Tea party supporters at a rally in Massapequa roared their approval yesterday as Rick Lazio bashed big government, high taxes and praised immigrants from earlier generations.
Lazio, a Republican candidate for governor, said he was the grandchild of immigrants, and many in the crowd yelled out when he asked if their parents or grandparents were immigrants.
"Did your parents or grandparents come over her for entitlement programs?" Lazio asked. He was answered with a chorus of "No!"
"They came here for the American dream. They came here because they wanted to work their tail off," Lazio said from a portable stage in the parking lot of the LIRR station.
"They wanted to be able to save. They want a better life for their children. That's what made this country great," Lazio said, his voice sounding hoarse as he tried to be heard over honking cars and trucks on Sunrise Highway in front of him, and passing LIRR trains a block behind him.
Louise Strauss, of Massapequa, was standing behind a table off to the side, and said this was the second rally the Massapequa tea party had held at the site on April 15, the deadline for filing income tax returns.
"They said this movement wouldn't last, and look at this," she said, pointing at several hundred people who filled one section of the large lot and spilled along the sidewalk to the east.
Other speakers included Republican County Executive Edward Mangano, who talked about his effort to curb property taxes locally, and Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, who turned his front pants pockets inside out and asked: "What day is it?"
But the big draw was Lazio. "April 15th marks everything we're fighting against here in New York, a state that overtaxes, overspends, overreaches, is in our personal life. Well, we want them out of our personal life," he shouted.
"The people in power don't understand that our property taxes are chasing people and jobs and businesses out of the state," he said. "We need a meaningful property tax cap. I say it should be limited to 21/2 percent. We need to get that yesterday."