Election 2016: 3rd Congressional District

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Jack Martins
Jack Martins

Bipartisan Experience In Race

By Betsy Abraham

Jack Martins, the Republican candidate for the third district Congressional seat, said he knows he might be a new name to many in the district; however, the former Mineola mayor who is finishing his third term as Senator of the seventh district said he has plenty of experience and is ready to take on the issues affecting Long Islanders in Washington D.C.

“The issues that affect us come through D.C.-whether it’s the economy, national security, concerns about the environment and infrastructure. That coupled with the fact that Rep. [Steve] Israel decided he wasn’t running and it’s one of nine fair fight districts that doesn’t lean Republican or Democrat,” said Martins, on why he decided to run, adding that he already represents a significant portion of the Congressional district. “I’ve had good success working across the aisle in Albany. Bringing those efforts to D.C. is natural.”

During a recent roundtable at Anton Media Group, Martins emphasized his ability to work across the aisle, whether it’s in a polarized Congress or Senate.

“There’s a political time when we run as Republicans and Democrats, but after we get elected, it’s about finding common ground. We won’t agree on everything, but I have been able to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to promote issues on Long Island,” Martins said, pointing to bills he’s sponsored and worked on with Assemblymembers Michelle Schimel and Charles Lavine, as well as Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth, who are all Democrats.

One of his main areas of concern is the economy and job creation. He emphasized the need for workforce training and regulatory reform, to make it “easier and more efficient for people to succeed.”

“I’m concerned about creating conditions that will allow the economy to expand and creating conditions that will allow small businesses to succeed,” Martins said. “We need to create an environment that allows for jobs. Right now regulations are strangling our communities. I want people who want to succeed and invest in a businesses to be given the opportunity.”

Environmental protection is also on the forefront of Martins’ mind, and if elected, he said he’ll focus on bringing in more resources to preserve the Long Island Sound and transitioning to cleaner fossil fuels and renewable energy. As far as the Affordable Care Act, Martins is a fan of finding an alternative, before any type of vote or symbolic vote to repeal.

“[The Affordable Care Act] has become extremely expensive. There’s a tremendous amount of buyer’s remorse and there’s a real concern that the system is disintegrating because the funding stream allocated for it isn’t there,” Martins said. “We have to find a way to empower not the health insurer or health care provider, but the individuals themselves.”

Martins said he would continue to advocate for federal funding for more security in the New York metropolitan area and Long Island, areas he described as “prime targets” for attack. To address the national debt, Martins said he believes strongly in cutting taxes as an inducement in growing the economy.

“We’ve seen it done by past administrations, both Republican and Democrat,” Martins said. “We’re spending hundreds of billions per year and adding to the national deficit. We’re spending far more than we’re bringing in. We have to live within our means and revitalize an economy that is limping along.”

Martins said he is proud of his ability to leave every office-be it mayoral or senate-better than when he arrived and if elected to Congress, believes he has the experience to continue that good work.

“I understand the importance of getting things done, showing results and working across the aisle,” Martins said. “I’m not looking to run to Congress to run for something else. If you look at what I’ve done and why I’ve done it, the motivation has always been getting things done.”

Tom Suozzi
Tom Suozzi

Suozzi Fights The Status Quo

By Steve Mosco

Tom Suozzi, the former county executive and mayor of the city of Glen Cove, is back after a seven year break from public office with his sights set on the Third Congressional District.

Citing the current political climate, the Democratic nominee said that the vast majority of voters are discouraged mainly because of the in-fighting that takes place in Washington, D.C. and local government.

“Voters are discouraged, unhappy and pessimistic because we have been fighting about the same stuff in America for 30 years,” he said. “Why don’t things get fixed? They don’t get fixed because if you want to change the status quo, you have to accept the fact that someone is benefiting from the status quo. I have a proven history of fighting against the status quo. I have fought against very powerful forces, even my own party.”

Suozzi recalled starting the website, www.fixalbany.com, on which he said the Democrats in the Assembly and the Republicans in the Senate were both to blame for high property taxes on Long Island, while also railing against the high cost of Medicaid, among other issues.

“In the case of the Fix Albany website, I was dis-invited to the Democratic National Convention by Sheldon Silver because he was the chairman of the New York delegation, said Suozzi, adding that there are three imperatives to changing the status quo. “First, you need an answer. What are you going to change it to? Second, you need the guts to fight because when you want to change things, they are going to try to squash you like a bug and make you into a caricature. And most important, you need the ability to win the fight through navigating politics, bureaucracy and through building coalitions.”

Suozzi said his first step in building a coalition is to recruit like-minded Democrats and Republicans for a “band of doers,” where people of goodwill will work together to solve a litany of concerns. One of the chief concerns is how to make college affordable for parents sending their children to schools and for graduates as they are saddled with paying back astronomical loans.

“Right now, kids have loans with massive interest rates and they are not allowed to refinance. If they could refinance their loans, like we do with home mortgages or business loans, that would dramatically reduce people’s burden,” he said. “Second, community college should be free and available to more people. Then, we need to get public institutions, the state colleges, to be more affordable—but that is going to require money from the federal and state governments.”

During the campaign, Suozzi has held more than 20 individual town hall meetings, where residents of various communities could gather and ask questions. Suozzi said chief on the minds of residents is security—national, job and income security and security of democracy. Meanwhile, property taxes are always on the mind of Long Islanders, he said.

“Right now, we send tens of billions of dollars to the federal government more than we get back in aid,” he said. “This is because in the 1940s through the 1960s, we had to help our poor brothers and sisters in South Carolina and North Carolina and Florida because we’re the strong industrial states. The world has changed dramatically and those southern states are booming and we are subsidizing them.”

Should he win the election, Suozzi said his first 100 days would consist of tackling environmental issues and address the drugs, alcohol and mental health crisis. As for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Suozzi said he believes “we should mend it, not end it” and as for terrorist threats to the country, Suozzi said the key is to eliminate the country’s dependency on foreign oil.

“For 50 to 75 years, we’ve been manipulated the entire Middle East. One day we’re for Democracy, another day we’re hanging around with a dictator,” he said. “We need to say we don’t need your oil anymore, we never wanted your land and we don’t want your money, we just want everybody to stop killing each other.”

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