Thomas Suozzi

Last updated
Thomas Suozzi
Thomas Suozzi official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from New York's 3rd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded by Steve Israel
Executive of Nassau County, New York
In office
January 1, 2002 December 31, 2009
Preceded by Thomas Gulotta
Succeeded by Ed Mangano
Mayor of Glen Cove, New York
In office
January 1, 1994 December 31, 2001
Preceded byDonald DeRiggi
Succeeded by Mary Ann Holzkamp
Personal details
Born
Thomas Richard Suozzi

(1962-08-31) August 31, 1962 (age 57)
Glen Cove, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Helene Suozzi
Children3
Education Boston College (BA)
Fordham University (JD)
Website House website

Thomas Richard Suozzi [1] ( /ˈswɒzi/ ; born August 31, 1962), an American politician, who was trained as an attorney and Certified Public Accountant, is the U.S. Representative for New York's 3rd district. [2] [3]

Contents

Suozzi was the County Executive of Nassau County, New York, in office from 2002 to 2009. He was first elected to the post in 2001 after four terms as mayor of Glen Cove, New York. In 2006, he ran unsuccessfully against Eliot Spitzer for the Democratic nomination for Governor of New York. Suozzi was narrowly defeated for re-election in 2009 by Republican nominee Ed Mangano, and in a rematch in 2013 was again defeated, this time by a much larger margin of 59% to 41%. [4] He was first elected to United States House of Representatives in 2016 and then reelected in 2018. [5] [6]

Suozzi currently sits on the House Ways and Means Committee and the Congressional Executive Commission on China. [7] [8] Suozzi formerly sat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. [9]

Early and personal life

The son of former Glen Cove mayor Joseph A. Suozzi, Thomas Suozzi was born on August 31, 1962 in Glen Cove. [10] His father, Joseph, was born in Italy and his mother, Marguerite, is of Irish and English descent. [11] The youngest of five siblings, Tom Suozzi attended Catholic schools, graduating from Chaminade High School, Boston College, and Fordham University School of Law. He is trained as both a lawyer and a CPA. Suozzi and his wife, Helene, have three children.

Political career

Mayor of Glen Cove

In 1993, Suozzi was elected mayor of Glen Cove, New York. He was in that municipality's mayoral office for four terms. [12]

His father and his uncle, Vincent Suozzi, respectively, were mayors of Glen Cove prior to Tom Suozzi. [13]

As mayor, Suozzi focused on environmental cleanup of commercial and industrial sites in Glen Cove. A focal point of his administration was redeveloping brownfield and superfund sites. [12] In 1994, the Glen Cove incinerator was permanently closed and dismantled. [14] Under Suozzi's tenure, Glen Cove was also given a credit rating of A-3. At the time, this was the cities highest rating since the 1970s. [15] Suozzi also helped to revitalize downtown Glen Cove by building a new city hall, courthouse, police station, EMS building, new sidewalks, new street lamps, and construction of a multilevel parking garage. [16]

In 1998, the city demolished and redeveloped the defunct Li Tungsten Refinery grounds, a federal superfund site. [17] [18]

He was recognized by then-Vice President Al Gore for the city's environmental cleanup efforts and Glen Cove was awarded the Brownfields Award in 1998. [19] [20]

In 2000, Glen Cove won first place in the New York Conference of Mayors’ Main Street Award for its downtown revitalization efforts, while Suozzi was Mayor. [15]

Nassau County Executive

Suozzi was elected Nassau County Executive in 2001, becoming the first Democrat elected to the position in traditionally Republican Nassau in 30 years. [21] He assumed office in the midst of a fiscal crisis. By 1999, Nassau was on the brink of financial collapse: the county faced a $300 million annual deficit, was billions of dollars in debt, and its credit rating had sunk to one level above junk status. [22] According to The New York Times, he "earned high marks from independent institutions for his signature achievement, the resuscitation of Nassau's finances." [23]

While in office, Suozzi cut spending and reduced borrowing and debt. He also oversaw 11 county bond upgrades over the course of two years, eliminated deficits in Nassau, and accumulated surpluses. In 2005, Governing Magazine named Suozzi one of its Public Officials of the Year, calling him "the man who spearheaded Nassau County, New York's, remarkable turnaround from the brink of fiscal disaster." [12] [23] According to The New York Times, Suozzi garnered praise for social services like his "no wrong door" program, which centralized access to social services. [23]

In 2004, Suozzi launched the "Fix Albany" campaign which aimed to root out corruption in the New York State government. At the time, The New York Times Editorial Board, wrote an op-ed titled "Thomas Suozzi's Excellent Idea." [24]

