Op-ed: Why I’m supporting Tom Suozzi for Congress

Tom Suozzi
Suozzi for Congress 2024

Tom Suozzi has a great record supporting environmental conservation and restoration on Long Island. He deserves our support in the Feb. 13, 2024, special election to fill the 3rd District Congressional seat left vacant when George Santos was expelled.

As a three-term Congressman who previously represented this district, Tom Suozzi delivered extraordinary results for Long Island’s environment. He led a bipartisan coalition of Representatives from New York and Connecticut to achieve an amazing ten-fold increase in annual federal funding for Long Island Sound improvements, from $4 million a year in 2016 to $40 million a year in 2022! He then worked hard to ensure that $105 million in additional Long Island Sound funding was included in the landmark 2022 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

This federal funding comes through the Long Island Sound Study (LISS) program, a remarkably successful partnership of federal, state and local governments, academia and other stakeholders. The LISS has made dramatic progress in reducing excessive nutrients from sewage treatment plants and other sources; restoring critical wildlife habitat; enhancing public participation and education; and conducting water quality monitoring to support the science needed to design effective projects and measure the results to confirm they are working.

In 2021, when Congressionally Directed Grant Awards (known colloquially as “Earmarks”) were reinstituted for the first time in over a decade, Congressman Suozzi reached out to local civic, environmental and conservation groups to find out what projects would be most environmentally beneficial and would have strong local support. As a result, he directed $600,000 to three environmental improvement projects in the Little Neck Bay watershed in northeastern Queens County.

Two of these will help pay for projects in Bayside, Queens, to direct rainwater into streetside rain gardens instead of into our overloaded sewer system. The third will help support the “Big Rock” project in Udalls Cove (the eastern arm of Little Neck Bay, on the Nassau/Queens border), an important erosion control and wetlands restoration project with a total cost of over $4 million, much of which is being provided through the LISS.

Tom Suozzi has a proven track record of achieving bipartisan results for Long Island’s environment. He can be counted on to continue this important work when he returns to Congress.

Walter Mugdan is President of the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee, a conservation group active in the western part of the 3rd Congressional District, straddling the Nassau/Queens border.  The opinions expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.