Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro began a swing through Long Island Wednesday with a stop in Garden City, greeting potential voters with handshakes and broad smiles in the slanting sunshine along the Seventh Street business strip.
Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, said several of his campaign goals should be particularly appealing to suburban Long Islanders. In an interview, he cited his promise to cut property taxes by 30 percent over five years, and boost employment by easing regulations that he says harm business growth.
“Residents of Long Island know the burden of property taxes better than anyone,” said Molinaro, 43, who with his wife and children live 50 miles south of Albany in Red Hook, N.Y.
Molinaro also said he would target “corruption,” in a reference to incumbent Democrat Andrew M. Cuomo, who along with state legislative leaders disbanded his own anti-corruption Moreland Commission in 2014.
Then- Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, after looking into reports that Cuomo's office had tried to influence the commission, said in 2016 there was “insufficient evidence” to charge anyone with a federal crime for interfering with the commission probe of Albany corruption.
“We’re for term limits, they are for corruption,” Molinaro told one well wisher.
Several people whom Molinaro encountered during a 30-minute walk along Seventh Street seemed to react positively.
“We definitely need you, because 12 years is too long,” Gabe Alfaya, of Garden City, told Molinaro referring to Cuomo's bid for re-election to a third four-year term after the candidate introduced himself near the corner of Franklin Avenue.
Alfaya was one of several individuals who said they favor many of the policies of President Donald Trump. Alfaya listed among his top concerns illegal immigration, high taxes, and MS-13, a gang that formed in Los Angeles decades ago, but which in recent years has preyed on immigrant families on Long Island.
But Molinaro said he would avoid the often caustic style that has marked Trump’s presidency.
“I don’t like vitriol, no matter who is saying it,” said Molinaro, while accusing Cuomo of using divisive language during a televised debate between the two candidates Tuesday.
Molinaro said he spends about two days per week campaigning on Long Island, two in New York City, and the balance campaigning elsewhere in the state. He said he planned to attend a “meet and greet” event in Lawrence and a Baldwin fundraiser later Wednesday, and planned to be back Sunday for a candidates forum in New Hyde Park.
“I hope you might consider voting for me,” he said to a last passer-by.
And with that, he climbed into an SUV, and was off.