Suozzi speaks with the Lakeville Estates Civic ahead of special election

Suozzi speaks with the Lakeville Estates Civic ahead of special election
Former U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) speaks to the Lakeville Estates Civic Association in New Hyde Park on Thursday, Jan. 11. (Photo by Brandon Duffy)

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) recently spoke about his platform and policies Thursday night with 3rd Congressional District constituents at Michael J. Tully Park in New Hyde Park.

The meet-and-greet was hosted by the Lakeville Estates Civic Association, which has close to 1,200 registered homes as members in the greater New Hyde Park Area.

Suozzi, of Glen Cove, served three terms in the House representing the 3rd Congressional District from January 2017 to January 2023. He is vying for his old post against Republican candidate and Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (R-Great Neck) to replace George Santos, who was expelled from Congress last year. 

Suozzi told the meeting he was running to solve problems and help people. 

“I’m not running on Democrat vs. Republican, I’m running on who’s going to get things done compared to what we have in Washington right now with everyone fighting each other,” Suozzi said. “I’ll work with anybody if you want to actually help people and try to make the world a better place.”

Suozzi, who has appeared at many public events throughout the North Shore recently, and his campaign have been calling on Pilip to join him in televised debates ahead of the Feb. 13 special election. 

As of now, the two are currently scheduled for a debate on Feb. 8, hosted by News12. 

The Lakeville Estates event was originally advertised as a debate between both candidates but later changed to the meet and greet since Pilip’s campaign told the civic it was her legislative office who originally confirmed the date, not knowing she had a fundraiser scheduled for that night.

The civic said on Facebook Pilip’s campaign has been offered a night for a meet and greet of her own, which has not been answered. Pilip’s campaign spokesman Brian Devine denied receiving a request from the civic at this time but told Blank Slate Media they are open to exploring the option further if the civic does reach out. 

The questions Suozzi was asked were from civic members, who submitted them to a moderator ahead of the event and allowed the former Congressman a set amount of time to answer each one. 

In response to many of the questions, Suozzi spoke about his past work in the House, sponsoring or co-sponsoring bills to help lower taxes, increase the affordability in the area or help combat pollution on Long Island.

The former Nassau County executive said the complex problems that the world, country and district face require finding common ground. Suozzi also cited a recent Newsday article that said he “took center lane” during his time in the House. 

“Anybody who says to you ‘Why don’t you just…’doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” Suozzi said. “Every problem is complicated and you cannot solve complicated problems in an environment of fear and anger with everyone yelling at each other.”

On Israel and Ukraine, Suozzi affirmed that he supports continued aid for both countries. In a previous interview with Blank Slate Media, Suozzi said is in favor of a two-state solution for Israel and Palestinians.

Suozzi also reaffirmed that he will be an advocate of increasing the cap on state and local tax deductions, known as the SALT cap, which passed the House multiple times during his time in Washington but never the Senate. 

Suozzi said his bipartisan solution to help solve the migrant crisis at the southern border would be to build an Ellis Island-type facility that can increase the efficiency of processing people when they come in.

“There are border crossings on the southern border that were built in the 1950s, most of them are dilapidated,” Suozzi said. 

Suozzi, who has a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood, said he supports a national codification of Roe v. Wade and securing the right to an abortion.

He said he also supports bans on assault weapons and the implementation of universal background checks.

Suozzi and his campaign have been critical of Pilip’s unwillingness to meet constituents or debate him in the district ahead of the special election.

Devine said in a statement to Blank Slate Media that Pilip’s schedule has quickly filled up, making the requested debate dates unworkable. He added that Pilip is working to accommodate as many media requests as possible.

“Mazi has prioritized spending time attending community events and meeting with voters throughout the 3rd District. She will continue to be an extremely visible presence in the district over the coming weeks, and voters will have plenty of opportunities to get to know her,” Devine said. “She is on the right side of the issues, from securing our borders to supporting the police and fixing our economy. In stark contrast, Tom Suozzi is spending millions of dollars in advertising trying to erase his track record as an extremist. The voters of CD-3 are smarter than Tom Suozzi gives them credit for and will see through his attempts to rewrite history and paint himself as a moderate.”

Suozzi is next scheduled to speak at a forum hosted by the Plainview-Old Bethpage, Syosset-Woodbury and Hicksville Chambers of Commerce on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 a.m. Pilip will be having a meet-and-greet Wednesday at 7 p.m. at American Legion Hall in Whitestone, Queens in an event hosted by New York City Councilwoman Vickie Paladino. 

Pilip on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. will also be speaking at an event in Manhattan with The New York Sun. She will speak with the associate editor of the publication, A.R. Hoffman, in the event reserved for “Sun Founder” subscribers, who pay $2,500 a year to become members.

A previous version of this story was published. It has since been updated. 

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