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Defiant Astorino discusses campaign, regulations on WCNY’s ‘The Capitol Pressroom’

Appearing on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, responded to criticism that he raised campaign money using the emotional impact of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. “I did not raise it,” he said. “This was an independent group that we have no affiliation with whatsoever. I do not think it was the right thing, the imagery, I do not think was the right thing; but you have hard working New Yorkers who do feel very strongly that their rights are being taken away from this Governor.”

When host Susan Arbetter asked if it was right for the group to “compare Governor Cuomo to the tyrants defeated in World War II”, Astorino responded, “Discretion would have been a lot better. However, I will say this. It is Andrew Cuomo who said, ‘I am the government;’ It is Andrew Cuomo who said if you do not agree with him on some particular social issues, then you are an extremist and really have no right to be in New York. These are the words of this Governor to New Yorkers, so I will leave it up to them to make up their own minds.”

Arbetter followed up by asking if one can compare what Cuomo said to that of Hitler or Mussolini. Astorino said, “No, I’m not. I’m not doing that at all.”

Astorino is also not returning the money.

“No, I’m not going to give the money back,” he said. “ I think when Andrew Cuomo gives the money back that he raised when a convicted felon did a fundraiser for him, maybe that would be more appropriate. Or when Start-Up NY, which is really taxpayer money really wrapped into a political commercial for him, when he gives that money back, then we will talk about it […] If hard-working New Yorkers want to give up funding, I would take it because hard-working New Yorkers are losing badly under the Governor.”

During the same interview, Astorino explained the need for mandate relief and why he wants to see the end of the so-called 18-a utility assessment. “This is just another hidden tax. This is why New Yorkers are leaving in record numbers because we are getting nickel and dimed every day.”

The Westchester County Executive also stressed the need for regulatory reform, pointing to one regulation in particular: the State Environmental Quality Review Act, or SEQRA. “I think when SEQRA was first put into law, it had very good intentions. It was supposed to—and it still is by the way—bring a balance between progress and safeguarding the environment. What has happened now with SEQRA, is it has become the tool that is used to bludgeon any progress on anything. It should never take five years, ten years for a project to get an approval.”

Listen to The Capitol Pressroom here.

*Photo taken April 2014 in The Capitol Pressroom studio.*

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