Honorary Chair - 2018
Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone
Steven Bellone was sworn into office as Suffolk County Executive on January 1, 2012. He was re-elected to a second term on November 3, 2015. Bellone is the 8th County Executive in County history, and previously served as Babylon Town Supervisor from 2001-2011. County Executive Bellone, who represents more than 1.5 million residents, has led the effort to make County government leaner, more cost effective and efficient while also finding innovative ways to save taxpayer dollars.
Under his leadership, his administration has focused on government reform, economic development, protecting water quality and enhancing public safety. Making government more efficient. Finding innovative ways to consolidate and streamline operations have been a central priority to County Executive Bellone. He inherited a $500 million dollar deficit, and has since reduced the size of County Government more than any prior County Executive by over 10% — saving taxpayers more than $100 million a year. In addition, the County Executive successfully merged the offices of County Comptroller and County Treasurer, which eliminated duplicative services and patronage positions resulting in an annual savings of $1 Million for taxpayers.
Upon taking office, Bellone established a Performance Management Team that utilizes advanced data analysis to identify more efficient and cost effective ways to operate County government. Since its inception, the office of Performance Management has implemented innovative programs like SuffolkStat, which uses advanced business intelligence tools and data analytics to identify trends and inefficiencies that have helped improve performance throughout county government. As a result, Suffolk County is recognized as a regional leader in government efficiency and reform and has received numerous awards from the National Association of Counties for Smart Government initiatives.
County Executive Bellone’s Economic Development plan has focused on building innovation economies throughout Suffolk County to attract highly-skilled and knowledgeable workers, and to keep young professionals on Long Island. His Connect Long Island vision aims to invest in an upgraded transportation system that will conveniently connect universities, research centers, and downtowns while reversing the brain drain. The plan is designed to strengthen local businesses by expanding natural customer bases and develop the necessary infrastructure to provide residents with true north - south transportation options. A key aspect of Connect Long Island is the Long Island Innovation Zone, which will create a multi-modal corridor from Stony Brook to downtown Patchogue, with bus rapid transit service along Nicolls’ Road providing access to Stony Brook University, Suffolk Community College, three Long Island Railroad stations, as well as the Ronkonkoma Hub.
Since its inception, Suffolk County’s Connect Long Island plan has made significant progress including breaking ground on the Ronkonkoma Hub, advancement of the Nicolls Road Multimodal Corridor, launch of the LIRR/MacArthur Airport Train-to-Plane Connectivity Study and a renewed focus on improving mobility options across the county including the planning of an extensive interconnected hiking and biking trail network.
County Executive Bellone has also made Suffolk County a recognized leader statewide in efforts to protect and improve water quality by making the issue a top priority of his administration and launching the Reclaim Our Waters initiative. Scientists have identified the lack of wastewater treatment as a significant threat to Long Island’s environment and economy. For decades, cesspools and septic systems have discharged excess nitrogen pollution into the environment, culminating in recent years in beach closures, toxic algae, and fish kills. To stop and reverse nitrogen pollution from cesspools and septic systems, Reclaim Our Waters calls includes connection to sewers in some areas, and the installation of Innovative Alternative Onsite Wastwater Treatment Systems (IAOWTS) where are not a practical or cost-effective solution.
In July of 2017, Bellone launched the first-of-its-kind program in New York State to provide financial incentives to make it affordable for homeowners to install new nitrogen reducing IAOWTS systems by providing grants of up to $11,000 to offset the increased costs of these new technologies. In addition to grant funding, homeowners can take advantage of low interest financing to further reduce out of pocket costs. Suffolk County’s Septic Improvement Program is strongly supported by both business leaders and environmentalists who believe this initiative will significantly reduce nitrogen pollution, helping to rebuild coastal vegetation, increase property values and improve Long Island’s water quality. Since the program’s inception, over 1,000 residents have registered to participate in this innovative program.
Public Saftey has been a main focus of Bellone’s career and during his tenure as County Executive, Suffolk County has experienced some of the lowest crime rates in County history. County Executive Bellone has implemented an intelligence-led community policing model resulting in unprecedented collaboration between officers and the communities they protect which has been instrumental in reducing the crime to its historic lows. One of Bellone’s earliest public safety victories was passing the Community Protection Act; our nation’s toughest sex offender enforcement, monitoring and verification program to date.
Under his leadership, Suffolk County has now become a nationwide leader in combatting the opioid epidemic and the fight to dismantle dangerous gangs like MS-13. As an Army veteran, Bellone is committed to supporting and enhancing veteran service programs throughout the County. Bellone launched the Suffolk County Marathon & Half Marathon to Support Our Veterans in 2015. The inaugural event raised more than $160,000 in funds for local veteran organizations and attracted nearly 3,600 runners from 25 states and four countries to the region. Since the marathon’s inception, the event has raised more than $300,000 in funds for local veteran organizations. County Executive Bellone himself has run in four marathons, including the Suffolk County Marathon from 2015-2017 and in the 2014 New York City Marathon in conjunction with the Hope for the Warriors foundation. In addition, County Executive Bellone has partnered with local Gold Star families and local veterans organizations to enhance the Suffolk County Veterans Run Series, which promotes veteran-based races throughout the county.
As Babylon Town Supervisor, Bellone raised nearly half a million dollars for wounded soldiers by sponsoring annual Soldier Rides with the Wounded Warrior Project and Run for the Warriors. Bellone is a graduate of North Babylon High School and he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Queens College in 1991. Enlisting in the US Army in 1992, County Executive Bellone served as a communications specialist stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. During his service in the Army, he was awarded commendations for meritorious service and earned a master’s degree in Public Administration by attending night classes at Webster University. Bellone earned his Law degree from Fordham University and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1999.
County Executive Bellone resides in West Babylon with his wife, Tracey, their two daughters, Katherine Ann and Mollie Elizabeth, and his son, Michael.
Honorary Chair - 2017
NYS Senator Thomas D. Croci
Honorary Chair - 2017
Tom spent over 8 years on active duty, earning the rank of Lieutenant Commander; and later the rank of Commander in 2013.
Commander Croci culminated his active duty service as Senior Duty Officer in the White House Situation Room, National Security Council (2005-2007), Executive Office of the President where he directly supported the President and National Security Advisor during countless homeland and international crises.
Shortly after the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, LCDR Croci was mobilized to active duty from the White House Staff and trained and deployed as an Intelligence Officer with a Navy SEAL team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom- Afghanistan. Croci was mobilized again to active duty in 2013 as a Commander with the U.S. Navy Reserves and returned home to Long Island in July, 2014.
Honorary Chair - 2016
Police Officer Steven McDonald, Patti Ann McDonald and Conor McDonald
Honorary Chair - 2016
Detective Steven McDonald of the New York City Police Department, was shot in the line of dutyin 1986 and paralyzed from the neck down.
Honorary Chair - 2015
Honorary Chair - 2015
President and CEO
Vice Admiral, USN, Retired Former Commander
Naval Special Warfare Command