** Article originally posted on 10/10/14 at http://www.examiner.com/article/astorino-campaign-representative-speaks-with-vestal-ny-residents **
With the onset of October statewide election campaigns are gearing up for the November election. As of October 10, 2014 voter registration forms must be in the mail to be accepted by the Board of Elections and allow a vote next month. October is also the month where campaigns reach out to the undecided voters, as well as address the voter apathy that is rampant in New York State. In Vestal, New York on October 7, 2014, the campaign of Rob Astorino for Governor stopped by the Vestal Public Library to speak with concerned voters and answer their questions.
Bijoy Datta, a lifelong local resident and chairman of the Broome County Republican Party, spoke on behalf of the Astorino/Moss campaign that he has work with for most of the year. Rob Astorino is running against incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The running mate for Mr. Astorino is Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss, an outspoken opponent of Gov. Cuomo’s NY Safe Act. Together they are trying to unseat an incumbent many believe is using the position of Governor as leverage for a run for President in 2016.
Mr. Datta answered local residents questions on issues ranging from the impact of PAC’s and corporate donors supporting the incumbent, to media ads and the connection to elections, to issues far closer to residents and their pockets. One of the main items that Mr. Datta stressed was that ever vote matters. In a race with 19 million possible voters, it was explained that the final outcome is likely to be decided by some 2.5 million votes statewide. The cause of the massive reduction in votes? Voter apathy and lack of registering to vote. Yet, Mr. Datta pointed out that this means that the large pool of voters upstate could swing the vote.
It should be noted that there are an estimated 5 million gun owners in New York State. Given this figure and the fact that 52 out of 62 Counties in New York created legislation in opposition to Gov. Cuomo’s signature legislation, the NY Safe Act, the target of 2.5 million votes may well be surpassed. According to Assemblyman Bill Nojay’s comments early this year, the incumbent may not have the support of sheriffs or State Troopers.
“If you don’t have the troopers and you don’t have the sheriffs, who have you got? You’ve got Andrew Cuomo pounding on the table in Albany.”
But the discussion with Mr. Datta was not limited to just the repeal of the NY Safe Act. We had the opportunity to ask where Mr. Astorino stands on the controversial NY START-UP, a program that supports new companies entering NY State with a decade free of taxes, while offering no such benefit to existing companies. Further we asked what was the alternative that Mr. Astorino has to this and similar programs? The answer (which can be seen in full in the video below) was that Mr. Astorino opposes Government picking and choosing which private business to support or not. Mr. Astorino seeks to lower corporate and personal taxes as a means to spur business growth and raise New York from 50th place among states for business friendliness. Lastly, the issue of State regulations was addressed,
“The other point Rob [Astorino] likes to make frequently is that there are 750,000 regulations in this state between local government, State government and so on. We put a freeze on that from day one, so no new regulations go into effect … and we toss out ones that don’t need to be there.”
Ultimately the race for New York will be decided in November. At that time the public will learn if media ads, or contact with local residents, has won the day.