It’s no secret what the main tactic will be for Republican Governor’s candidate Marc Molinaro this year. During a visit in Syracuse Thursday, he raised numerous examples, linking Andrew Cuomo with ethics problems and corruption. The question remains whether that can unseat the two-term governor.
Governor Cuomo’s name has been linked for months to scandals and court cases involving possible bid rigging, handing out contracts in exchange for campaign cash and worse. Molinaro thinks the time’s ripe for voters to switch course from the candidate who’s won handily in two elections. He points to the recent primary losses of incumbents.
“Certainly those who seem, at least on the left, to be entrenched power brokers didn’t do so well in that primary. And I think what we see on both sides of the aisle is a real distaste for elected officials who think public service is about them, about enriching and benefitting them. So I do think there is a sentiment across the state that enough is enough.”
He cites plenty of stories: the Buffalo Billion allegedly linked to donations, the CNY Film hub, another state contract linked to campaign cash, even Cuomo’s use of a state vehicle in a recent parade while handing out campaign literature, illegal under ethics guidelines.
“New Yorkers think that this is the norm, just the way it is in the state. And it doesn’t have to be. And it is about time, I think, that New York give its government back to its people, the people paying the bills. So in that same spirit I decided to run for Governor because it’s about time that we hold State Government accountable and we call into question a governor who doesn’t seem to know the difference between right and wrong.”
Of course Cuomo is facing a primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon in September, then in November add Molinaro, Green Howie Hawkins and Independent Stephanie Miner … all going after Cuomo.
“There are now, what, 4 of us have found a way to a ballot line, running against the incumbent governor all saying similar things? That’s how bad it is. So I think there is a desire among New Yorkers for change. I think the Governor wants you to believe that if you reelect him, there will be change. Well, you know, we’re not that foolish.”
MOLINARO PLANS TO FIGHT CORRUPTION
Molinaro says from day one he would ask the state legislature to vote on changes to laws in order to stop the pay-for-play scandals, in which millions in state contract money is linked to campaign contributions for politicians. He pledges to:
- End pay-to-play. Prohibit donations to candidates from any contractors doing work for the state or those who intend to bid on state contracts.
- Enact term limits. Molinaro says this isn’t a panacea, but would help eliminate the consolidation of power among those in office – and leadership positions – for decades.
- Ban cash grants to private firms. By eliminating the payment of direct cash grants for development, he believes the lure of bribes or other influence would be reduced.
He further criticizes economic development, which has boosted some local projects and businesses.
“We’re not stimulating the economy. We are helping catalyst projects; we are helping individual projects and my county has benefitted from some of those as well. But it isn’t a comprehensive economic development approach. It is not stimulating economic growth statewide and it is not sustainable.”
Molinaro is the current Duchess County Executive. He was the GOP’s choice to run for Governor over Syracuse’s John DeFrancisco when they voted during the state Republican convention in May.