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Nassau County Legislator Craig Johnson gave a ringing endorsement to candidate for New York State governor Eliot Spitzer when the two met over coffee last week at the Port Washington Diner.

Johnson began by thanking Spitzer for coming to Port, where he (Johnson) grew up, attended schools and is raising his family.

Praising Spitzer, Johnson described him as "a man of outstanding character, a public-service lawyer with impeccable credentials and a statewide public official with a proven record of statewide accomplishments."

Commenting on his record, Johnson said, "As attorney general, Eliot Spitzer has brought energy, focus and excellence to an office that, seven years ago, had fallen not just into disrepair but also ill repute."

Johnson believes that Spitzer will bring a bone-deep understanding of the problems New York faces, in both upstate New York and especially in Nassau County. "As governor, Spitzer will work with county legislators, county executives, mayors and town supervisors to harness what's great about New York to make better those things that need improvement," Johnson said.

As Johnson pointed out, what made the morning's coffee newsworthy is that he is not giving his endorsement to Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, who has also launched a campaign for governor. As Johnson says, "It would be the easy thing to do ... and I'm not doing it."

Explaining his reasons for not endorsing Suozzi, Johnson said, "There is a diversity of opinion in Nassau County as to the appropriateness of his political activities. To my mind, there's a lot to do here in Nassau and what needs fixing needs full-time attention."

He noted that there could be "no arguing" with the fact that Suozzi is an accomplished county executive who has "made Nassau a better place to live and work." But he's confident that "when Suozzi's working with Governor Eliot Spitzer that he will find Albany to be a nicer place than he thinks."


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