How Long Island Republicans Can Win in 2017 and Beyond
Main Idea: Republicans must rebuild trust with voters and focus on the issues important to middle class families on Long Island — Taxes, Jobs, Education
Last month, Nassau County GOP Chairman Joseph Mondello declared “My job is to win” as he recounted his decision not to back disgraced County Executive Ed Mangano for a third term in 2017. You have to give it to Mondello. He has a long history of doing his job — leading the Republican Party to victory at the ballot box election after election.
However, his job has gotten much more difficult in recent years thanks to the self inflicted wounds from some of the most prominent local members of the party. Not too long ago, the idea of John Brooks and Todd Kaminsky both holding State Senate seats representing areas on the south shore would have been too far fetched even for the most optimistic Democrats in Nassau County.
This year, not only is Mangano’s seat up for grabs, but so is the Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor position formerly held by his partner in crime, John Venditto. Mondello certainly has his work cut out for him in 2017. So how can Republicans hold their own this year, and more importantly, how can they lay the groundwork for continued electoral dominance in the years to come?
Republicans: The Anti-Corruption Party
Republicans on Long Island, particularly in Nassau County, have to rebuild trust with the voters. Republicans cannot hide from the ghosts of Skelos, Mangano and Venditto. Voters will not forget the betrayal of these so called public servants. However, it is important to remember that corruption is rampant in New York politics and has even found its way into Governor Cuomo’s office. There is no reason to cede the anti-corruption mantle to Democrats.
Republicans should come out for strong anti-corruption measures across the board. Current Oyster Bay Supervisor Joe Saladino started down this path earlier this year by championing a new ethics board for the town. Long Island Republicans must look at actions taken by Saladino as a starting point, not an ending point in the fight against political corruption.
Beyond 2017, Mondello will need to look to a new generation of leaders who are not tainted by the likes of Skelos, Mangano and Venditto. The party needs to remove the rot that is threatening to infect the entire party. Mondello needs to invest in a youth movement that can be the foundation from which the party reconnects with the people.
Taxes, Jobs, Education
As Republicans in Nassau County confront the sins of their recent past, they must also turn back to the simple, core message that has been underlying its dominance for decades: Tax relief for homeowners, economic opportunity for middle class families and a world class education for our children.
Middle class families across Nassau County and Long Island more broadly are frustrated with the high cost of living and out of control taxes. They are tired of the pressure they face while trying to support themselves and provide a better life for their children and grandchildren. Republicans must continue to be the voice of the middle class — not only on the campaign trail but also in the halls of government on Long Island, in Albany and in Washington D.C.
Long Island First aims to drive the discussion around specific ideas to support middle class families on Long Island. We hope that Mr. Mondello and elected Republicans across the region will follow along, join the conversation and ultimately make a difference for the people of Long Island through their positions. Ultimately, that is how Republicans will continue to win over the longer term on Long Island.