Nassau County Executive Laura Curran launched her re-election campaign last week, nearly two months after the county’s Republican Party announced that Town of Hempstead Councilman Bruce Blakeman would be running for her post.
“I’ve served as the Nassau County Executive for more than three years,” Curran said in a statement. “In that time, I’ve worked hard to build the honest, effective government that you deserve.”
Curran, a 53-year Democrat and Baldwin resident, has served as county executive since she defeated former Republican state Sen. Jack Martins in 2017. The former county legislator echoed calls for fiscal responsibility and transparent government that she made in her previous campaign.
“Back in 2017, I based my candidacy on a simple idea: government should be accountable to voters,” Curran said. “For too long, Nassau County had been ruled by a network of favors and corruption, benefiting few and leaving taxpayers with the bill.”
Jay Jacobs, the chairman of the county and state’s Democratic committee, touted Curran’s accomplishments as county executive in a news conference last week. Jacobs cited Curran’s “honesty and authenticity” in her role as county executive before and during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have a county executive that has demonstrated that, in Nassau County, it is possible to govern honestly and have a straightforward, favoritism-free way of running this county,” Jacobs said. “We also have someone who, over the past three years, has engaged in real government, unafraid to take on the hard issues or do things that other people would not do, and lead when leadership was required.”
Officials from the Curran campaign said the three priorities she wishes to address if re-elected this fall are to ensure fair and equitable access to the coronavirus vaccine, continue to reopen businesses affected by the pandemic and create more than 3,000 jobs through various infrastructure projects.
“I’ve worked hard to make sure that throughout it all, Nassau County remains a place where families can thrive and where communities remain united,” Curran said. “That’s why I’ve worked hard to support entrepreneurship and business in Nassau County. It’s why during the pandemic, I worked to get loans to businesses in need, helping to make sure they were able to stay afloat.”
Blakeman announced his candidacy in mid-March. A 65-year-old Atlantic Beach resident, he was appointed to the Hempstead town council in 1993 and served through 1995 before ultimately being reappointed in 2015.
In the interim, Blakeman served as the County Legislature’s presiding officer from 1996 to 1999. Along with experience as an attorney in the private sector, Blakeman served as commissioner of the Port Authority and the liaison between Nassau County’s Republican Party and former President Donald Trump.
Blakeman and the Nassau County Republican Party have criticized Curran’s handling of property tax reassessment. According to statistics provided by Newsday, more than 214,000 homeowners throughout the county saw an increase in their school taxes in 2020, compared with 115,000 who received reductions.
“I’m running for County Executive to protect taxpayers and your family’s safety,” Blakeman said. “Laura Curran hiked taxes on 65% of homeowners and tried to kick law enforcement out of their headquarters at the county jail. It’s wrong!”
Curran called for the reassessment of approximately 400,000 homes in 2018 after the county’s assessment roll had been frozen since 2008. During that period, thousands of residents filed grievances on the value of their homes, winning reduced assessments and shifting the tax burden to others who did not challenge their assessments. Jacobs defended the necessity for the reassessment, spearheaded by Curran.
“If we did nothing, 100% of homes would have their taxes go up,” Jacobs said. “This is something that needed to happen and the Republicans know it. They broke it and Laura Curran fixed it.”