With his alma mater North Babylon High School in the background, Babylon Town Supervisor Steve Bellone officially announced his candidacy for Suffolk County Executive.
During a rally Wednesday at the North Babylon Fire Department headquarters across from the high school, the Democrat spoke of his working class upbringing in North Babylon and how his ability to listen to the concerns of local residents has been key to governing at the town level.
“I’ve been listening and learning and now is the time to lead,” he said. “It is my intention to become the next Suffolk County Executive and bring strong and inclusive leadership.”
During the past month, Bellone, 41, has been on a “listening and learning” tour of the county, speaking with various groups from the east end to Amityville. He said the feedback he has received led to his decision to run.
“We live in a county that is lacking only strong and inclusive leadership,” he said, adding “by listening and leading we have done it in Babylon and we will do it in Suffolk County.”
While Bellone is the presumptive Democratic nominee for county executive, who he will face this November remains unknown. County Treasurer Angie Carpenter recently announced her intention to seek the GOP nomination. In addition, Suffolk Commissioner of Jurors Michael O’Donohoe has said he will seek the Conservative Party nomination.
As he begins his run for county executive, Bellone told Patch his first priority, if elected, would be to solve the county’s “fiscal crisis” and start protecting county taxpayers.
“I’ll do what I did in Babylon and do an analysis of each department and break down what each is doing and how it can be done better and cheaper. We did it in Babylon and we’re dong more for less,” he said, adding that Suffolk County currently has a $180 million structural deficit and is $1 billion in debt.
“In Babylon we delivered a 5 percent tax cut and reduced debt by 15 percent,” he noted. “That’s the model we need to follow.”