Written by Wendy Kreitzman Friday, 21 February 2014 00:00
Surrounded by a group of Mineola High School friends who supported his successful run for school board when he was just 18, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli recently celebrated his 60th birthday at the New Hyde Park Inn.
Winning the school board seat made him the first 18-year-old to hold public office in New York State. Now the 54th comptroller for the state, he has held that position since 2007. In the intervening years, DiNapoli spent two decades representing Nassau County’s 16th Assembly District.
At the party, various friends and supporters thanked DiNapoli for his many years of public service, provided with integrity, honesty and leadership.
As comptroller, DiNapoli manages the state’s $160.7 billion pension fund, audits the spending practices of all state agencies and local governments, oversees the New York State and Local Retirement System, critically reviews the New York State and New York City budgets and approves billions in state contracts and spending. New York State’s public pension fund is one of the largest public pension funds in the nation. DiNapoli is proud that under his leadership, the pension fund has increased opportunities for women and minority firms.
He said that he is a “protector of the interest of retirees,” and he stated that he “holds companies accountable.”
DiNapoli also spoke of his Mineola School Board run, and how he had the “spark of a dream” to “serve the community” while in middle school. The day he turned 18, DiNapoli and school friend Gerard Terry paid 25 cents and obtained a petition to run. Today, Terry is Town of North Hempstead Democratic leader.
Up for re-election this November, DiNapoli told the crowd, “I feel really good about where we are now….I will just be who I am, call it as I see it.”
“My commitment to you remains as it was when I was 18,” he said. “I have a lot of pride in the confidence you have in me.”