NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The race for the next governor of New York is underway and WCBS 880 is speaking with the candidates to hear their stance on issues that most matter to New Yorkers.
This is an ongoing series. Keep an eye out for the rest of the interviews:
Photo credit Craig Ruttle-Pool/Getty Images
Jumaane Williams is the public advocate for New York City, a role meant to act as a watchdog on behalf of New Yorkers. He’s running as a Democrat. Before his election to the position in 2019, he spent a decade as a New York City councilmember for the 45th district in Brooklyn. A self-described Democratic Socialist, Williams has long been a champion for progressive causes. In the past he’s worked on initiatives to curtail police misconduct, reduce gun violence and build affordable housing. In 2018, Williams narrowly lost the election for Lieutenant Governor to Kathy Hochul, who has since become Governor after Andrew Cuomo’s ouster.
Why should the voters choose you?
“We keep hearing our leaders our leaders like our current Governor saying we have to return to normal,” said Williams. “I want to go back to where we were. I want to go back better than that… We are the only campaign that represents a new New York from where we were.”
On The Supreme Court ruling striking down New York’s conceal carry gun law
“It’s terrible. We knew It was coming. Our state has been caught flat footed.”
Williams has called for a billion dollar to be set aside in the budget for gun prevention. He claims the Governor’s plan doesn’t deal with street violence.
“We want people to be safe and we want people to feel safe… We need the investment day one.”
“Housing and homeless have to be spoken about together… Most people need housing at an income they can afford.”
“I have a plan to put in place right now – 1 million units of housing where no one pays more than 30% of their income in rent”
On Congestion Pricing
“Congestion pricing is needed and it’s needed right now… There is a part of Manhattan where too many people come into every single day. During rush hour those parts should have congestion pricing it will help loosen some of the vehicular traffic.”
“It will help us with the traffic. It will help us with the climate and it will also get funding to make the MTA better.”
Rob Asterino is the former Westchester County executive and an independent director for two company boards. He’s running as a Republican. He ran against former Governor Andrew Cuomo in the 2014 gubernatorial race. As county executive he pushed through tax cuts, pushed back against affordable housing by maintaining rigid zoning laws, promoted public-private partnerships and vetoed a bill that would make Westchester a sanctuary city. Before making his entry into politics, Astorino worked in media for a Catholic radio station and ESPN.
Why Should Republican Voters choose him
“I’m the most trusted, reliable, experienced conservative Republicans in this race.”
“I can win this race not just the primary but In November.”
On Reducing Crime
“It starts at the top. Kathy Hochul is coddling criminals. She is emptying prisons. She supports no cash bail.”
“Stop, Question and Frisk, which is constitutional, and Broken Windows. The small things matter, and they become the big things if you let them happen.”
“We’re going to get tough on crime, because we have to because people are not going to spend their money or go into the or live in the city the suburbs by the way are also effected.”
On Proposed Gun Reform
Astorino says he would “follow the law, follow the constitution.
“We need to get guns out of the hands of criminals.”
“Unfortunately mental health is a major issue… That’s a crisis that we are facing that we need to deal with.”
“The issue in New York is less of a gun control issue and more of a criminal control issue.”
On Abortion Rights
“Nobody thinks abortion is going to go away in New York, but we can have a reasonable discussion on some reasonable restrictions.”
On Congestion Pricing
“Congestion pricing will not happen under Governor Astorino.
It is another nickel and dime and actually worse than that expense on hard working New Yorkers.”
Photo credit Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
A former Trump Administration staffer and son of former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Andrew Giuliani said he has seen where New York has had its downfall. Giuliani is running for governor of New York, campaigning with a plan to reinstate crime policies from the 90’s and believes in the effectiveness of the stop and frisk policy. “I’ve seen where New York unfortunately has gone awry over the last decade plus with four democratic governors now that have taken Albany [really] into a train of corruption,” Giuliani said. The republican candidate looks up to his father as a role model for his politics, telling WCBS 880 his father is a hero who has saved many lives. “Rudy Giuliani is a great American, I’m very proud of him as a son, and I’m very proud- very happy that he’s been here giving me advice day in and day out.” Giuliani spoke with WCBS 880 about his stance on other major topics.
Concealed Carry Permits
Giuliani wants to fund law enforcement so they have the resources to go after criminals and is in favor of funding a $5 billion pot for police so they can tap into the budget if local or municipal law enforcement organizations have lost some resources over the last couple of years.
