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Nassau County Executive’s Remark on Gov. Kathy Leads to Tensed Environment

Nassau County’s Executive remark ‘Stay out of Long Island,’ led to a heated conversation between him and Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday, Jan 5.

Bruce Blakeman, the Executive of Nassau County as well as a Republican, commented during a public meeting on Long Island on the governor, a Democrat after they had successfully defeated the Democrats in last year’s election, controlling major elected offices on the Island. The discussion was held in Woodbury, while the two were addressing a group of business leaders and officials.

The background

The main reason for the heated argument is the November 2023 elections where the Republicans control major local offices including Nassau County where Blakeman serves. The win created a conflict between the local Republican officials and the Democrat-led state government under Hochul.

Along with that, Blakeman complained about funding for Island, he said that they were getting insufficient support from Albany, referring to the policies imposed by the state government that demanded the local authorities to fulfil certain standards without any proper funding provisions. The decision affected the local governments like Nassau County to adjust by raising taxes and cutting services.

He also argued about the Bail reforms that were introduced by the Albany Democrats in 2019, limiting judge’s power to issue bail for non-violent crimes, leading to less influence on law enforcement and risk of high criminal activity. He felt the insufficient involvement of the local law firms regarding the matter.

According to him, the Democrats forcefully held local elections in odd years, a misuse of their authority and ignorance of the Long Islanders, to boost Democratic voters. “Well, they’re facts,” Blakeman had told The Post.

The Governor’s Response

She snapped back saying, “Should I just walk off the stage right now?” after Blakeman concluded his panel discussion.

Later she responded to his remark with a playful jab which meant quite a few things while lightening the mood of the discussion. 

The state authorized funding to the local bodies on which Blakeman was concerned due to the State’s financial neglect towards local governments, even though Long Island contributed remarkably to the state revenue.

She subtly indicated that the state had the ultimate power over fund distributions. The comment was made at a crucial time, just days before her state budget proposal for 2024-2025, while emphasizing on the fact that she was personally attached to Long Island and its people and always committed to serve it. 

The coming Budget 

The budget for the years 2024 and 2025 is a crucial event for Long Island regarding its development. The focus areas include public education and economic development. Blakeman’s comment and the disagreement that followed might impact the budgeting for Long Island.

The tension between the two has a history of disagreements concerning various issues which adds to the ongoing rife between local and state level government regarding policy making and implementation along with finance distribution. Long Island’s fight for balance of power has continuously tensed the situation between the two governing bodies. It not only indicates the strained relations but at large talks about Republicans and Democrats fight for power.

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