Bruce Blakeman, a former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, on Thursday became the first prominent Long Island Republican to throw his hat into the ring in this year’s election contest to succeed Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) in Congress.
Blakeman opened his campaign with a sidewalk press conference at noon in front of Ancona Pizza in his native Valley Stream. Joining him in addressing 100 or so gathered supporters were Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), who represents the congressional district to the immediate east of McCarthy’s, and Valley Stream Mayor Ed Fare (R). Also in attendance were Ed Ra, a Republican state assemblyman from Franklin Square, Andrew Parise, the Republican mayor of Cedarhurst, and Donald Clavin, the Town of Hempstead’s receiver of taxes and a Garden City Republican.
Blakeman cited a desire to increase economic opportunity for middle- and working-class Americans, as well as frustration with the records of President Obama and congressional Democrats, as the chief reasons why he is running.
The Democrats “have not paid attention to what’s important to the people,” Blakeman said. “They have not paid attention to the economy. They have not concentrated on creating jobs. They have instituted a health care plan that is a failure. It’s gonna cost trillions of dollars, and what it is going to accomplish? Higher costs for health care, people who won’t be able to choose their health care provider, won’t be able to choose what hospital they want to go to, and more tragically, they won’t be able to choose who their family doctor is.”
Blakeman, who lives in Long Beach, served in the County Legislature from 1996 to 1999. He is also a former commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He lost previous electoral bids to become a U.S. senator and state comptroller. His ex-wife, Nancy Shevell, is now married to Paul McCartney.