Long Island First is endorsing Jack Martins for Nassau County Executive and Steve Labriola for Nassau County Comptroller

Nassau County voters go to the polls on November 7th and they must do so with an eye towards the future. Nassau’s next County Executive will face a series of generation defining issues — high taxes, mismanaged finances and a middle class squeeze exacerbated by stagnant wages and aging infrastructure. Voters must ask themselves which candidate has the experience and ideas to face these challenges while restoring integrity in the county government. The answer is clear — Jack Martins is the right choice for Nassau County Executive.

Martins’s experience runs deep. During his time as Mayor of Mineola, he was praised for his consistently responsible budgets and redevelopment plans that put the village on solid financial grounds and in a position for economic growth. As State Senator, Martins focused on legislation that would aim to ease the tax burden on middle class Long Islanders — including the property tax cap — and punish corrupt politicians by stripping them of their taxpayer-funded pensions. These achievements not only provide Martins with lessons that can help guide him in confronting Nassau’s challenges but they also show that he believes in the core set of policies that will drive the solutions to the county’s most difficult problems.

Martins’s economic plan aims to increase opportunity to middle class Long Islanders. Central to this is his goal of wrestling back fiscal control from the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) — an institution designed to oversee a county that was once in deep fiscal trouble. As the county has stepped back from the brink of disaster, NIFA’s usefulness has passed and it is become another case of increased state control over local issues. This has handcuffed Nassau County, resulting in increased uncertainty and missed economic opportunities. Martins’s history of responsible fiscal management and his history of working with lawmakers in Albany position him well to achieve his goal of eliminating NIFA in two years.

Martins has made it clear that he will achieve his fiscal goals while providing middle class families in Nassau County with increased opportunities. His plan to fix Nassau’s property tax assessment system would put the county on a path towards a fairer system versus the one dominated by special interests today. He has also recognized the need to attract innovative companies to Nassau County to give the middle class opportunities at higher wages and steady jobs as the economy evolves on the back of further technological advancements. This will be made much easier over time without the threat of NIFA interfering with local decisions, and as a result, will make Nassau County a place where our kids can comfortably build their careers and raise their families.

Martins’s Democratic opponent — County Legislator Laura Curran — meanwhile has made ethics reform the focal point of her campaign — pointing to current County Executive Ed Mangano as evidence that local Republicans have created a culture of corruption in Nassau County. There are a number of problems with that argument — not least of which is that Mangano is not on the ticket and Republicans have disavowed him in every way possible. Furthermore, a brief look back in time suggests that corruption is not exclusive to Republicans or even Nassau County. New York has been infected with a disease driven by personal greed that has spread across the state and across parties. Unfortunately, Curran’s tough talk on corruption softens when the ills of her own party are brought to the foreground. As a result, it is fair to ask whether Curran can really change the culture or whether she simply finds it to be a useful campaign slogan. With few other substantive ideas to address the critical challenges that Nassau faces, Curran has not offered enough to show that she is the best choice for the job.

In the County Comptroller race, GOP candidate Steve Labriola has laid out an in-depth plan to protect Nassau taxpayers and restore confidence in the way the county government does business. Bringing with him specifics on a whistleblower hotline, anti-fraud unit and increased audits, Labriola has connected with middle class taxpayers starving for accountability from their government. Meanwhile, Labriola’s Democratic opponent Jack Schnirman spent most of the summer beating back ethics charges from a city management association that, in simple terms, accused him of using his position as Long Beach city manager inappropriately in connection with the current campaign. That is the exact thing that we want to avoid from future county officials. Beyond that, Schnirman has fallen back on the same talking points that are being used by his fellow Democrats this cycle and as a result has missed an opportunity to separate himself as someone who can more effectively bring increased transparency to county government. Taken together, it is clear that Steve Labriola is the right choice for Nassau County Comptroller.

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