By ROBERT TAUB
Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos announced Thursday at a press conference that he was switching parties to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party to run for Nassau County Executive in 2017.
Maragos, in his second term as county comptroller, was elected in 2009, and failed in his candidacy for United States Senate in 2012.
“We all aware that Nassau if facing major changes, multiple corruption allegations, and a costly tax assessment system,” Maragos said. “We cannot continue to bar off in order to pay our bills.”
Nassau County’s finances have taken a hit the past few years since Maragos first became comptroller, but he has implemented several policies to fatten the purse, including audit reports of the Nassau County Police Department, Long Island bus study, and audits for the county’s traffic and parking agency. These policies all contribute to increasing fees and fines that cost the taxpayers over $100 million a year.
“I am delighted that an elected countywide official has decided to join the Democratic Party,” said Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs. “This is a dire time for Nassau County and our residents to come together bring about the change necessary.”
Maragos conceded that the decision would provoke backlash from those calling out his principle. “I’m ready to face the criticism from both sides,” he said. “Believe me it’s not going to be a joy ride. It’s not an opportunity, but it’s all about public service, giving back, and putting Nassau County on the right track.”
“The outreach I’ve received from both sides has been extraordinary,” Maragos added in reference to those who supported him as a Republican and his switch to Democrat.
Several Nassau County residents showed their support for Maragos’s decision, some of whom have lived in the county for up to 30 years.
“What George is doing today is what our people do for family,” one of the supporters, a 26-year county resident said when alluding to their mutual Greek descent. “I admire what he is doing. It cost a lot of money to run, but you know what, if you want to change something you have to stand behind what you believe in and trust yourself and your government.”