Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, who is running for county executive as a Democrat, introduced Ama Yawson, of Freeport, on Wednesday as the candidate he would like to see take his place as comptroller.
“Isn’t she great?” Maragos asked, with a smile, after introducing Yawson, an author and small business owner who graduated Cum Laude from Harvard University, holds a Juris Doctor and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and Wharton School.
“I’ve not seen a more qualified person ever run for public office in Nassau County,” Maragos said, later adding that Yawson’s candidacy for the county’s chief financial officer represented “a new day and a new beginning” for Nassau.
Yawson described herself as a “political outsider and community insider,” who understood the struggles of people trying to raise families in Nassau County, where property taxes are “excessively high” and homes are more expensive than 70 percent of the rest of the country.
“I know the experience of feeling locked out … because we’re not politically connected,” she added.
Throughout Yawson’s remarks, friends and supporters cheered. “Say it again!” said one woman.
Yawson’s platform would consist of bringing “financial integrity and responsibility” to the comptroller’s office in order to lower taxes and providing access to government contracts for small, medium and minority and women-owned businesses, she said.
“I look forward to working with [Maragos] to end corruption and make Nassau County a better, more affordable, dynamic place to live,” Yawson concluded.
Yawson is a mother of two who owns a boutique publishing house and educational consulting practice, as well as the author of a bestselling book on bullying called “Sunne’s Gift.” She has also had several articles featured in The Atlantic and on the Huffington Post.
She previously worked at Citigroup and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton as senior counsel, and also hosts a weekly radio program that airs in New York City.
Long Beach City Manager Jack Shnirman is also running as a Democrat for the county comptroller position, and has been endorsed by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and the Nassau County Democratic Committee.
"Nassau cannot afford to continue Maragos's legacy of rubber-stamping the corrupt county executive's scandal-plagued administration, fiscal mismanagement, and total lack of transparency," Kim Devlin, senior advisor for Schnirman's campaign, said in response to Yawson's candidacy.
Republican candidate for comptroller Steve Labriola, a former Nassau County Chief Deputy Comptroller and current Chief Compliance Officer in the Office of Management and Budget, has been endorsed by the county Republican Committee, and also weighed in on Yawon's announcement on Wednesday.
“I welcome Ms. Yawson to the race and look forward to demonstrating who is the best candidate for the job," said Labriola. "I am confident voters will understand that nobody will rip-off the taxpayers on my watch because I know exactly what to do.”
The state and county primary elections will be held on Sept. 12. The general election is Nov. 7.