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3rd Congressional District

Republican candidate Dan DeBono, far right, with this family. Photo from DeBono campaign

First-time political candidate Dan DeBono said there are two different kinds of Republicans. One supports the little guy, and the other only helps the rich get richer.

There are corporate Republicans and then there’s, like me, middle-class Republicans,” he said. “Corporate Republicans will seek to apply all government power to help conglomerate corporations… enrich the big guy and hope that trickles down to the small guy. Middle-class Republican’s vision of leadership is creating an environment where the middle class can thrive.”

There are corporate Republicans and then there’s, like me, middle-class Republicans.”

— Dan DeBono

DeBono hopes to bring his vision to the U.S. House of Representatives for the 3rd District,  challenging incumbent Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) on the Republican party line for the seat this November.

His campaign focuses on middle-class issues due to his upbringing. Born in 1968, he grew up in Northport and graduated from Northport High School. DeBono then attended Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts on a Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship that allowed him to join the U.S. Navy SEALs after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. The candidate spent four years as an officer in the Navy serving overseas during the Gulf War and U.S. and NATO’s intervention in Bosnia.

After serving, DeBono went to The Booth School of Business at The University of Chicago where he obtained a master’s degree in business administration. He spent the next 20 years in the finance industry. DeBono became involved in the local politics as a committeeman for the Town of Huntington’s Republican Committee and provided financial advice to the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney (R) and Rudy Giuliani (R).

The Republican candidate said he sees a host of challenges facing Long Island stemming from regulation, taxes and infrastructure problems. It’s hit a breaking point where he says businesses and people do not want to stay here. Given the high cost of living, he sees more and more young people deciding not to stay on the island.

It’s too expensive to live here and raise a family.”

— Dan DeBono

“It’s too expensive to live here and raise a family,” DeBono said. “The balance between income and cost of living has gotten so out of whack that generally young people are not returning after college.”

He wants to put pressure on both the federal and state government to supply funds to ensure the Long Island Rail Road is overhauled. DeBono also supports plans to cut small-business regulations and reduced state income taxes to help alleviate Long Island’s high cost of living.

While he largely agrees with cutting taxes, the challenger said he would not have voted for the 2018 federal tax cuts simply because the amount of allocated for individuals in lower tax brackets was too small and the duration was too short, only going until 2025. He also said the loss of state and local tax deductions will have a negative impact.

In his campaign, DeBono points to corporate Republicans as those who think of large businesses first and top-down economics whereas he wants to strengthen Long Island’s economy by building up the middle class. DeBono is campaigning on a platform of specifically targeting corporate mergers and consolidations, which he said creates anti-competitive monopolies and oligopolies, as well as targeting regulations that hinder new businesses rising up to compete.

Industry after industry have concentrated down into three to four players. This is a huge contributor to the destruction of the middle class.” 

— Dan DeBono

“The same pattern of consolidation has occurred in nearly every industry in the United States,” DeBono said. “Industry after industry have concentrated down into three to four players. This is a huge contributor to the destruction of the middle class.”

On other national issues, DeBono said he believes in strong borders and supports efforts to build a wall, or barrier, along the U.S.-Mexico border. The Republican candidate also said he believes health care prices are crippling America’s middle class and he would prefer a market-based solution — but did not rule out a national single-payer system.

DeBono strongly believes in a free and competitive market, but he also supports unions.

“A robust free market will always form the most reasonable and durable form of job protection,” DeBono said. “We have structural issues that must be addressed first before those protections can kick in. At this point in the cycle unions are more important than they’ve ever been.”

DeBono is holding an open house at the Huntington American Legion Post 360, located at 1 Mill Dam Road, Sept. 17 at 6:30 p.m.

Jack Martins. Photo by Victoria Espinoza.
Jack Martins. Photo by Victoria Espinoza.

The congressional race between Tom Suozzi (D) and Jack Martins (R) in the 3rd district is an exciting one, with no incumbent and thus no clear front-runner.

After listening to both candidates, we were more impressed with Martins’ points of view and ideas to improve New York. While Martins is running on the Republican ticket, he was not afraid to stray from his party’s traditional ideologies, including his stance on the funding of Planned Parenthood, gun control reform and climate change. Martins described himself as a man in the middle, and we would agree. For example, while he is pro-life, Martins said he does not support defunding Planned Parenthood and believes intimate health decisions should not involve government officials. He has a proven record of bringing improvements to the area he served in the New York State Senate, and he also brought up some of the projects he was defeated on, showing that he understands the need to listen to a community when they don’t support ideas. We believe he would do the same for the 3rd Congressional District.

