“We’ve had politicians who seem to just care about getting elected, then check out from their taxpayer-funded jobs to run for the next office,” Haber said. “Elected officials should do the job they were elected to do.” He noted instances of Mangano out on “golf junkets” and Suozzi leaving frequently during his race for governor in 2006.
Suozzi said that while in the past he has aspired to higher office, the past four years have given him a chance to take stock of his political career. “If it turns out that my life is that I was the county executive of Nassau County who helped to turn around the county,” he said, “that’s a pretty big accomplishment and I’m satisfied with that.”
Turning around the county is where Suozzi is focusing his campaign message. He has taken aim at the Mangano administration’s handling of the county’s finances, noting the takeover by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority and a record debt in excess of $3 billion.
“We’ve got a major problem with debt,” Suozzi said. “It affects not only us today, but our children and our grandchildren. When I was in office, we reduced the borrowing and we were still able to improve the infrastructure of Nassau County.”
Suozzi cited eight years of budget surpluses and 13 bond upgrades during his time as county executive. He also pointed to the three bond downgrades by independent credit agencies that have occurred in the past four years.
Haber says that going back to the pre-Mangano era isn’t good enough. “This election is about creating a new future for Nassau County,” Haber said. “We’ve had 12 years of cronyism, corruption and pay-to-play politics. During that time capital investment has stopped, large employers have fled and there has been little new construction. That must end if we are ever going have a community with quality jobs, affordable housing and efficient social services so our kids can come back to Nassau and raise their families here. We need new ideas and real solutions to move the county forward.”