Thomas Suozzi

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Thomas Suozzi
Thomas Suozzi official photo.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 3rd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded by Steve Israel
County Executive of Nassau County
In office
January 1, 2002 – December 31, 2009
Preceded by Thomas Gulotta
Succeeded by Ed Mangano
Mayor of Glen Cove
In office
1992–2000
Preceded by Donald DeRiggi
Succeeded by Mary Ann Holzkamp
Personal details
Born (1962-08-31) August 31, 1962 (age 54)
Glen Cove, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Helene Suozzi; 3 children
Website House website

Thomas R. Suozzi /ˈswɒzi/ (born August 31, 1962) is an American Democratic politician who is the U.S. Representative for New York's 3rd district.[1]

He was the County Executive of Nassau County, New York, serving from 2002 to 2009. He was first elected to the post in 2001 after serving four terms as mayor of Glen Cove, New York. In 2006, he ran unsuccessfully against Eliot Spitzer for the Democratic nomination for Governor of New York. Suozzi was narrowly defeated for re-election in 2009 by Republican nominee Ed Mangano, and in a rematch in 2013 was again defeated, this time by a much larger margin of 59% to 41%.[2]

Early and personal life[edit]

The son of former Glen Cove mayor Joseph A. Suozzi, Thomas Suozzi was born on August 31, 1962 in Glen Cove.[3] His father, Joseph, was born in Italy and his mother, Marguerite, is of Irish and English descent.[4] The youngest of five siblings, Tom Suozzi attended Catholic schools, graduating from Chaminade High School, Boston College, and Fordham University School of Law. Suozzi and his wife, Helene, have three children.

Political career[edit]

Mayor of Glen Cove[edit]

In 1993, Suozzi was elected mayor of Glen Cove, New York. He served in that capacity for four terms.[5]

His father and his uncle, Vincent Suozzi, respectively, were mayors of Glen Cove prior to Tom Suozzi.[6]

As mayor, Suozzi focused on environmental cleanup of commercial and industrial sites in Glen Cove. A focal point of his administration was redeveloping brownfield and superfund sites.[5] In 1994, the Glen Cove incinerator was permanently closed and dismantled.[7]

In 1998, the city demolished and redeveloped the defunct Li Tungsten Refinery grounds, a federal superfund site.[8][9]

He was recognized by then-Vice President Al Gore for the city's environmental cleanup efforts and Glen Cove was awarded the Brownfields Award in 1998.[10][11]

Nassau County Executive[edit]

Suozzi was elected Nassau County Executive in 2001, becoming the first Democrat elected to the position in traditionally Republican Nassau in 30 years.[12] He assumed office in the midst of a fiscal crisis. By 1999, Nassau was on the brink of financial collapse: the county faced a $300 million annual deficit, was billions of dollars in debt, and its credit rating had sunk to one level above junk status.[13] According to The New York Times, he "earned high marks from independent institutions for his signature achievement, the resuscitation of Nassau's finances."[14]

While in office, Suozzi cut spending and reduced borrowing and debt. He also oversaw 11 county bond upgrades over the course of two years, eliminated deficits in Nassau, and accumulated surpluses. In 2005, Governing Magazine named Suozzi one of its Public Officials of the Year, calling him "the man who spearheaded Nassau County, New York's, remarkable turnaround from the brink of fiscal disaster."[5][14] According to The New York Times, Suozzi garnered praise for social services like his “no wrong door” program, which centralized access to social services.[14]

In 2004, Georgina Morgenstern, a former Nassau County planning department employee, alleged Suozzi and Chief Deputy County Executive Anthony Cancellieri used county employees, resources and functions for illegal fundraising. Morgenstern said she was retaliated against and terminated without due process, and she subsequently filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit.[15] Suozzi was dismissed from the case and a federal jury in Central Islip rejected Morgenstern's claim that she was fired in retaliation for her criticism of Suozzi.[16]

2006 gubernatorial campaign[edit]

Suozzi declared that he was running for Governor of New York in the Democratic primary against Eliot Spitzer on February 25, 2006. The bid appeared from the start to be somewhat of a long shot given Spitzer's reputation as a "corporate crusader", though Suozzi often pointed out that he prevailed as a long shot before when he first ran for Nassau County Executive.

