In Congressional race, Democrat Suozzi wants to fight status quo

In Congressional race, Democrat Suozzi wants to fight status quo

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.