BY MOSHE HILL POLITICS JANUARY 17 2024
Republican majorities in both Nassau and Suffolk County were sworn in this past week, and with them came along visions of how Long Island is run in contrast to New York City. While some of this openly boiled over, most of the tension is still simmering under the surface.
The biggest issue on everyone’s mind is the upcoming special election on February 13th, with Republican Nassau County Legislator Mazi Pilip and former Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi duking it out over the seat in New York’s 3rd Congressional District. This election is a crucial one for both sides, given how razor-thin the Republican Majority in the House is.
This is also a bellwether for how Long Islanders want their state and country to be run. Tom Suozzi is beholden to the Democratic Party leadership, voting 100% of the time with Nancy Pelosi when she was Speaker of the House. That party has wreaked havoc on the state and the country for the past few years, leading to unprecedented levels of illegal immigration, inflation, homelessness, crime, instability, and wars.
Based on reports from 2022, when Suozzi was running against Kathy Hochul to be the Democratic nominee for Governor, a Chinese spy donated to Suozzi’s campaign. According to the Free Beacon, Suozzi “met multiple times with Fan “Frank” Liu, the founder of an organization called the World Harmony Foundation. Federal prosecutors on Wednesday accused Liu of spying on three pro-democracy activists as part of a “transnational repression scheme” to silence critics of the Chinese Communist Party.” This would put Suozzi in league with fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell, whose relationship with a Chinese spy actually got him kicked off the House Intelligence committee for fear that he was compromised.
Foreign influence and corruption have become staples in the Democratic Party, where Joe Biden is under an impeachment inquiry for those same accusations. Voters in the North Shore of Long Island need to decide if that should be rewarded with another step closer to power for House Democrats.
In another episode of political sparring, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman took center stage, urging Governor Kathy Hochul to “stay out of Long Island.” The heated exchange unfolded during a panel discussion, with Blakeman criticizing Albany Democrats for imposing bail reforms on law enforcement, implementing unfunded mandates on local governments, and scheduling local elections in even years to favor Democrats, all while neglecting the concerns of Long Islanders.
Blakeman’s frustration with perceived overreach from the state government was evident as he emphasized the need for a fair and even-handed relationship. “I’m not looking for a fight with the state. The state has picked a fight with us on Long Island, not once, not twice, not three times, but at least four times in the last year, and at some point there has to be some pushback,” he asserted in an interview with The New York Post.
Governor Hochul, unfazed by the tension, responded with a touch of humor, referring to Blakeman and Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine as her “favorite county executives.” However, she didn’t shy away from acknowledging the financial ties, quipping, “You don’t want me to take all the money with me, though, right?”
Blakeman fired back on social media, posting on X that, “Long Island sends $14.8 billion more each year to Albany than we receive in state aid. That’s BILLIONS!”
Despite the verbal jousting, both leaders expressed a desire to ease tensions. Hochul reassured Long Islanders of her commitment, stating, “Long Island is here, and I’m with Long Island because New York cares about Long Island immensely. I love Long Island. How can you not love Long Island? So nothing will keep me away from Long Island.”
Blakeman echoed a sentiment of openness to collaboration but underscored the importance of fairness in the relationship between Nassau County and the state government. As the political discourse continues, the push and pull between local and state authorities will likely shape the trajectory of governance on Long Island in the coming year.
While 2024 may be all about the presidential and federal elections, the State Assembly and Senate are also up for re-election. If Republicans around the state get their act together, this could be the year that they retake the Senate Majority in Albany (although that is admittedly a longshot.) Either way, Long Island needs to prove that it does not want to have the problems of New York City come to its counties. A strong message to both Albany and Washington would be a good start.