Few prominent Democrats outside of Nassau County Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs supported his bid; most of New York's Democratic legislators and mayors campaigned with Spitzer. One of his biggest supporters was Victor Rodriguez, founder of the now disbanded Voter Rights Party. Rodriguez eventually became the lead field organizer for the Albany campaign office. The campaign was funded in part by Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone, former NYSE CEO Richard Grasso, David Mack of the MTA, and many individuals on Wall Street who had been investigated and prosecuted by Eliot Spitzer.[17]

On June 13, 2006, Suozzi spoke before the New York State Conference of Mayors along with Spitzer and John Faso. Suozzi received a standing ovation by the crowd of mayors.[18] On July 6, 2006, Suozzi announced to his followers that he had collected enough petitions to place himself on the ballot in the primary against Spitzer. He claimed victory to the press in the debate on July 25, 2006 with New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer held at Pace University.[citation needed] He stated he had presidential aspirations during the course of this debate.[19][20]

On August 7, 2006, Suozzi announced after much speculation that he would not seek an independent line were he to lose the primary to Spitzer.[21]

He stated, that if he lost the governor's race, he would not run for a third term as Nassau County Executive. In the week of August 25 he and Attorney General Spitzer were at Pace University again when cable TV NY1 held a town hall forum. However, they did not appear together. On September 12, 2006, Suozzi was defeated by Spitzer, receiving 19% of the vote to Spitzer's 81%.[22]

NIFA Report May 28, 2009[edit]

Nassau County Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) is a bipartisan, independent state financial oversight agency. In 2009, NIFA published a report titled "Review of the May 1, 2009 Nassau County Multi-Year Financial Plan Update and Related Matters".[23] According to NIFA's report, Suozzi had prepared a 2009 budget that did not address the current budget gap, nor did the Multi-Year Financial Plan address a continuing baseline gap in the Out-Years. The Plan assumed optimistic rates of recovery and growth despite the ongoing crises affecting the nation and high levels of unemployment. The report also claims that Suozzi and the County have underestimated Nassau’s greater exposure to the economic downturn from Wall Street job losses, and have used $23 million in bond proceeds and reserves to pay operating expenses. The report noted the large amount of turnover in the county Office of Management and Budget, which has not helped Nassau's recovery and planning efforts. By deferring debt service payments and not paying off obligations in a timely manner, Suozzi and the County put taxpayers at risk. Suozzi reportedly planned for Nassau County to use $28 Million of bond proceeds to pay for Fiscal Year 2009's tax assessment grievance refunds. The county would receive $80 million over the next two years in non-recurring federal stimulus monies, which the county would use to subsidize the operating budget.[24]

2009 Nassau County executive election[edit]

Suozzi lost the 2009 county executive election to Edward Mangano.

2013 Nassau County executive election[edit]

After first working in the private sector as an attorney, Suozzi announced that he would seek a rematch against Mangano in 2013.[25] He attacked Mangano for "presiding over a decline in the county", while also emphasizing that, while he was County Executive, Suozzi had eight years of balanced budgets and reduced crime.[26] In November, Mangano easily defeated Suozzi, 59 percent to 41.[2]

2016 U.S. House campaign[edit]

In June 2016, Suozzi won a five-way Democratic primary in New York's 3rd congressional district.[27] Suozzi received endorsements from The New York Times, Newsday, and The Island Now.[28][29][30] He defeated Republican Jack Martins in the general election on November 8, 2016, and began representing New York's 3rd congressional district in the 115th United States Congress in January 2017.[1]

Electoral history[edit]

