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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

In Nassau County, the best is yet to be

On Jan. 2, Ed Mangano took the oath of office and was sworn in for his second term as county executive. I was pleased to be asked to speak at the ceremony, alongside Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Congressman Peter King and others, recognizing Mangano and celebrating his inauguration.

Together, Republicans and Democrats were more than pleased to come together for Mangano and his family, and we all noted that he is a good and decent person who has done a commendable job as Nassau County’s leader.

Most notably, all of the dignitaries who spoke mentioned Mangano’s steadfast leadership during Hurricane Sandy. He was a tireless advocate for Nassau County who, working hand in hand with Governor Cuomo, coordinated with federal and state officials, advocating for more aid, faster help, expanded support and an expedited recovery.

In my speech, I noted that Mangano’s first victory, in 2009, was a minor miracle, but he pulled it out, winning by 386 votes. His first four years weren’t easy, and he beat back the critics day-in and day-out. He faced an almost insurmountable deficit, and was forced to sit back as the county’s finances were taken over by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority.

Yet he helped create and retain approximately 20,000 jobs across the county. Now, four years later, his freezing of property taxes combined with the creation of local jobs has resulted in lower unemployment — in fact, at 5.1 percent, Nassau County has the lowest unemployment in the state.

Mangano has created public-private partnerships that have benefited our residents and enhanced our quality of life, particularly the privatization of the county’s bus system, an initiative that has saved taxpayers over $30 million a year.

Nassau County residents also have a lot to look forward to, especially the successful public-private partnership that will transform the aging Nassau Coliseum into a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment complex at no cost to taxpayers. This project alone will trigger tens of millions of dollars in additional investment in the Hub and throughout the county.

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