“I think it’s so important that we continue to focus on funding our law enforcement,” Giuliani said. “We need to make sure we’re doing everything possible to give them the resources to go after the criminals that are using guns for the wrong reasons”
Giuliani wants to get rid of bail reforms and says crime has spiked since the bail reform was passed.
“We need to do better for New Yorkers and getting rid of bail reform is a priority on day one for Giuliani administration that I will start to execute”
Giuliani is anti-abortion and wants to go after late term abortion while also making sure there are more choices for pregnant women so they have better, more “attractive” options than abortion.
“I’m pro-life and I think about my daughter Grace, my 6-month-old, and I think about the first time I ever saw her on an ultrasound machine and I knew the most important thing in my life was protecting her life,” Giuliani said. “I think we can all agree that we need to go after late term abortion”
“We’ve lost a certain level of morality in our state,” Giuliani added. “I will make sure that we do everything to fight against late term abortion and make sure we have more options for pregnant women so that way abortion becomes less and less of an option, or I should say less and less of an attractive option because I really think preserving life is the most important thing we can do.”
Public Health for COVID-19
Giuliani wants all COVID-19 mandates gone. He believes all workers should go back without a certain vaccination status and said it should be best for individual health. He also added that he is pro science, not an anti-vaxxer.
“All covid mandates, the vaccine mandates, on day one will go into the ash pit of history,” Giuliani said. “We followed the political narrative for far too long on this. We need to follow the actual science”
“I take the caveat of getting vaccinated off the table. Again, I want to see the science and the data lead the way on this and unfortunately I think the political narrative has led the way on this,” Giuliani added. “I’m pro science and I think the left has classified this as anti vax. I’m pro science on this and I wish the left would be pro science on this. Look, the same people on the left that are calling me anti vaxxers are also saying that there are I don’t know 37 different genders”
Giuliani has a crime reduction plan and wants New Yorkers to feel safe to come into New York City. As the highest tax state and as an “over-regulated state,” he wants to signal to companies that New York is open for business.
“First and foremost, it’s got to be a crime reduction plan. I will make sure New Yorkers feel safe coming into New York City,” Giuliani said. “Highest tax state in the country one of the most over regulated states and you can see why job creators unfortunately are choosing places like Florida ,like Texas, rather than the Empire State”
Giuliani believes drug addiction and mental health leads to homelessness and said there needs to be a compassionate push of people towards shelters and the mental health they need.
“I know directly what opioids and what drug addiction actually does with regards to homelessness,” Giuliani said. “Pushing people towards shelters that we are trying to get them the mental help that they need. But also to let them know, that look, the sidewalk is not a place that you can domicile on this is a place for all New Yorkers”
Photo credit Craig Ruttle-Pool/Getty Images
Congressman Tom Suozzi, who previously served as mayor of Glen Cove, New York and later county executive of Nassau County, decided to run for governor of New York because he’s concerned about the state. Worried about the “crime crisis” and high taxes, Suozzi said we “have the most corrupt state in the United States of America according to the Washington Post.” Suozzi believes his previous experience has prepared him for the job of governor at this time. The democratic candidate assured constituents he would not “pan it to the left” nor “back down to the right.” Suozzi spoke with WCBS 880 about his stance on other major topics.
On Kathy Hochul
“I look at the 4 B’s,” Suozzi said. “Number one is bail reform: She refuses to make crime an issue, it should be the number one priority for the governor right now. Number two is the Buffalo Bills: Billion-dollar giveaway of taxpayer money. Number 3 is her hand-picked lieutenant governor Brian Benjamin who was indicted after 8 months in office for bribery and corruption and number 4 is the budget. She’s spending money completely irresponsibly. We’re facing a fiscal downturn”
Suozzi has a 15-point crime intervention and prevention plan that includes mental health, getting the guns off the street and helping kids in troubled schools.
“Give justice to consider dangerousness, New York is the only state that does not permit that,” Suozzi said. “People are scared and we have to treat it seriously.”
Leaving House of Representatives for the Governor
Suozzi said he is sick and tired of everyone fighting with each other and wants to work together and have a national voice. Suozzi said he cares about crime and taxes and wants to fight for the people.
“We have got to turn NYS around,” Suozzi said. “I’m concerned about my democratic party. I’m concerned that we’re not talking about the issues that people care about. We’re going too far to the left”
Suozzi has an F-rating on guns from the NRA while Suozzi said Hochul was endorsed by the NRA and voted to allow concealed carry.
