Part of Rep. Thomas Suozzi’s constant pitch in his underdog Democratic primary run for governor is that he’s unafraid to confront problems plaguing everyday people that other politicians — particularly his rival, Gov. Kathy Hochul — avoid as too hazardous to wrestle with, including crime and taxes.
Meeting for more than an hour with the Newsday editorial board Tuesday, the congressman from Glen Cove said he believes the state should take over more of the burden for school funding, “but it’s got to be tied to actually reducing property taxes” over several years. And hard state mandates should become guidelines, he said.
But when reminded that many of the costlier mandates are related to special education — a political third rail — Suozzi replied: “I’ve been dealing with third rails in politics as you know [for] my entire career. The way to change things is to deal with third rails.” He flagged past issues he pushed, from capping county Medicaid costs to downtown developments to environmental cleanups.
“I’m Mr. Third Rail,” he said.