U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) endorsed Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan (D-Woodbury) to fill his seat in Congress in a video published Monday.
Suozzi, the current representative for the state’s 3rd Congressional District, praised Lafazan for being a “common-sense Democrat” in the video, saying that Congress is in need of someone who will use the resources at their disposal to aid their constituents.
“We need someone who has a proven record of getting things done, someone who will stand up to people who say they want to defund the police, someone who will use common sense to get things done on behalf of the people they serve,” Suozzi said in the video. “That’s why I would like to see Josh Lafsazan as a member of Congress representing the Third Congressional district.”
At the age of 23, Lafazan became Nassau County’s youngest-ever legislator upon his election to the Nassau County Legislature in November 2017. In previous elections, Lafazan ran as an independent who caucused with the Democrats. He has since re-enrolled as a Democrat for his congressional run.
Lafazan said Suozzi’s endorsement is the “highlight” of his campaigning so far. The legislator said he understands the “big shoes” that need to be filled and he greatly appreciated Suozzi’s backing.
“Tom Suozzi has served this district with distinction and common sense,” Lafazan said. “Time and time again he has delivered for his constituents and they will expect nothing less from the next member of Congress who will represent them. I am deeply humbled by Tom’s confidence in me. His endorsement is the most consequential of the election and it means the world to me.”
Suozzi is coming off a failed run in the gubernatorial primary, losing to Gov. Kathy Hochul in late June, and will not be running to retain his seat in Congress. New district maps were submitted recently by a court-appointed special master and have been viewed as more neutral compared to ones that were rejected by the state Appeals Court several weeks ago.
While the 3rd Congressional District under the new proposal does not extend as far west as the Bronx or Westchester, it does stretch to more southern parts of Nassau County such as Hicksville and Massapequa. The new lines do exclude the parts of the district that now stretch into Suffolk County, mainly Huntington and Smithtown.
Also running for the Democratic nomination in the district are Robert Zimmerman of Great Neck, Melanie D’Arrigo of Port Washington, Reema Rasool of Oyster Bay, state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi and former North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman of Great Neck.
The Republican nomination is being sought by George Santos.
Former NYC City Council Member and labor activist I. Daneek Miller, along with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Locals 1056 and 1179, expressed their support for Kaiman last week.
“As the former City Council member from the 27th Council District and co-chair of its progressive Caucus, Daneek commands respect from his colleagues and is well known as a strong advocate on the issues that matter for working families,” said Kaiman. “This includes transit equity, housing, jobs, education and justice at all levels of government.”
Kaiman ran North Hempstead from 2004 to 2013. He has served as Suffolk County’s deputy executive since 2017.
Mark Henry, the president of ATU 1056, described him as a defender of their common values and principles.
“Jon Kaiman best understands the pressing needs of the working families and working people of District 3 and Queens,” he said, “where our members work and many also live and which remains primarily bus dependent more than reliant on subways and rails.”
Kaiman said he is running to restore the Democratic Party’s founding principles. Following his meetings with the union boards, he reaffirmed his dedication to northeast Queens.
“Improvement to transit infrastructure, especially bus service in northeast Queens, is essential to a recovering economy,” he said. “As a representative in Congress, I pledge to advocate for the need for major transit projects and the funding necessary to ensure the safety of our public transportation employees.”
His most notable endorsement is Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. Bellone has called Kaiman one of the most effective politicians in the state.
Zimmerman’s campaign recently announced an endorsement from the New York State AFL-CIO as he runs in the Democratic primary for the 3rd CD.
The union is a federation of 3,000 affiliated public sector, private sector and building trades unions throughout the state, representing 2.5 million members, retirees and their families. In their announcement of the 2022 endorsement slate, the union said they “carefully researched candidates before making these recommendations as the best choices for working people in New York State.”
Zimmerman has referred to himself as the candidate of organized labor in the primary race.
“I’m honored and proud to announce that I’ve been endorsed by the New York State AFL-CIO. Union values are core American values and organized labor is the backbone of our country and our communities here in NY-03. I am proud to be the candidate of organized labor in this race. Labor will always be my partner and have a seat at the table for as long as I serve in Congress, and I am ready to be a tireless advocate and fighter for working families. From fighting to pass the PRO Act to advocating for fair pay, safe workplace conditions, and better benefits – protecting working families will be my priority in DC.”
Additional unions to endorse Zimmerman include New York State United Teachers, Retail Wholesale & Department Store Union, Retail Wholesale & Department Store Union Local 338, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500, District Council 9, International Union of Painters & Allied Trades, National Postal Mail Handlers Union Local 300 and the American Federation of Government Employees District 2
Zimmerman is co-president of ZE Creative Communications on Bond Street in Great Neck, a public relations firm he started 33 years ago with Ron Edelson.
If elected, Zimmerman would become the first openly gay member of Congress from Long Island and Queens. Other endorsements for Zimmerman’s campaign have come from former Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Assemblyman Charles Lavine and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.