Former state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Old Westbury) on Monday said he is “considering” entering the race for Nassau County Executive and reiterated his call for County Executive Edward Mangano to step down.
Martins has been widely rumored as a possible GOP candidate for the seat. He would not say when he will make a decision on whether to enter the race.
The remarks came after a wide-ranging speech on issues facing Nassau County, which Martins delivered at a breakfast held by the Mineola-based Kiwanis Club of County Seat at an IHOP in Williston Park.
“When you start seeing elected officials carted off and indicted, this shouldn’t be the new normal,” Martins said. “There’s no place in higher office for someone who’s been indicted.”
“There’s no provision to remove the county executive in the county charter,” Martins said. “There’s a provision in the constitution to remove the president. There should be a way to remove the county executive for cause.”
Martins, a resident and former mayor of Mineola, lost a U.S. House race last November against Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), a former Nassau County executive.
Martins depicted a Nassau County befallen by an opioid epidemic, under threat from gang violence and crippled by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, the county’s financial control board.
“For its first 100 years, Nassau County was a premier suburb in the country if not in the world,” Martins said, noting the county’s founding in 1899. “For the first 17 years of its second century, it’s been under the control of a board.”
“There’s nothing more undemocratic than a board that can tell elected officials what they can or cannot do with their responsibilities,” he added. “The quicker we can get rid of them, the better off we’ll be.”
Martins did acknowledge the financial duress that prompted the formation of the board in 2000.
The former state senator also hinted at the need for reform of the county’s property tax assessment system.
“We want to make sure we’re paying our fair share and our neighbors are paying their fair share,” he said.
A member of the Kiwanis Club of County Seat for 20 years, Martins downplayed the significance of an event that some may perceive as a rehearsal for the campaign.
“I’ve had the opportunity to do this a few times over the years,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to have a free exchange.”
In response to a question about when he would decide on his candidacy, Martins said, “When I do.”
Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran (D-Baldwin), a Democratic candidate for county executive, responded to news of Martins possible run with a rebuke of the former state senator and his party.
“It would be no surprise that a career politician like Jack Martins would be the Republican’s choice for county executive,” she said. “Just another anti-reform cog in their Nassau political machine.”