Following his victory in last month’s Democratic primary to face off against state Sen. Jack Martins in the Third Congressional District race, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi said he wanted to give back to those who have supported him.
Suozzi, who held a barbecue “rally” at the Great Neck Social Center Tuesday evening, said that while elected officials and those running for office get all the face time, it is the work of people involved with the party that makes the difference in elections.
“The real reason we’re here today is to thank all the committee people that carried petitions and did the legwork to make this happen,” he said.
Suozzi won the Democratic nomination on June 28 to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. Steve Israel in the Third Congressional District by defeating Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern, former North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman, North Hempstead Town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan and Jericho attorney Jonathan Clarke.
Kaiman, who was at Tuesday’s rally, pledged his full support for Suozzi as he heads toward the general election.
“It’s never about any one of us,” he said. “It’s about the goals that we have and what we believe in.”
Kaiman said that although he “wanted to win,” the goal was to ensure that a Democrat was elected to Congress.
U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House Democratic whip who attended in support of Suozzi, thanked Kaiman for “bringing the party together” despite losing the primary.
Hoyer said that Suozzi was the right candidate for Congress because of his history of making “tough decisions.”
“Tom Suozzi has been in the firing line,” he said. “Tom will be one of the leaders in making the Congress work for the people.”
Hoyer spoke about the importance of November’s election and said that Republican administrations typically leave the country struggling, while Democratic administrations help everyone prosper.
He said that while the Third Congressional District election was important, it was more important to ensure that Hillary Clinton becomes the next president.
“The most important election is not Steny Hoyer’s, it’s not Tom Suozzi’s, it’s not Kathleen Rice’s. They’re all important,” Hoyer said. “Electing Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States will make a difference for history, for our children and for anybody standing here.”
Republicans, he said, have a “survival of the fittest” mindset that often leaves large groups of people “on their own” with no representation.
Suozzi agreed with Hoyer, saying that it would take a group effort to win the elections.
“This is such an important fight and if we’re not all unified as one, as Democrats, we’re never going to make it,” he said.
Former and current elected officials attended the rally including U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice, former U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, North Hempstead Town Councilmembers Peter Zuckerman, Lee Seeman and Viviana Russell, the North Hempstead receiver of taxes, Charles Berman, former Nassau County Comptroller Howard Weitzman, Nassau County Legislator Ellen Birnbaum, the North Hempstead Democratic Party chairman, John Ryan, Village of Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender, the Seventh Senate District candidate Adam Haber and the 16th Assembly District candidate Anthony D’Urso.