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Jay Jacobs: Every Dog Has His Day
FEBRUARY 5, 2018 – Long Island Press – by Timothy Bolger

The life of a political party leader isn’t all screening candidates, holding fundraisers and orchestrating campaigns. Nassau County Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs also runs a half-dozen camps. We caught up with Jacobs, who shared why he quotes The Honeymooners, collects owls, and credits Donald Trump with recent local Democratic gains.

Long Island Press: For the first time, Democrats and women hold the Nassau County executive seat and two of three town supervisor seats in the county. To what do you credit this historic change?

Jay Jacobs: The public was ready for change. Between the corruption in the towns and the county on the Republican side and the fact that the finances have been so poorly managed both on the town level and the county level, it gave Democrats a great opportunity to take those seats.

LIP: Did you ever think you’d ever see the day?

JJ: We were coming into a very strong political environment, both with the corruption in the county as well as nationally with Trump and all of the turmoil and tumult he has brought to the political process.

LIP: What is your vision for Nassau County?

JJ: In one sense cleaning up the government and restoring trust. In the second sense, taking control of the finances and finally putting us on the path to fiscal solvency. And the third being creating a vision for what the future of Nassau will be and then starting us on the road to getting us there.

LIP: You also run three sleepaway camps and three day camps. How did you get into that line of work?

JJ: The camp that I went to when I was a camper and worked at when I was 23 was for sale. The owners liked me, turned it over to me and then I built from there. I love the job of being a camp director and I also love the job of building a larger corporation, which has multiple camps, a school, and now we’ve got bed and breakfast inns upstate.

LIP: What’s your favorite story from camp?

JJ: I love going on what we call raid patrol at night, making sure the boys and girls are in their bunks appropriately. I’m not one who plays by the rules. If I’ve got a camper out of his bed and I’m having difficulty finding him, I know that sooner or later he’s gonna come back. And there has been more than one time that camper’s come back to find me in his bed.

LIP: How do you juggle your business obligations with the rough-and-tumble career in politics?

JJ: If you come into my office, you’ll see everywhere a large collection of owls. They represent my biggest problem and my most important problem in both business and politics: Who? Who am I going to get to run in the 10th legislative district? Who am I going to get to to be on duty tonight at boys’ bunk 9? When some comes into my office with agreat idea, I always take one of the owls and I pound it on the desk and I say, “Who? Who’s going to run it?” When you focus on the owls, both in politics and business, and you bring in really good people and you delegate to them and you nurture them, and you take care of them and you let them get the credit for the things that they get done so that they feel an ownership, then you have a system that enables you to get a lot of things done.

LIP: What story best sums up the considerations that go into being a party leader?

JJ: I have a saying I take from the words of the immortal philosopher Ralph Kramden, whom you might remember from The Honeymooners. Ralph Kramden said “every dog has his day.” I live by those words. Because I get disappointed so many times. I’m a person who believes that if you give your word, you can take it to the bank. But so many people don’t in politics. So many people that you help along the way forget you when they get there. There’s an arrogance that goes on in politics. And I keep that phrase in my mind because every time I feel I’ve gotten the raw end of a deal and somebody isn’t treating me right, you can get stressed and aggravated. I don’t. What goes around comes around. Every dog has his day.

LIP: What would readers be surprised to learn about your personal life?

JJ: I happen to be an introvert. I have to work up to being able to reach out and do my job. It’s an advantage in some sense. I find that being an introvert, while it’s more difficult for me to do certain things, I think that it may make me a little more thoughtful and attentive to people.


Hillary Clinton begins her entry into the 2016 presidential race
APRIL 11, 2015 – The Washington Post – by Anne Gearan and Philip Rucker

Jay Jacobs, a former New York Democratic Party chairman and longtime Clinton friend, said he thinks the events will present Clinton “as she is known by people who are close to her: as a very warm, genuine, thoughtful, certainly intelligent, regular person.”

“There’s been so much that we’ve seen that seems to create an image, by the press and by others, those who are looking to derail her, but now the voters are going to hear from Hillary,” Jacobs said.

Clinton’s human-scale approach is modeled on the listening tour she conducted across New York state at the start of her successful 2000 Senate race. She came to that campaign as a sitting first lady and political celebrity with no roots in New York, but her efforts to seek out New Yorkers’ opinions — in diners as well as people’s living rooms and kitchens — surprised many voters and some critics.

“It became a two-way conversation that impressed voters not by just what she said, but by how intently she listened,” Jacobs said. “I think that’s Hillary. That’s something that has worked before and it’ll work again.”


How Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign machine will kick into gear

APRIL 10, 2015 – The Washington Post – by Anne Gearan and Philip Rucker

Jay Jacobs, a former New York Democratic Party chairman and longtime Clinton friend and supporter, said the 2000 listening tour became “a two-way conversation that impressed voters not by just what she said, but by how intently she listened. I think that’s Hillary. That’s something that has worked before, and it’ll work again.”

Jacobs, who recently met privately with Clinton when she addressed his group of the American Camp Association in Atlantic City, N.J., said Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign will not be “reactive.”

“It will be one that really presents Hillary Clinton to the voters as she is known by people who are close to her: as a very warm, genuine, thoughtful, certainly intelligent, regular person,” Jacobs said. “There’s been so much that we’ve seen that seems to create an image, by the press and by others, those who are looking to derail her, but now the voters are going to hear from Hillary and they’re going to see Hillary.”


 

To Avert Repeat of 2008, Clinton Team Hopes to Keep Bill at His Best
MARCH 28, 2015 – New York Times – by Patrick Healy and Amy Chozick
“President Clinton still has one of the most politically strategic and tactical minds in America, and you want that on your side,” said Jay S. Jacobs, a prominent New York Democrat who speaks periodically with both Clintons. “He watches candidates. He knows their strengths and weaknesses. And he’s always interested in talking about the Electoral College map, down to the congressional district.”


Clinton Talks ‘Fun Deficit’ (Apparently in Jest) and Partisanship (in Earnest)
MARCH 19, 2015 – New York Times – by Maggie Haberman


Clinton gifted Camp David sweatshirt
MARCH 19, 2015 – CNN – by Dan Merica


Clinton: US Politics Could Use ‘Camps for Adults’
MARCH 19, 2015 – New York Times – by The Associated Press


Surprise! It’s the Former Secretary of State
MARCH 12, 2015 – New York Times – by Maggie Haberman


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