Hempstead Republican Councilor Bruce Blakeman, a perennial figure in local and regional politics, will run for Nassau County executive in November challenging incumbent Democrat Laura Curran.
Blakeman, 65, of Atlantic Beach is a retired private sector attorney and management consultant who was first appointed to Hempstead City Council in 1993. In 1996, he became the first chairman of the Nassau County Legislature after the county left the previous board of the Regulatory Structure.
Blakeman was once a Port Authority Commissioner and has sought several elected posts over the past three decades.
Blakeman said if elected he would “bring fairness back to” [property] Nassau Rating System “and finding new ways to stimulate economic growth and increase the county’s tax base.
“I’m focusing on the tax burden on the average person in Nassau,” Blakeman said. “There’s only so much you can take in.”
Joseph Cairo, chairman of the Nassau Republican Committee, said the GOP is “excited” that Blakeman is leading the ticket this year.
Cairo said Blakeman
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“has a plan that will stop the current government’s tax increases, promote responsible development in our region and protect our environmental assets.”
Cairo said with 65% of Nassau property owners seeing increased property taxes, Blakeman will “fix” the Curran government’s nationwide revaluation program.
The Curran campaign directed questions to Nassau state and Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs, who called Blakeman “another career politician who would lead us backwards.”
Jacobs also accused Blakeman of supporting former President Donald Trump.
“Bruce Blakeman has to answer the question of whether or not he thinks the last election is legitimate before asking Nassau voters to consider him in the next election,” Jacobs said.
Blakeman said he was “humiliated” by the support of the Nassau GOP, particularly in the race against Curran, an incumbent seeking a second term.
“I wouldn’t run if I didn’t think I was going to win,” said Blakeman.
Blakeman’s political career includes several unsuccessful offers for elected office.
In 1998 Blakeman ran unsuccessfully against the Democratic State Comptroller H. Carl McCall.
A decade later, a resident of Manhattan, Blakeman, threw his hat into the ring in a short, long race against New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, then a Republican. Blakeman eventually retired and supported Bloomberg for a third term.
In 2010 Blakeman ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). In 2014, MP Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) defeated Blakeman in the race for the vacant seat of Democratic MP Carolyn McCarthy.
Blakeman holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Arizona State University and a law degree from California Western School of Law.
He is married to Segal Magori Blakeman, a lawyer who worked in the county housing division under former county executive Edward Mangano.
Blakeman has a son, Arlen, from his first marriage to Nancy Shevell. Shevell is married to the musician Paul McCartney.
Candice Ferrette reports on the government and politics of Nassau County on Long Island. She has been a reporter at Newsday since 2011.