In 2008, Suozzi was named New York State Environmentalist of the Year by the League of Conservation Voters for sourcing "25 percent of the county’s energy from renewable sources, and he helped pass a $150 million bond program to preserve open space and protect Long Island Sound." [25]

Suozzi was also named the previously named as Person of the Year by the New York Immigration Coalition for his work as County Executive for "creating an environment of welcome and inclusion for immigrants in Nassau during his tenure." [26]

In 2004, Georgina Morgenstern, a former Nassau County planning department employee, alleged Suozzi and Chief Deputy County Executive Anthony Cancellieri used county employees, resources and functions for illegal fundraising. Morgenstern said she was retaliated against and terminated without due process, and she subsequently filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit. [27] Suozzi was dismissed from the case and a federal jury in Central Islip rejected Morgenstern's claim that she was fired in retaliation for her criticism of Suozzi. [28]

2006 gubernatorial campaign

Suozzi declared that he was running for Governor of New York in the Democratic primary against Eliot Spitzer on February 25, 2006. The bid appeared from the start to be somewhat of a long shot given Spitzer's reputation as a "corporate crusader", though Suozzi often pointed out that he prevailed as a long shot before when he first ran for Nassau County Executive. During the campaign, Suozzi pointed to his experience as a Chief Executive with the campaign slogan being, "I can do it, because I’ve done it”. [29]

Few prominent Democrats outside of Nassau County Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs supported his bid; most of New York's Democratic legislators and mayors campaigned with Spitzer. The campaign was funded in part by Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone, former NYSE CEO Richard Grasso, David Mack of the MTA, and many individuals on Wall Street who had been investigated and prosecuted by Eliot Spitzer. [30]

On June 13, 2006, Suozzi spoke before the New York State Conference of Mayors along with Spitzer and John Faso. Suozzi received a standing ovation by the crowd of mayors. [31] On July 6, 2006, Suozzi announced to his followers that he had collected enough petitions to place himself on the ballot in the primary against Spitzer. He claimed victory to the press in the debate on July 25, 2006 with New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer held at Pace University.[ citation needed ] He stated he had presidential aspirations during the course of this debate. [32] [33]

On August 7, 2006, Suozzi announced after much speculation that he would not seek an independent line were he to lose the primary to Spitzer. [34]

2009 Nassau County executive election

Suozzi lost the 2009 county executive election to Ed Mangano by 286 votes out of 250,000 which were cast that year. In a post election editorial, "A Misguided Tax Revolt" The New York Times wrote: "Mr. Suozzi was elected in 2001 to pull Nassau out of a fiscal ditch, and he did over the hard-core opposition of an intransigent Republican minority. He brimmed with ideas to reinvigorate the local economy and was an early leader of the crusade to repair Albany’s rancid political culture. He had big plans for a third term, but they were whomped by the recession and a little-known Republican, Edward Mangano, who also ran for the newly invented Tax Revolt Party."

The Times also noted that: “tax weary voters went after the wrong party,” and they further stated “The prime reformer for cutting taxes and putting the county economy on solid footing has been Mr. Suozzi. He led a campaign to curb costly state mandates on local governments and pushed an ambitious plan for development in faded downtowns and in central Nassau.” [35]

2013 Nassau County executive election

After first working in the private sector as an attorney, Suozzi announced that he would seek a rematch against Mangano in 2013. [36] He attacked Mangano for "presiding over a decline in the county", while also emphasizing that, while he was County Executive, Suozzi had eight years of balanced budgets and reduced crime. [37] In November, Mangano easily defeated Suozzi, 59 percent to 41. [4]

2016 U.S. House campaign

In June 2016, Suozzi won a five-way Democratic primary in New York's 3rd congressional district. [38] Suozzi received endorsements from The New York Times, Newsday, and The Island Now. [39] [40] [41] He narrowly defeated Republican state Senator Jack Martins in the general election on November 8, 2016, and began representing New York's 3rd congressional district in the 115th United States Congress in January 2017. [2]

2018 U.S. House campaign

In June 2018, Suozzi won the unchallenged Democratic primary. In 2018, Suozzi defeated Republican Dan DeBono, future Trump Administration Chief Infrastructure Funding Officer and former trader and investment banker with an 18 point margin. [42] [43]

2020 U.S. House campaign

Suozzi was endorsed by several national organizations including: 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, American Federation of Government Employees, the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, Communication Workers of America, End Citizens United, Sierra Club, United Auto Workers, United Brotherhood for Carpenters, and the United Federation of Teachers. He was also named a gun sense candidate by Moms Demand Action. [44]

