State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on Wednesday endorsed Democrat Kathleen Rice in her bid for Congress, saying that she would fight for issues affecting middle class citizens throughout the 4th congressional district.
“Kathleen Rice is someone who has tremendous inner strength,” DiNapoli said at Rice’s campaign headquarters, located at 311 Nassau Blvd. in Garden City. “[Rice] is someone who’s going to make a mark on this office.”
DiNapoli, who is running for re-election against Republican and Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci, said Rice was someone who “will hit the ground running on all of the issues that people in this congressional district care about.”
The state comptroller, a resident of Great Neck Plaza who at age 18 was elected as a trustee in the Mineola Board of Education, praised the current Nassau County district attorney for her position on various issues, including women’s rights, income inequality, gun violence and foreign policy.
“This is a DA who is tough, strong and a very progressive candidate,” he said.
DiNapoli also praised Rice for promising to create jobs for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“She’s going to keep [veterans] as a special priority,” DiNapoli said.
Rice, in thanking DiNapoli for his endorsement, said she considered him a “friend,” in addition to a political ally.
“There isn’t a person in this state or in politics that I admire more than Tom,” Rice said.
Rice said in her speech that if elected to Congress, she would fight to extend tax cuts to the middle class, which, she said, would help restore the country’s economy.
“Part of the solution is to provide tax relief for those who need it most,” she said.
Rice said that she would fight to extend the Bush era tax cuts, but only for the middle class and provide tax relief for parents who are putting their children through college.
“These proposals will help middle-class families invest in their futures and improve their financial security so that they can help local businesses trying to put Americans back to work,” she said.
Rice blasted her Republican opponent Bruce Blakeman, who she said would fight to extend tax cuts for millionaires, which would put a financial strain on the middle class.
Rice added that Blakeman’s record as the former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature “spoke for itself,” saying that he raised property taxes and increased the county deficit to about $200 million.
“Bruce Blakeman can’t spend his life as a tax-raiser and deficit-grower and expect us to send him to Washington as a financial watchdog for the middle class,” she said. “I think the voters in this district know better than that.”
Matt Coleman, a spokesman for Blakeman’s campaign, said in an e-mail statement that “the record is clear, Bruce Blakeman consistently voted to cut taxes and spending.”
“It’s sad that Kathleen Rice has to reach back 15 years for issues to talk about in this campaign while she has maintained a stony silence on the many challenges facing middle class taxpayers in 2014,” Coleman added. “Rather than talk about creating jobs and improving the economy, Obamacare, Islamic terrorism at home and abroad, or her role as co-chair of the anti-corruption Moreland Commission that’s now under federal investigation for corruption, Kathleen Rice is resorting to a campaign of smear and distortion in order to avoid talking about what she would do in Washington.”
DiNapoli said that he was proud that Rice chose to run for Congress after Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) announced her intention to retire from political office in late January.
“She clearly could’ve continue [as district attorney] for as long as she wanted,” he said.
The 4th Congressional District covers Baldwin, Bellmore, East Meadow, the Five Towns, Lynbrook, Floral Park, Franklin Square, Garden City, Hempstead, Long Beach, Malverne, Merrick, Mineola, Carle Place, New Hyde Park, Oceanside, Rockville Centre, Roosevelt, Uniondale, West Hempstead and Westbury.