Tom Suozzi runs for governor on three major planks

Tom Suozzi runs for governor and Diana Reyna for lieutenant governor.

As he runs for governor of New York in the Democratic Primary on June 28 and seeks Caribbean votes, Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi has identified three major planks for his campaign.

Suozzi – who lived in Trinidad and Tobago for three months in 1986, when he audited the Texaco Refinery there, as an accountant — told Caribbean Life on Tuesday that his major planks comprise: Proven executive – trained as a certified public accountant (CPA) and attorney, mayor for eight years, county executive for eight years and member of Congress for 5 1/2 years; Common-Sense Democrat — “will not pander to the left or back down to the right”; and Crime and Safety is #1 priority, will reduce taxes and make New York more affordable, help children in troubled schools and clean up corruption in New York State.

Suozzi said while he loves being in Congress, he is “concerned about people living in New York.

“I will have a national voice as governor,” said Suozzi, who served as mayor of his hometown, Glen Cove, New York and as the Nassau County executive before being elected to Congress in 2016. “I’m sick of my party going too far to the left and sick of the Far-Right Republicans.

“I’m a proven executive, I’m a Common-Sense Democrat, my issues are very clear: I will reduce crime, reduce taxes, help children in public schools and clean up corruption,” he added. “I’m giving up Congress because I feel things here (in New York) need to be addressed.”

When asked about his chances of success at the Primary, Suozzi said he felt “great,” adding: “The polls are not showing the fact that there’s no enthusiasm for (Gov.) Kathy Hochul. People are very enthusiastic about my race.”

He predicted that the other contender, New York City Public Advocate, Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, “will get a lot of enthusiasm from the far left,” Hochul will receive “establishment” votes, and that he’ll “get everybody else.”

“I’m the only Democrat talking of crime, taxes and affordability,” Suozzi said. “I’m the only candidate who will win in November (in the general elections).

“My challenge is winning the Primary,” he, however, added. “If people show up, who normally don’t show up (at the polls in the Primary), I’ll win.”

In late April, Suozzi, along with his running mate for Lieutenant Governor, Diana Reyna, unveiled a comprehensive sic-point Government Accountability Plan to restore trust and ethics in state government and rid what he described as “systemic corruption in Albany.”

“Kathy Hochul has made the culture of corruption worse,” claimed Suozzi claimed, highlighted two Hochul decisions, which he said were “fully within her control and illustrate her lack of judgement, inexperience and failure to address corruption.”

He identified them as “Hochul’s handpicked choice for Lieutenant Governor, even though he had many ethical issues swirling around him”; and “Hochul’s secret deal to build a $1 billion new stadium in her hometown of Buffalo that leaves New York taxpayers paying the tab.

“Hochul is failing us on crime and taxes and costing us on corruption,” Suozzi added. “We don’t have to settle for this. As Governor, I will lower taxes, address crime, and eradicate the corruption that New Yorkers are paying for.”

“It seems that Tom and I are always talking about yet one more ethical lapse out of the Hochul administration,” said Reyna. “From almost her first days as governor, she has been holding secret meetings and using taxpayer-funded state aircraft to raise tens of millions of dollars for her campaign. Elected officials need to be held accountable. We need to inspect what we expect.”

Suozzi-Reyna Six-Point Government Accountability Plan states: Expenditure over $10 million that is not included in the Executive Budget, the Senate Budget, or the Assembly Budget that is added during the budget process must be subject to legislative hearings; adopt federal laws that lower contribution limits and prohibit corporate donations for State campaigns; limit campaign contributions for candidates running for statewide office to the same amounts that are allowed for federal races; enact quarterly disclosure filings to ensure transparency; create a “truly independent ethics panel” consistent with recommendations outlined by good government groups that would have a committee appointed by state leaders who would then pick a panel of ethics leaders; and ban the use of State aircraft for non-official events and prohibit use of statewide elected officials’ name, photo, video, voice of likeness in taxpayer-funded, unsolicited mass communication within 90 days of election.

The Suozzi for New York campaign last month released an internal poll that shows Suozzi steadily gaining momentum and closing the gap, while support for Hochul has dropped meaningfully.

The benchmark survey was recently conducted by the Suozzi campaign from April 28-May 1 among New York Democratic voters who are likely to vote in the June party primary.

“This poll tells us two things that we have known from day one. First, when people hear about Tom’s experience, record, and plans to address important issues such as crime, taxes, and affordability, they gravitate towards him,” said Kim Devlin, senior advisor for Suozzi for NY.

“Second, when Kathy Hochul took over as governor, New Yorkers knew who she was but they didn’t know anything about her,” Devlin added. “As she has defined herself by a billion dollar giveaway to build a stadium in Buffalo that New Yorkers have to pay for, a tepid crime plan that does nothing to really address crime, and her handpicked Lieutenant Governor arrested for federal crimes and resigning his office in disgrace, voters are turning away from her kind of same old Albany politics.”

Suozzi said he has “the experience to get the job done as Governor of New York.”

He is currently a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, the chief tax-writing committee of the House of Representatives.

Suozzi was elected Glen Cove Mayor in 1993. At just 31, he was the youngest mayor in the city’s history.

In 2001, he was elected Nassau County Executive, the youngest in Nassau’s history. He was the first Democrat elected with a Democratic legislature since 1917.

When Suozzi took over, he said the county was on the brink of bankruptcy. He said he engineered what was heralded by public policy experts as one of the greatest government financial turnarounds in the country.

In January 2017, he was sworn in as a member of the US House of Representatives.

In his very first days in Congress, Suozzi joined the Problem Solvers Congressional Caucus, now grown to an equal number of 29 Democrats and 29 Republicans, who meet weekly to try to find common ground.

He said his philosophy is to work with anyone to try and solve problems on behalf of the people he serves.

Suozzi said he’s been a fierce advocate for gun violence prevention, cosponsoring every major piece of gun violence legislation, and that he “fights every day to increase access to affordable health care, lower the cost of prescription drugs, and protect Medicare against Republican attacks.”

In addition to his years as an elected official, Suozzi has private sector experience as an auditor for Arthur Anderson & Co., a litigator for Shearman & Sterling, law clerk to the Chief Judge of the Eastern District of New York, a senior advisor to investment banking firm Lazard, and as of counsel at Harris Beach law firm.

He is a graduate of Chaminade High School on Long Island, Boston College and Fordham Law School, where he helped create the Student Sponsored Fellowship and the Fordham Public Service Project. His work was honored at his graduation where he received special commendation for “the program’s significant contributions” to the law school.

Suozzi resides in Glen Cove with his wife of 28 years, Helene, a former teacher who graduated from Wheaton College in Massachusetts and earned a master’s degree from the Bank Street College of Education in New York City.

The couple has three children – Caroline, Joseph and Michael – and a family dog, Gabby.

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