It’s also important to note Martins came into our office for an interview, and Suozzi was only able to speak on the phone, which is a less effective forum.

Suozzi also has a long record of public service, and he certainly understands the problems facing the district. He has some great ideas to improve New York, but when you can only chose one, we chose Martins.

Jack Martins, left, and Tom Suozzi, right, are both vying for the open congressional seat on the North Shore. Left photo by Victoria Espinoza; file photo right

By Rebecca Anzel

Both candidates running to succeed Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) in the 3rd Congressional District agree the winner needs to be an agent of change, but State Senator Jack Martins (R-Mineola) and former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) disagree about what that means.

Martins, a lawyer, spent eight years as mayor of Mineola and five years as the state senator from the 7th senate district. He said his record proves he is able to achieve meaningful change by working across party lines, making necessary decisions and leaving things more stable than he found them.

“You have to measure commitments by actions and results, and certainly my tenure speaks for itself and [Suozzi’s] tenure speaks for itself, and I think those are important distinctions,” Martins said. “Oftentimes, when it comes to my opponent, the problem is he’s more concerned with running for something else and taking that next step than he is about fixing the problems he was elected to fix.”

For Suozzi, an attorney and certified public accountant, it takes more than bipartisanship to solve issues the country has been struggling with for decades. He said during his seven years in office both as mayor of Glen Glove and Nassau County executive, he fought to “change the status quo” — even when that meant going against his party.

“I think that my experience has given me a skill set and a life experience that have trained me to actually get things done,” Suozzi said in a phone interview. “I’m the only candidate in this race that has a proven record of standing up to very powerful forces and fighting to get things done on behalf of the people I serve.”

Both candidates agree issues such as water quality and heroin use are concerns for Long Islanders.

Martins and Suozzi both said sewers would help curb the amount of harmful nitrogen leaching into Long Island’s water bodies from septic systems and cesspools. Martins prioritized Long Island’s drinking water and pushed the importance of a comprehensive study of its aquifer to be conducted and followed up with some regularity.

Suozzi focused on the Long Island Sound. He said the 3rd Congressional District is an important one in regard to the sound and to protect it, residents need to think about it differently.

“We need to try to promote the concept of the Long Island Sound as our national park, and we need to work on reducing the amount of nitrogen that goes into [the Long Island Sound] from stormwater runoff from everywhere,” he said.

Both candidates also agreed educating children early about the dangers of heroin and other drugs is important — but their plans differed. Martins said penalties need to be higher for sellers of heroin and addicts need to have a path to sobriety.

“It is a critical issue and we need to get our hands around it,” he said. “We have to increase penalties for the sale of these products while at the same time understanding we’re not going to incarcerate our way through this.”

Suozzi said the problem started with medical professionals prescribing too many opioids, and that needs to be tackled first, beyond the state registry.

The congressional hopefuls both commented that the national election should be more about issues and less about personal attacks and said they will be voting along party lines — Martins said he plans to vote for Donald Trump (R) and Suozzi for Hillary Clinton (D).

Photo by Alex Petroski Tom Suozzi speaks to voters. Photo by Alex Petroski.

Overall Suozzi earned 6,532 votes, Stern garnered 4,069 votes, Kaiman collected 4,060, Kaplan saw 2,815 and Clarke received 909

Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) came out on top after Tuesday’s Democratic primary, beating out four other candidates vying for the nomination in New York’s 3rd Congressional District.

After declaring victory, Suozzi was set to take on Republican state Sen. Jack Martins from Old Westbury in November for the seat of Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington). The former county executive and mayor of Glen Cove beat out Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills), former North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman (D-Great Neck), North Hempstead Town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan and attorney Jonathan Clarke Tuesday.

Israel announced back in January that he would not seek re-election after 15 years in Congress.

Overall Suozzi earned 6,532 votes, Stern garnered 4,069 votes, Kaiman collected 4,060, Kaplan saw 2,815 and Clarke received 909.

In Suffolk County alone, Stern took first with 2,540 votes, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections unofficial results, and Suozzi came in second with 1,044 votes. But Suozzi took the lead in Nassau County and Queens, with 3,977 votes and 1,511 respectively, according to each area’s board of elections.

Suozzi said Wednesday morning that he is excited to continue to work for his constituents after the support they showed for him last night.

