Mazi Pilip is a month into her bid for Congress in New York’s 3rd district, after being tapped in mid-December to carry the GOP banner.
“I have seven children. And I'm not a typical politician. I'm a mother who cares about this country,” she told Spectrum News NY1 in an interview Friday, which touched on her biography, her legislative priorities and her vote for president.
Pilip is facing off against former Congressman Tom Suozzi, the Democratic nominee, in a special election scheduled for Feb. 13 to fill the seat left empty following the expulsion of embattled former Congressman George Santos.
A Nassau County legislator, Pilip was born in Ethiopia and later moved to Israel, where she says she was a gunsmith with the Israel Defense Forces - an experience that, she says, will help inform her on Capitol Hill, especially with the Middle East currently in turmoil.
“I know what terrorism is about. I was in Israel during the Second Intifada where buses was exploding left and right,” she said. “I know the fear when you don't have a true partner living around you.”
Pilip points to border security as a top priority, along with supporting law enforcement. She also says she wants to restore the federal deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) that was largely eliminated in 2017 under President Donald Trump’s tax cut plan.
Restoring SALT was one of Suozzi’s top focuses when he was in Congress.
“Tom Suozzi promised. He failed to deliver,” she said. “I know the Long Island delegation, we’re pretty much very strong on that. And we're going to bring SALT back to New Yorkers.”
If she wins next month’s special election, Pilip could arrive on Capitol Hill as House Republicans move ahead with impeaching Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas and potentially President Joe Biden.
Asked if she would vote to impeach either of them at this point, she said, “You know, the House of Representative’s job is to investigate. If they think there was some case that needs to be investigated, let them do. If there is a case, we're going to continue with that. If not, we're going to drop it off.”
In light of the 2022 Supreme Court decision overturning the constitutional right to an abortion, Democrats continue to pound Republicans over access to the procedure. Pilip says she would not support a national abortion ban.
Asked if she would vote to codify the Roe framework, she said, “I have a belief and faith on our Supreme Court. The Supreme Court took it back to states. Each state is now dealing with it in the way it's supposed to deal with this.”
Separately, she said she believes Mifepristone, a drug which is used in medication abortions, “should be available nationally.”
Earlier this week, Pilip’s legally required financial disclosure report showed she and her husband owed between $100 thousand and $250 thousand in federal income taxes as of April. Pilip told Spectrum News NY1 it has been paid off.
“Since our district has been going through the last year with a lot of issues about transparency, I was trying to be transparent, so I listed that,” she said.
One area where she is not willing to be so transparent, though, is her voting history. She declined to say whether she voted for Trump or Biden in 2020, calling voting a private act and saying she is focused on the future.
Of Trump, she said he “did a great job in a lot of ways” as president.
Asked about the possibility of voting for Trump this year, she said she is going to “give the opportunity for the American people to choose the Republican nominee and whoever it's going to be, I'm going to support that person for sure.”
Suozzi has repeatedly criticized Pilip for so far only agreeing to participate in one televised debate.
When asked about this, she said she does not have much time because of the abbreviated campaign schedule. “I’m very, very busy meeting the people, hearing the people and being on the press,” she said.