United States House of Representatives

Response to coronavirus

Suozzi has led multiple initiatives with the entire New York congressional delegation (Republicans and Democrats), which resulted in federal money for hospitals being allocated based on the number of COVID-19 positive cases in a state. [45] [46] He helped lead the entire Long Island congressional delegation in convincing the Federal Reserve to allow Nassau and Suffolk counties to access hundreds of millions of dollars in federal relief. [47] [48] Suozzi has also been a voice in Congress in calling on banks and financial institutions to ensure that every small business has access to loans and grants provided for in the CARES Act, regardless of size. [49] [50] [51]

On Long Island and in Queens, Suozzi has personally helped deliver thousands of gowns, masks, and gloves directly to front line workers and meals to the elderly and vulnerable. [52] He has also worked to keep his constituents updated on the latest news regarding the pandemic, sending messages and hosting town halls to keep more than 100,000 NY-03 residents up-to-date on best practices, the latest federal action, and the resources that are available to his constituents. [53] [54]

State and local tax deductions

Suozzi lead the introduction for legislation, which then passed the House in December 2019, that would help to fully restore the State and Local Tax (SALT) Deduction], [55] [56] which was capped at $10,000 in 2017. [57] [58] According to CNN, Suozzi "has railed about the negative effect a 2017 cap on the state and local tax deduction has had on his Long Island district for years." [59]

At the start of the 116th Congress and at Suozzi's urging, a congressional SALT working group was formed to explore the impact of limiting the SALT deduction and build consensus for a repeal of the limit. [60]

Environment

Suozzi cosponsored and helped pass the Climate Action Now Act, a bill that reverses President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement. [61] As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Suozzi helped introduce the Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act. This legislation encourages and incentivizes the deployment and production of cleaner, safer, and more sustainable energy technologies such as solar, wind, and geothermal. [62]

On Long Island Suozzi has, since arriving to Congress in 2017, increased federal funding to protect and preserve the Long Island Sound by almost 500%. [63] He has also secured tens of millions of dollars in funding increases to clean up the Navy-Grumman Plume while holding both the Navy and Northrop Grumman accountable. [64] [65]

Immigration

Suozzi is a cosponsor of and voted for the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to legal status for DACA recipients. [66] [67] [68] He has also co-sponsored, voted for, and helped secure support for several House-passed bills which would improve conditions at the border. [53]

Suozzi visited the United States southern border, twice, to inspect conditions at detention facilities housing migrants. [69] [70] As a first-generation American, Suozzi has opposed Trump Administration’s immigration policies. While he favors strong borders, he is committed to restoring American values to our debate on immigration. [53]

Health care and drug prices

Suozzi has said we need to “mend, not end,” the Affordable Care Act. He believes that we must build on President Obama’s signature law to expand access to healthcare and lower costs for all Americans. [71] [72]

Suozzi also believes that the cost of prescription drugs must be reduced and supports allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. [73] [74] As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, Suozzi was instrumental in the House passage of the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Cost Now Act, which will ensure that Americans can afford the medication they need to remain healthy. [75]

Gun violence prevention

Suozzi has voted for legislation to support universal background checks and the banning of assault weapons and continues to support "red flag" laws. [76] [77] [53]

On Long Island, Suozzi has worked closely with gun violence prevention activist, Linda Beigel Schulman, who lost her son Scott in the tragic 2018 Parkland shootings. Together, they have held rallies, press conferences, and other events to emphasize that this should not be a partisan issue. This is about the safety of our communities and the lives of our loved ones. [78] [79]

Suozzi has been endorsed by the Brady Campaign [80] and has been named a Gun Sense Candidate by Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety. [81]

Veterans

In Washington, Suozzi has secured tens of millions of dollars for housing and other programs that would ease new veterans’ transition back to civilian life. [82] He has also worked to combat the veteran suicide crisis across the United States by introducing and supporting legislation which would expand access to mental health for all veterans, regardless of discharge status. [83] [84]

On Long Island, Suozzi has worked closely with each Northport VA Director, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, to improve services for veterans and address the physical conditions of the facilities, including expediting the demolition of buildings 1 and 2. Suozzi's goal is to work with the Northport VA, the Department, and all stakeholders to turn the Center into a model for VA facilities across the nation and will continue to push for ongoing improvements to realize that goal. [85] [86] [87]

Human rights

As a member of the Congressional Executive Commission on China, Suozzi helped write bills that will allow the United States government to put additional pressure on the Chinese government's inhumane policy of holding more than 1 million Uighur Muslims in detention camps. [88] [89] [90] Suozzi has also voiced support for Democracy Activists in Hong Kong. [91]