Nassau County Executive Race
Year Candidate Votes %
2009 Thomas Suozzi (D) 117,874 48%
Edward Mangano (R) 118,111 49%
New York 3rd Congressional District Race
Year Candidate Votes %
2016 Thomas Suozzi (D) 156,315 52.4%
Jack Martins (R) 142,023 47.6%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Suozzi defeats Martins in 3rd District race". longisland.news12.com. Retrieved November 10, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Twarowski, Christopher (November 6, 2013). "Mangano Defeats Suozzi In Nassau County Executive Race". Long Island Press. Syosset, NY. 
  3. ^ Rodrick, Stephen. "Tom Quixote", New York Magazine.
  4. ^ "INTERVIEWS THOMAS SUOZZI / 'I'm pretty much a go-go guy.'". Newsday. 2001-09-05. Retrieved 2016-12-18. 
  5. ^ a b c Gurwitt, Rob (2005). "Thomas R. Suozzi". Governing Magazine. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  6. ^ Toy, Vivian (August 21, 2005). "In Glen Cove, Politics Is Thicker Than Blood". New York Times. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  7. ^ Ain, Stewart (March 24, 1996). "First Closing Of Incinerator Renews Focus On Disposing Of Garbage". New York Times. Retrieved October 25, 2016. 
  8. ^ Saslow, Linda (November 5, 2000). "Glen Cove Seeks Waterfront Investors". New York Times. Retrieved October 25, 2016. 
  9. ^ Gearty, Robert (April 23, 1998). "Glen Cove Blows Its Stack". New York Daily News. Retrieved October 25, 2016. 
  10. ^ Tedeschi, Tony (July 22, 2010). "The Glen Cove Waterfront Sound Off". Patch. Retrieved October 25, 2016. 
  11. ^ Brodsky, Robert (October 30, 2013). "Thomas Suozzi Pushes For Second Chance In Nassau County Executive Race". Newsday. Retrieved 26 October 2016. 
  12. ^ Lambert, Bruce (November 8, 2001). "The 2001 Elections: Long Island; Suozzi Quickly Focuses on Nassau's Woes". New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2016. 
  13. ^ Jones, Bart (December 19, 2010). "Nassau’s Finances Recall Near-Meltdown of ‘99". Newsday. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  14. ^ a b c Lambert, Bruce (September 4, 2006). "Suozzi, Beyond the Numbers". New York Times. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  15. ^ Twarowski, Christopher (August 6, 2009). "Skeletons In The Closet". Long Island Press. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  16. ^ Murphy, William (June 8, 2010). "Nassau Lawsuit Ends With $4M Whimper". Newsday. Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  17. ^ Rodrick, Stephen. "Tom Quixote: Is Suozzi's campaign against Spitzer a profile in courage or self-destruction?". New York Magazine. Retrieved August 1, 2016. 
  18. ^ Hakim, Danny (June 14, 2006). "Suozzi Gets an Ovation From Conference of Mayors". New York Times. 
  19. ^ Healy, Patrick (July 26, 2006). "Sole Debate for Spitzer and Suozzi Is Fiery". New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  20. ^ "The Spitzer-Suozzi Debate Transcript". The New York Times. July 26, 2006. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Suozzi Won't Seek Independent Line". National Public Radio. August 7, 2006. 
  22. ^ Healy, Patrick (September 13, 2006). "Spitzer and Clinton Win in N.Y. Primary". New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  23. ^ Thomas Suozzi official photo.jpg
  24. ^ NIFA report (May 2009), nifa.state.ny.us; accessed December 18, 2016.
  25. ^ "Suozzi lays out campaign strategy, six months out". Newsday. May 7, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi Wants His Old Job Back: Says He's Over Losing The First Time And Is What's Right For County This Time". CBS New York. February 13, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2013. 
  27. ^ Brand, Rick. "Thomas Suozzi savors Democratic primary win". Newsday.com. Newsday. Retrieved July 9, 2016. 
  28. ^ Editorial Board, The New York Times (June 17, 2016). "Five Choices in New York Congressional Primaries". New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  29. ^ Editorial Board, Newsday (October 25, 2016). "Thomas Suozzi to Represent 3rd Congressional District". Newsday. Retrieved November 4, 2016. 
  30. ^ Editorial Board, The Island Now (November 3, 2016). "Our Views: Congressional District 3 Tom Suozzi For Congress". The Island Now. Retrieved November 4, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Donald DeRiggi
Mayor of Glen Cove, N.Y.
1993 – 2000
Succeeded by
Mary Ann Holzkamp
Preceded by
Thomas Gulotta
County Executive of Nassau County, N.Y.
2001 – 2009
Succeeded by
Ed Mangano
Preceded by
Steve Israel
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 3rd congressional district

January 3, 2017 – present
Incumbent
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Darren Soto
D-Florida
United States Representatives by seniority
427th
Succeeded by
Scott Taylor
R-Virginia