GOP gubernatorial challenger meets with local party leaders

By Brian Quinn

The Spectator

ANGELICA — Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss were nominated Thursday by the Republican Party to run for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively. On Saturday, they attended an Allegany County GOP fundraiser at the Angelica Conservation Club and spoke to local supporters about their campaign. Astorino is running against Democrat incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Nov. 4 general election.

“I go around and ask everybody in every county the same question. As a state, under this governor, are we winning or are we losing? It’s going to have to be answered by every New Yorker on Nov. 4,” Astorino said. “We are dead last — 50th — in all the wrong categories — highest taxes, worst business climate, worst economic outlook. We spend the most in this state on education and we’re in the bottom half of results.”

Astorino said in the last four years, about 400,000 people have left New York state.

They’ve given up hope. The fact that 49 other states get to make fun of us, really angers me,” he said. “Just like you, we want to make sure that our kids, to have any hope of living in this state, we’ve got to make a real U-turn on what’s going on here.”

Astorino said people, especially those living in New York City, have asked him how he can possibly win the gubernatorial election when he can’t win New York City. He noted when he ran for Westchester County executive in 2009, he was running in a county that was 49 percent Democrat, 24 percent Republican.

“I said, ‘You know what? The timing is right. The issues are on our side, The passion and the intensity are with our voters. If we raise enough money to be competitive, we’re going to win this race,’” he said. “I won that race by 14 points.”

“The (Westchester County) budget when I walked in the door was $1.8 billion. It’s $1.7 billion today — less than when I walked in the door,” he said.

“We brought a balance of what we could afford versus what we want. Thirty-thousand new private-sector jobs were created in Westchester in the last four years,” Astorino said. “We have one of the lowest unemployment rates, because we worked with our business community to take the regulations away that were stifling them, to give them the tools, to set up the atmosphere that they could succeed.

“Pepsi Co., their world headquarters is in Westchester. They were ready to go to Plano, Texas, and we worked with them. They’re now doubling down. They’re building a whole, new, corporate headquarters. IBM and MasterCard are staying when they were ready to leave,” the GOP challenger said.

However, he added, “Small businesses is what we focused on. We went and we went in Main Street, everywhere, talking to people. ‘How can we help?’ A lot of the times, they’d say ‘Just get out of the way’ and we would do that, because, let them create the jobs. Let them do what they have to do.”

Astorino referred to the “corruption” in Albany and said he couldn’t think of a better running mate than Moss.

“I am excited, because, come January, I can’t think of a better person, symbolically, with his background, to come to Albany with me to clean up the stench and the corruption. Who better to do that than a sheriff, Chris Moss.” he said.

Astorino talked about his intent to repeal the Common Core learning standards in schools and the state’s gun control legislation, the SAFE Act.

Moss said the places he and Astorino have been, people across the state want to talk about the SAFE Act. They want to talk about the opportunity to get good jobs. They want to talk about Common Core.

Moss noted sheriff’s as a group are the biggest vote-getters in the state.

“One of the keys I’ve heard from dozens of sheriffs across the state since Tuesday and one of the keys to getting out the vote is hopefully the sheriffs are back home, telling residents in their counties (to support Astorino and himself).”

Incumbent Allegany County Sheriff Rick Whitney is among other Republican candidates running for re-election.

Whitney said he’s running again to try to bring some stability to the sheriff’s office in the county.

“We’ve had three different sheriffs in the last three elections, so we need some stability in the office and of course, the SAFE Act, we’re working to get that repealed,” he said.

Also running as Republicans are state Assemblyman Joseph Giglio, state Sen. Catharine Young and state Supreme Court, 8th Judicial District candidates Mary L. Slisz, Donna Siwek and Frederick Marshall.