“I have yet to meet a single taxpayer who thinks Suffolk’s is an affordable place to live and they know exactly who to blame,” Kennedy said during one of his many campaign stops for the November election. “Excitement is building because the voters know that after Steve Bellone’s 22 years as a politician raising taxes and fees, they finally have a chance to send him packing.”
Bellone’s failure to protect Suffolk’s hard-working families is glaring and has led to his rightful nickname, “Big Tax Bellone.” He has rewritten the book on how to fleece the taxpayers to pay for his big government and wasteful policies.
In a desperate attempt to cover his massive spending, Bellone sold the county nursing home in Yaphank for pennies on the dollar to a political supporter. He then sold the H. Lee Dennison county office building and rented it back at skyrocket rates.
Bellone hiked fees on everything from recording mortgages to using our own parks and, in one of the most loathed money grabs by any politician in Suffolk history, set up red light cameras across the county and is fighting to keep them in place even after it was proven that they increased fatalities. He even blew $250,000 on a rigged study that couldn’t help but to conclude that the cameras are unsafe.
Though Bellone has collected millions in campaign contributions from those who do business with the county, Kennedy is making it a highly competitive race with small contributions from average citizens who have had enough.
“Steve Bellone has one big problem in getting reelected,” Kennedy’s supporters say. “His record.”
“Big Tax Bellone’s financial mismanagement and picking of our pockets must stop,” Kennedy tells the huge crowds at his rallies and campaign events. “We have a golden opportunity to bring financial sanity back to our county by showing Bellone the door in November.”
As County Comptroller, Kennedy battles Bellone every day. His audits of Bellone’s spending have saved millions of dollars and he is leading the opposition to Bellone’s attempt to illegally strip both the County Comptroller and the County Legislature of their powers to oversee county finances.
“This is a radical attempt by Bellone to hide the fact that the county is facing a severe fiscal crisis and we won’t stand for it,” said Kennedy, who has the backing of the county’s Republican, Conservative, and Independent voters.
“Steve Bellone won’t talk about the fact that he created a political army by hiring millions of dollars worth of patronage employees on the county dollar, many from Nassau County, to serve as campaign workers for his reelection,” Kennedy points out. “I have news for him: I have a bigger army—tens of thousands of taxpayers who are tired of picking up the tab.”
Unlike Big Tax Bellone, John Kennedy has a long record of fighting for Suffolk taxpayers. When he served as a County Legislator, Newsday called him “a pragmatic, independent thinker. The kind that Suffolk needs.” He’s been a proven fiscal watchdog, sponsoring legislation to create new revenue and cut spending while maintaining critical county services, all with no general fund tax increases.
He also passed pivotal legislation benefiting our veterans, preserving local open space, and protecting our groundwater and local ecosystems.
John was elected Comptroller in 2014. In this role, he is Suffolk’s Chief Fiscal Officer charged with auditing county departments and nonprofit agencies funded by the taxpayers. Through his audits, he’s saved millions that would have otherwise been wasted by Steve Bellone. In 2016, John also took over the duties of the County Treasurer in a move that consolidated government and saved even more taxpayer dollars.
“I’ve saved over $20 million as Comptroller,” Kennedy says. “Imagine what I can do as County Executive.”
John knows the system of revenue flow; where and how our tax dollars are spent. He has a clear-eyed view of the county’s problems, both fiscally and operationally. He served for more than 25 years in the County Executive and Clerk’s office and was as a high-ranking member of the Legislature.
John’s government priorities reflect his values, values that were instilled in him by his mother Joan and his late father, Jack Kennedy, former head of the Nassau-Suffolk Building Trades Council. As a public servant, John recognizes that difficult times require elected officials who are willing to fight for the taxpayers, not just go along to get along.
This is a reason why hard-working families, many of them members of Long Island’s unionized workforce, have come out to support him. “We’re not the Kennedys of silver spoons,” he notes. “We are the working-class Kennedys and we will take back our county for the overtaxed families of Suffolk.”
A lifelong county resident, John lives in Nesconset with wife Leslie, who succeeded him as Legislator in the 12th Legislative district and keeps up the fight against Bellone on taxes and spending. They have four adult children and seven grandchildren.
John has modeled his life on public service earning MBA in Finance and Capital Budgeting, as well as a Juris Doctorate from St. John’s University.
John’s experience, education and relentless drive to make Suffolk more affordable so generations to come can enjoy all that our county has to offer makes him our best chance to #SaveSuffolk.