By Mark Hallum
Democratic candidate for Congress Tom Suozzi received an endorsement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo as Election Day nears, but the official announcement scheduled for Verdi’s Restaurant in Whitestone was canceled due to the death of Suozzi’s father, Joseph Suozzi, overnight on Sunday.
The former Nassau County supervisor has shifted the focus of his campaign to Queens as he celebrated the opening of a campaign office in Queens Sunday morning with state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), City Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) and state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows).
“I’m working very hard to be the Queens candidate. I know that this is a very important part of the district for me politically as well as the fact that I just like it here ,” Suozzi, whose father was an Italian immigrant, said at the opening. “My mother grew up in Queens also and this is a very important part for me. I want to win big in Queens.”
Suozzi said the district is 50/50 in terms of political affiliations, but Democrats significantly outnumber Republicans in Queens. He added that issues which are important to right-wing voters are something he still would like to address in the northeastern section of the borough, which falls into the 13th Congressional District covering Nassau and Suffolk counties as well.
According to a Newsday/Sienna College poll, Suozzi has pulled ahead of his opponent, state Sen. Jack Martins (D-Mineola), by 16 points. They are competing for the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Melville).
According to Newsday, Joseph Suozzi was born in Ruvo del Monte, Italy in 1921 and emigrated in 1925.
He served as a navigator on a B-25 bomber over his native country in the European Theatre during World War II. He flew 30 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal, Newsday reported.
He served as the mayor of Glen Cove and two terms as a state Supreme Court justice. He was later appointed an appellate division justice.
At 95, he died of natural causes, the Suozzi family told Newsday.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall