ALBANY — Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro formally kicked off his campaign for governor Monday morning vowing to end a culture of corruption that has plagued Albany and asking New Yorkers to “believe again.”
Like so many candidates on both sides of the aisle before him, Molinaro held an event in his home county promising to cleanup a state Capitol rife with corruption scandals, including the recent conviction on three federal charges of a top aide to Gov. Cuomo.
“Today, people have lost faith in their government in Albany, not just in the policies but also in the honesty, character and competency of its leadership,” Molinaro said.
“And as I looked to the Governor in the Capitol — I saw an administration focused inward, not on the needs of the people but on self-preservation, political survival and presidential ambitions.”
Dutchess County head Marcus Molinaro to enter GOP governor race
Running in a heavily blue state, the Republican Molinaro promised to change the “tone and culture” under Cuomo where “one-upmanship, scapegoating, yelling louder and Tweeting meaner has replaced cooperation quiet conversation and compromise.”
Molinaro is set to hold a second event later Monday in Albany.
A former state assemblyman, county legislator and village mayor, Molinaro vowed to empower the state agencies and work more closely with those in local government “no matter their party.”
He said he will focus on making the state, which has among the highest tax burdens in the country, more affordable. One way of doing that, he said, is ending the state government culture of corruption.
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“The Cuomo corruption tax is a hidden tax, one that every single New Yorker is paying,” Molinaro said.
In his campaign kickoff speech, Molinaro spoke of having at times been on public assistance as a kid.
“There were nights food stamps put dinner on our table, and I thought I was the luckiest kid in elementary school because I got a ‘free’ lunch,” he said.
After considering a run for governor, Molinaro said in January he would forgo a run this year. But he changed his mind in early March when he told state and county party leaders during a private meeting that he would indeed enter the race.
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He has spent the last month picking up the support of a host of Republican county chairs, who if they hold, would guarantee that he will be the GOP designated candidate when the Republicans hold their state convention in May.
Cuomo sought to tie Molinaro to President Trump when asked at a Daily News editorial board meeting Monday about him joining the race.
“The Republicans are running a Trump campaign on Trump policies,” Cuomo said. “They are repugnant to the values of New Yorkers.”
“New Yorkers believe in marriage equality,” he said. “New Yorkers believe in a woman’s right to choose. New Yorkers believe in the right to deduct their property taxes and income taxes. And they have rejected all these Trump policies time and time again. And (the Republicans) are reflecting and running on every Trump policy that has been rejected.”
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Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) and former state Housing Commissioner Joseph Holland are also seeking the Republican nomination.
On the Democratic side, Gov. Cuomo is facing a primary challenge from actress Cynthia Nixon.
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