“I am so grateful and appreciative to the voters… for supporting me in the Democratic primary,” he said in a statement.  “It is clear the people in the district are looking for someone who has the ability to cut through the blame-game, finger-pointing and yelling that’s coming out of Washington these days. I look forward to meeting and talking to all of the voters and have a discussion with both sides on many of the issues to come up with solid solutions.”

Suozzi served as county executive of Nassau from 2002-09 and mayor of Glen Cove from 1994-2001, but has been out of politics for about six years. He is a certified public accountant and is currently of counsel to Harris Beach law firm in Uniondale. He lives in Glen Cove with his wife Helene and their three children. In his time in office, Suozzi said he fought to root out corruption in state politics and was named environmentalist of the year by the New York League of Conservation Voters, a statewide environmental organization.

Stern said although he didn’t win, he intends to stand behind Suozzi in the general election.

Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern. File photo by Rohma Abbas
Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern. File photo by Rohma Abbas

“I ran for Congress to stand up for a woman’s right to choose, protect our precious environment and to end the [National Rifle Association’s] grip on Congress,” Stern said in a statement. “While we did not prevail at the polls, the fight for these critical issues — and to make Congress work for New York’s middle-class families again — goes on. Now, it is time for everyone to unite behind our nominee to ensure that our Congressional seat stays Democratic in November.”

Stern was backed by Israel, and is in his sixth term as a Suffolk County legislator in the 16th Legislative District. He is the chairman of the county’s Veterans Committee and has worked on many projects to help increase the quality of life for veterans on the North Shore.

Kaiman echoed Stern’s sentiment to rally behind the Democratic nominee.

“[Tom Suozzi] will be a strong and successful candidate in November and an effective representative come next year when he takes his seat as United States Congressman for the 3rd Congressional District of New York,” he said in an email.

Kaplan and Clarke did not immediately return calls for comment.

Photo by Alex Petroski Tom Suozzi speaks to voters. Photo by Alex Petroski.

Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) is one of five candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the 3rd Congressional District to win the right to face off against Republican Jack Martins (R-Mineola) in November.

The seat was previously held by U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), who announced in January he would not seek re-election after 15 years in the seat. Suozzi will square off with Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills), former North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman (D-Great Neck), North Hempstead Town Board member Anna Kaplan and attorney Jonathan Clarke in the June 28 primary.

Suozzi served as Nassau County Executive from 2002 to 2009 and mayor of Glen Cove from 1994 to 2001, but has been out of politics for about six years. He is a certified public accountant and is currently of counsel to Harris Beach law firm in Uniondale. He lives in Glen Cove with his wife Helene and their three children. In his time in office, Suozzi said he fought to root out corruption in state politics and was named environmentalist of the year by the New York League of Conservation Voters, a statewide environmental organization.

The candidate spoke to voters from Kings Park last Thursday at a town hall at American Legion Post 944. He pledged to display two important traits to voters: a willingness to take on the status quo in politics and a desire to cooperate across the partisan aisle.

“If there’s one thing I’m convinced of, it’s that everyone is sick and tired of politics,” Suozzi said. “People have just had it with government. They’re frustrated. They see too many problems in their lives that are not being addressed in the political arena.”

“If there’s one thing I’m convinced of, it’s that everyone is sick and tired of politics.”
— Tom Suozzi

He vowed to take on corporations and special interests that have a stake in government policies remaining status quo.

A main topic of conversation at the town hall was affordable health care.

Suozzi said he would be in support of a voucher program that would create a hybrid health care system, allowing taxpayers to choose the best option for them, be it Medicare/Medicaid or a private insurance. In 2004 he fought to create a cap on local Medicaid expenses.

Suozzi also said he believes an ideal candidate is a moderate one that doesn’t swing too far to either side of the issues.

“To win a democratic primary you’ve got to go way to the left,” Suozzi said. “To win a republican primary you’ve got to go way to the right. So people end up in office who are at these two extremes and they won’t do anything in the middle to actually solve the problems. All they’re doing is yelling at each other. We have to figure out how we can get people of good will who actually care about doing these jobs, who also actually do something, not just get the job, but do the job, to come together and actually solve some problems.”

Care for veterans was another issue raised by a Kings Park voter at the event.

“I believe that the number one obligation that government has … is to take care of veterans,” Suozzi said. “We have to figure out how to create a program where there’s a transition from the armed forces back into society again and it has got to be made a priority.”

Suozzi was also pressed about drug addiction on Long Island.

He said he’d like to see addiction to substances like heroin treated more as a disease than a crime, with an emphasis on prevention at younger ages, rather than simply treatment after the fact.

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