Referring to Hochu, Suozzi said she is the “Height of hypocrisy” and “She changes with the political wind.”
Suozzi is 100 percent pro-choice. Advocating for safe, legal and accessible abortion and thinks the state should be a leader. Suozzi wants to help prevent unwanted pregnancies through contraception and education.
“I’m 100 percent rated by Planned Parenthood. Abortion must remain safe legal and accessible,” Suozzi said. “We should also be a leader in helping to prevent unintended pregnancies though contraception and education”
Suozzi wants to address the crime rate in the city as he thinks it is the reason many are not coming into the city. He also thinks we should change vacant office space into affordable housing and help bring nicer housing in the city too through private-public partnerships. Suozzi also supports 421A but wants cap rate of return for developers to 9 percent.
“The reason people aren’t coming back to the office is they’re afraid to come into the city and take the subway,” Suozzi said.
Suozzi said the state lacks comprehensive plans to address homelessness. He said the state needs to help the people who are not taking medication off the streets and get them the help they need. Also thinks we need to do a better job of mental health and homeless services so people feel safe and secure.
Harry Wilson is a businessman who served as an advisor to Barack Obama’s Treasury Department and is now running for the Republican nomination. In 2010 he lost the state comptroller race against Thomas DiNapoli and worked as a fundraiser for the failed congressional campaigns of Matt Doheny and Wendy Long. While he doesn’t have a track record in state politics that could indicate how he would govern, his campaign has focused on anti-corruption measures, reducing crime and tax cuts.
Why Should Republicans choose him
“I am a person who grew up in a working class family… First in my family to go to college … that launched me into a business career of fixing broken companies… saving hundreds of thousands of jobs … and that’s exactly the skillset I think we need to turnaround the most broken state in the country.”
“Everyone else is a career politician. I am a business guy.”
On Reducing Crime
Wilson has a 14-page plan on reducing crime built on four pillars: Repealing bail reform, funding law enforcement, firing “rogue” district attorneys and miscellaneous policy changes. It’s worth noting that district attorneys are elected in New York, but the governor does have the power to remove them from office.
On Gun Reform
“I am a gun owner today.”
He supports red flag laws and background checks that will not make it too difficult for law abiding citizens to have access to guns.
“It’s too easy to soundbite the issue and attack both sides.”
On Abortion Rights
“I am the only candidate of the four of us that is pro-choice.”
“I think we should be providing alternatives to abortion, but I would not make any effort to change the law as it stands today.”
On Congestion Pricing
“It’s the wrong policy at a particularly bad time.”
On Strengthening the Economic condition
The core of his plan has two prongs — “reducing income taxes and property taxes by 20% each” and “repealing regulations in Albany that unnecessarily increase the cost food energy and housing.”
Photo credit Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Lee Zeldin is a congressman, veteran and attorney who is running as a Republican. Before his election the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014, Zeldin served a four-year term as a New York State Senator. As an elected officials, he’s worked to cut taxes, flesh out veteran services, limit abortion rights and undermine environmental protections that tightened fishing quotas on Long Island.
Why leave Congress to run for Governor
“We have to save our state. This isn’t rock bottom. It could get worse.”
“I’m all in… I’m not in this race to come in second.”
“This is a last stand moment for the state… on the safety issues, the economic issues, education… there is a lot on the plate right now that we have to go all in on to save the state.”
On the Supreme Court Striking down New York’s gun permit law
“I agree with the Supreme Court’s decision. We should be respecting, protecting, and defending the second amendment rights of law-abiding New Yorkers. We should be going after the crimes of people who are committing offenses with illegal firearms, people who are not law abiding New Yorkers.”
On Fighting Crime
“We need to repeal cashless bail, give judges discretion to weigh dangerous, flight risk, past criminal record and seriousness of the offense on far more offenses.”
“Overhaul the parole board… give victims’ families the ability to weigh in on these decisions”
“After I get sworn in as Governor I will use the constitutional authority that exists in New York for a governor, and I will fire Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.”
On Getting People Back to Work
“I do believe that people should get back to the office, but we should be careful how we do it.”
“We do need more people back into work inside the city because there is so much more of a benefit from it.”
Why are you the best choice?
“I know how to win.”
“We have the ideas and the experience.”