Watertown Daily Times
Abraham Kenmore
July 21, 2018

POTSDAM — Marc Molinaro, Republican candidate for governor, had been bouncing around St. Lawrence County all day by the time he reached the Conservative Party Dinner at Between the Buns in Potsdam Friday night, but he seemed delighted by the packed schedule.

“These are actually days you enjoy,” he said. “When you’re running for office, to be out all day meeting people is nice; it’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

This trip to St. Lawrence County was Mr. Molinaro’s first as a gubernatorial candidate. Earlier, he had a joint appearance with U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, at Maple View Dairy, and received the congresswoman’s endorsement.

“This guy is going to take care of every little nook and corner of this state,” said Henry “Hank” Ford, county Conservative Party chairman. “He was more aware of a lot of things in Northern New York than a lot of people we talked to today.”

Mr. Ford compared Mr. Molinaro favorably with his friend, former Gov. George Pataki.

“I’m just so happy (Mr. Molinaro) made his way to Northern New York,” Mr. Ford said. “I think he’s going to give the state back to the people.”

Mr. Molinaro says there are a couple key issues for the north country — a lack of job opportunities, high property taxes, and the loss of young people to other areas. His solutions are fairly straightforward — reduce the burden of taxation and regulation from the state and increase transparency.

“I want to focus on property tax relief,” Mr. Molinaro said. “I think families, farmers, small businesses pay far too much in property taxes and the state needs to work to reduce property taxation. … We’ll release a plan to do that.”

For Mr. Molinaro, these solutions are interdependent.

“We need to look at regulation and really develop a plan to make it easier for businesses and farmers to survive, and that means rolling back unnecessary regulation, it means recognizing not one size fits all, and it also means confronting corruption.”

Mr. Molinaro sees these reforms as the concrete steps that the state can do to help dairy farmers, who are selling milk for a couple dollars less per hundredweight than it costs to produce.

“That’s not the case in every state,” he said. “(Reducing taxes is) the one thing New York can do to make life easier for dairy farmers. … I think it starts with driving down costs.”

Mr. Molinaro also said as governor he would advocate for New York products and try to find new opportunities to sell them.

“We have to open up new markets,” he said, although he declined to elaborate on how he would do that.
Although his platform is solidly Republican, Mr. Molinaro, who began his political career in a non-partisan mayoral race, does not see his campaign as overly partisan.

“I don’t want to ram ideology down anyone’s throat,” he said. “This state is populated by good and decent people of all parties.”

What those people share, Mr. Molinaro thinks, is a disgust for the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
“In my opinion, he’s made a mockery of democracy in New York,” Mr. Molinaro said. “He’s had people closely associated with him found guilty of federal corruption charges.”

Mr. Molinaro sees his job as opening up Albany, giving residents a better look into the capital and more control over their government.

“I have a series of proposals that I think are probably among the most sweeping reform proposals of any gubernatorial candidate, meant to hold Albany accountable and to really return the power of state government to the people of the state of New York,” he said.

Ms. Stefanik also appeared at the Conservative Party dinner along with a number of other state senators and Assembly candidates running with the Conservative Party endorsement.

“I think his understanding as county executive of the unfunded mandates that are pushed down from the failed leadership in Albany,” she said when asked about her endorsement of Mr. Molinaro. “I also think his focus on ethics reform is a clear contrast with Gov. Cuomo. Marc Molinaro also does not support the NY SAFE Act and understands it is unconstitutional.”

For the dinner guests, Mr. Molinaro was a star of the show, delivering his speech from a small balcony overlooking the bar.

“All across this state people realize … we have had seven years of a corrupt administration,” he told them.

“It’s time to put the power of government back into the hands of the people.”