we’ll have our disagreements but, I truly believe that there is no conflict too great for us to resolve,” she said. “No problem to which we cannot find a solution. Over the next few weeks, I will begin to implement a series of policies to fulfill my pledges to Nassau residents.
“As promised, I will ban any appointee in my administration of holding a leadership position in a political party,” she continued. “I will bar my executive staff from donating to or fundraising for my campaigns. I truly believe that these simple fixes are a good start toward restoring trust in Nassau government.”
She added that she’ll work to realize a new vision for Nassau that includes smart development, the return of the Islanders, creating a business-friendly environment and the jobs that come with it.
“To the residents of Nassau County, I have heard your call and now is the time for action,” she said.