A Year Of Political Spats

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Local and state officials respond to war in Middle East

In 2023, Nassau County residents observed political controversy among local and national leaders. It was a year defined by upheaval in Congress and spats between local politicians.
Here are Anton Media Group’s picks for 2023’s political highlights:

Ex-Congressman George Santos
Now-former NY-03 Congressman George Santos was expelled from the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 1, less than a year into his two-year term, with a vote of 311 in favor and 114 against. He was one of only a handful in history to do so. He faced the expulsion vote just a few weeks after the House Ethics Committee released a mostly negative 56-page report on his actions during and after the 2022 campaign.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul formally announced on Dec. 5 that a special election would be held on February 13, 2024, to fill the seat vacated by Santos, that date being within 70 to 80 days of his departure, as per U.S. law.
Las Vegas Sands
On May 22, the Nassau County Legislature voted to approve a lease contract between Las Vegas Sands and Nassau County for Sands’ use of lands surrounding the Nassau Hub for a casino and entertainment complex, pending Sands’ receipt of a casino license from the New York State Gaming Commission.
The vote, which was 17-1 in favor of approval, followed months of public campaigning for and against the new casino.

Harry Chapin Concert
In August, news broke that the annual Harry Chapin tribute concert at Eisenhower Park’s Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre, postponed from July 16 due to rain, had been canceled due to conflicts between organizers, performers, and county leadership.
Before the re-scheduled concert, longtime show organizer and musician Stuart Markus and various musicians noticed that new signage in the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre seemed to make Bruce Blakeman’s name more the focus than Harry Chapin’s.
In a letter, Blakeman accused Markus of taking issue with his political identification rather than the signs. Legislator Arnold Drucker has also taken issue with how Blakeman has associated himself with the concert series and Legislator Joshua Lafazan chimed in, proposing a bill removing local officials’ names from unrelated public signage.

Response to the Israel-Hamas war
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman was the lead speaker at rallies showing support for Israel after the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas.
Blakeman assured county residents that all necessary precautions had been carried out, adding that all special units have been activated, including mounted police, the canine unit, aviation and emergency services, and the Bureau of Special Operations.
Since the attacks, pro-Israel and Palestine rallies have been seen across Long Island and New York City.
State and local politicians, including New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul and Sen. Charles Schumer, quickly and forcefully denounced the attack.
Politicians have also been speaking out against about a rise of antisemitism on college campuses.

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