Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 15 February 2013 00:00
There are heroes and villains on both sides in the ongoing debate concerning the function of Nassau County. Is the old regime to blame? Are current leaders at fault? Discussions are constant, opinions on either side rarely align, but one group thinks a change is in order.
The Nassau County Young Democrats kick-started a “Draft Suozzi” campaign a few weeks ago at draftsuozzi.com to convince former county leader Tom Suozzi to run against current Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano, a Republican. More than 1,500 supporters have signed up on the site, a far cry from the hundreds of thousands of people Nassau currently call home, but nonetheless a gathering.
Though Suozzi, 50, said last month that a run at Mangano is off the table, speculation still abounds. The other challenger to emerge is Mineola restaurant owner Adam Haber. Suozzi did not return calls for comment.
The group feels Suozzi would push innovative and progressive ideas to make Nassau thrive. Some think otherwise.
“Tom Suozzi hiked property taxes by 42 percent, placed an energy tax on heating and electric bills and even tried to tax fast food and happy meals, said Nassau County Young Republican Club Chairperson Nicole Russo. “His candidacy is a perfect contrast to Ed Mangano, who froze property taxes for three straight years, repealed the energy tax and stopped the happy meal tax dead in its track. Tom Suozzi, please run.”
The website has garnered more than 16,000 visitors as of press time. A video created as part of the movement has received over 1,000 views on YouTube.
“As representatives of the younger generation, our organization is concerned with the direction Ed Mangano has led the county over the past three years. We believe he has failed with his responsibilities and has made it more difficult for young people to remain on Long Island,” said Lauren Summa, president of the Nassau County Young Democrats.
Though the attempt may be futile, Summa says anything can happen.
“This was created to try to advocate to get [Suozzi] to change his mind,” said Summa. “We understand that he’s doing very well in the private sector, but we believe that he is someone that cares about our future. He’s got a strong vision for a better county. He has leadership. We hope he reconsiders his options. We’re hoping to change his mind.”