Meet The Candidates For The Third Congressional District

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By Julie Prisco and Jennifer Corr
editors@antonnews.com

Following former District 3 Congressman George Santos’s expulsion from the U.S. House of Representatives, a special election will be held on Feb. 13, 2024 to fill the vacancy. Nassau County Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (REP) and Former United States Representative Tom Suozzi (DEM) are running for the seat in Congress.

Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip (Photo from Legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip’s office)

Mazi Melesa Pilip (REP)

The daughter of Orthodox Jewish parents, Mazi Melesa Pilip grew up in a rural village in Ethiopia. At the age of 12, Pilip immigrated to Israel with her family and later entered the Israel Defense Force (IDF). Following her military service, Pilip earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Haifa and a master’s degree from Tel Aviv University.
After defending Israel’s freedom and attending college, Pilip immigrated to the United States and settled in Great Neck, where she would commit herself to giving back to her community and neighbors. Pilip was elected as the candidate of the Republican and Conservative parties to the Nassau County Legislature in 2021 and was re-elected in 2023.
As a member of the County Legislature, Pilip has made the revitalization of the broader Great Neck community a top priority, along with investments in public safety, access to quality health care and combatting antisemitism. Pilip and her husband, Adalbert, are the proud parents to their seven children. Learn more at maziforny.com
Q How are you going to repair
constituents’ trust in the office?
A “When somebody’s telling one thing, and then you’re finding so many other things, it is annoying, and unfortunately, there’s people like this. But now they see a mother of seven children who cares about this country, and I’m here to serve the people. I’m not looking for titles. I’m doing this because I care. A mother of seven children wanting to go to DC is showing people how bad it is in Congress right now and I’m going to help this nation go in the right direction.”
Q What issues are you most concerned about in District 3?
A “We’re going to talk about the borders, for example, Biden’s policy of open borders, and since he took over millions are coming in. The national security team is talking about drugs that are coming from the border, like the deadly fentanyl.”
“I immigrated twice. I understand how important immigration is and I welcome immigrants to have the American dream. My husband is a person who was born in Ukraine and came to this country, and we both received opportunities. I want this opportunity for others, however, it has to be in the right way.”
“As a country, if we are willing to bring people here, we have to have a plan in place. People are coming here for a better life. And if you don’t have the resources to give them what they need to become functional members of this country, it’s a big problem because you’re going to turn the people to crime. We need to have a better system to welcome those people.”
Q What’s the first official action you plan to take if elected?
A “I’m going to make my voice heard about border security, and I would like to restore SALT, the State and Local Tax Deduction for New Yorkers. We have a great delegation from New York who understand the importance of this exemption and I would like to join them and try to restore SALT.”
“All these policies of defunding the police and weakening our law enforcement, it’s a huge problem. If we don’t have law enforcement that’s going to be there to protect us as a people, as a nation, it’s going to be chaos.”
“Also, just internationally, the United States has a responsibility and a national interest to keep a strong army and hold others accountable. I want to make sure that we are continuing to support our international allies.”
Q What’s something you are proud of in your experience as an elected official that will help you in this position in Congress?
A “When I promise I deliver, and I think people really saw that in my two years as a legislator. I was fully engaged with our law enforcement. We were able to bring more police officers on the street to protect our communities. I was able to bring safety to my district, and I will continue to support our law enforcement. We have brought funds to villages for spade readers, flood mitigation and solar panels that the village wanted. When the village wanted other things, I was accessible. When I took office, I met every mayor, Democrat or Republican. I’m the legislator, and I’m here to serve everyone. This is what I did in two years, and that’s the reason why people are engaged with me and support me.”

Former Rep. Tom Suozzi
(Photo from Tom Suozzi’s office)

Tom Suozzi (DEM)

Trained as an attorney and CPA, Tom Suozzi began his life in public service when he was elected as mayor to the community he grew up in, Glen Cove, 30 years ago. He served as mayor for eight years before being elected as Nassau County Executive in 2001. During his tenure, Nassau’s crime rate was reduced and he was credited for helping Nassau County avoid a fiscal disaster. He was also named New York State’s Environmentalist of the Year by the League of Conservative Voters. In 2016, Suozzi was elected to Congress, where he focused on bipartisanship and served as the Vice Chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus. In that role, he helped negotiate the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, which invested billions of dollars to improve New York’s infrastructure. As Congressman, Suozzi helped bring federal funds back to Nassau and Queens, specifically funding the Long Island Sound, Bethpage Water District and New York State’s federal COVID funds. He also helped pass legislation to lower the cost of insulin and other prescription drugs.
Suozzi and his wife Helene reside in Glen Cove. They have three children. Visit suozziforcongress2024.com to learn more
Q How are you going to repair
constituents’ trust in the office?
A “It’s going to be very difficult. People are very, very discouraged by politics generally, and George Santos made it a lot worse. And I think my job is to listen to people about the issues that they care about and try to focus on getting things done in the areas that they are most concerned about.”
“I think that I’m fortunate that I have a long history with a lot of people in this district and they know me and I’m not a newcomer to them. I think I have some strong relationships now and I only hope to build on those.”
Q What issues are you most concerned about in District 3?
A “My constituents are most concerned about the cost of living, so what’s important to me is to get the state and local tax deduction back and continue trying to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. I’ve had some progress on that already.”
“I think people are very upset about the immigration crisis, and there has to be a bipartisan compromise. Every Republican and every Democratic president for the past 40 years, has failed to address this issue and there needs to be a bipartisan compromise. I laid out a bipartisan compromise in an op-ed piece in the New York Times, co-authored with Peter King. I will make that a priority if I get the opportunity to go back to Congress.”
“I’m also very concerned about Israel and Ukraine.”
Q What’s the first official action you plan to take if elected?
A “I’m going to ask [House Minority Leader and Leader of the House Democratic Caucus Congressman] Hakeem Jeffries to create a committee on bipartisanship to try to promote bipartisanship in the house. I’ve done that as part of the Problem Solvers Caucus, 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans who meet together to try to find common ground.”
Q What are you proud of in your experience as an elected official that will help you in this position in Congress?
A “I have a proven ability to get things done for my constituents and I have relationships, I have deep relationships, with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. I know how to navigate legislation and politics and to bring help back to the people of my district.”

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