Suozzi has also used his voice as a member of Congress to advocate for people around the world who have faced persecution for simply practicing their faith. From the persecution of Muslims in China to anti-Semitism here in the United States, Suozzi has spoken out in order to help those who wish to practice their faith without fear of oppression and mistreatment. [92] [93] [94]

Israel

Suozzi describes himself as a strong supporter of the state of Israel. [53] He has traveled to Israel in both a personal and congressional capacity over the years. [95]

In the House of Representatives, Suozzi has:

Infrastructure

Suozzi’s priorities for infrastructure reform include: waste and drinking water improvements; ensuring upgrades for the Long Island Railroad; increasing access and updates to Glen Cove Ferry and New York City public transit; stabilizing the Highway Trust Fund to improve local roads on Long Island; green energy production, electric vehicles, and the accompanying infrastructure to support them; public school modernization; and funding, expediting and advancing Gateway. [53]

National security and foreign affairs

In 2019, the House passed Suozzi's resolution, H.Res.585, Reaffirming support for the Good Friday Agreement and other agreements to ensure a lasting peace in Northern Ireland." [103] [104] [105] The House of Representatives has also passed Suozzi's resolution calling for concluding a "mutually agreeable, multi-year" defense cost-sharing deal with South Korea. [106]

In January 2020, Suozzi led the Long Island delegation in sending a letter to top national security officials asking them to investigate whether foreign countries are contributing to the rise of hate in the United States. [107] [108] [109]

Caucuses

Suozzi is a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, [110] the United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus [111] and the Climate Solutions Caucus. [112]

He is vice-chair of the Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which consists of 22 Democrats and 22 Republicans. He is also the co-chair of the Long Island Sound Caucus, co-chair of the Quiet Skies Caucus, and is chairman of the United States Merchant Marine Academy’s Board of Visitors. [3] [113] [114]

Electoral history

Nassau County Executive Race
YearCandidateVotes%
2009Thomas Suozzi (D)117,87448%
Ed Mangano (R)118,11149%
New York 3rd Congressional District Race
YearCandidateVotes%
2016Thomas Suozzi (D)156,31552.4%
Jack Martins (R)142,02347.6%

See also

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  57. "Suozzi bill to increase SALT cap passes House". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  58. "SALT tax deduction: 11 million taxpayers taking a hit from new tax law". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
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  61. Castor, Kathy (2019-05-07). "All Info - H.R.9 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Climate Action Now Act". www.congress.gov. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
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  63. "Suozzi Sends Letter to IRS Commissioner Questioning Tax Ruling on Suffolk Septic Grants and Will Propose Legislation". Congressman Thomas Suozzi. 2020-02-11. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  64. "Suozzi seeks federal budget boost to help clean Grumman plume". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  65. "Suozzi: Navy, Grumman negotiate plume 'payouts'". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  66. "Suozzi presses for Dream Act vote". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
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  68. "A new hope for Dreamers, TPS recipients". Herald Community Newspapers. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  69. "Suozzi border report: Detention conditions 'awful'". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  70. "LI reps tour Texas tent city for migrant children". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  71. "Obamacare Repeal: How Long Island Representatives Voted". Half Hollow Hills, NY Patch. 2017-05-05. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
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  73. "Why are drug prices so high? It's complicated". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  74. "5 things to know about legislation to cut drug prices". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  75. "Suozzi, Rice Vote to Pass Critical Legislation to Lower Prescription Drug Prices". Congressman Thomas Suozzi. 2019-12-12. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  76. "Pols support universal background checks". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
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  81. "Gun Sense Candidates 2020". Gun Sense Voter. 2020-02-07. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
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  85. "VA's homeless shelter set to reopen by May, officials say". Newsday. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
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  88. "House Passes UIGHUR Act to Counter Chinese Repression". Congressman Brad Sherman. 2019-12-03. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
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  97. "Never Again Education Act Gets Go-Ahead From House". Long Island Weekly. 2020-02-07. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
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  104. "US Congress reaffirms support for Good Friday Agreement". IrishCentral.com. 2019-12-04. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
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Political offices
Preceded by
Donald DeRiggi
Mayor of Glen Cove
1993–2000
Succeeded by
Mary Ann Holzkamp
Preceded by
Thomas Gulotta
Executive of Nassau County
2001–2009
Succeeded by
Ed Mangano
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Steve Israel
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 3rd congressional district

2017–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Darren Soto
United States Representatives by seniority
327th
Succeeded by
Ron Estes