OLEAN – Despite the polls showing Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino trailing Gov. Andrew Cuomo by as much as 37 percent, Astorino believes he has his opponent right where he wants him.
“I don’t care what the polls say,” he told a group of supporters Monday in Olean. “The ground is different. The election is in November ... We have the issues on our side and the climate is right to win this.”
While still considered a relative unknown to many, Astorino has been on a tour of the state, stopping off at various locations, including Cheektowaga, Lakewood and Dunkirk, to get to know his potential voters.
“New York is not ‘Open for Business,’ ” he said, calling into question the Cuomo plan that was to bring businesses into New York State. “If it was meant to bring businesses into the state, why is half the advertising being done in the state? It’s all smoke and mirrors, a campaign tool.”
Astorino also pointed at his opposition as a model of corrupt government, saying it is interesting that a governor that has taken a stance on corruption created an anti-corruption commission that is now under investigation from federal authorities.
Astorino said there are several things he will do if he becomes governor.
“I will repeal the NY SAFE Act. I will repeal Cuomo’s version of Common Core,” he said. “These are just two examples of how the state is heading in the wrong direction.”
Astorino said he will also push forward a plan to allow fracking in New York State. Pointing out that New York is the last to allow it, he said all that has to be done is to look across the border into Pennsylvania to see the benefits of proper management and technique in the energy reclamation process.
“Look, even the president has given a thumbs-up to this form of energy exploration,” Astorino said.
“If you want to see why Gov. Cuomo has not gone along with the process that even environmental and conservation groups are in favor of is because Yoko Ono has said no to it.”
Astorino said the method of extracting gas trapped between strata in rocks could be worth billions in revenue and as many as 25,000 jobs for the state.
“There is no reason that we cannot set up safe regulation on these and move forward,” he said. “The governor is telling the Southern Tier that you are on your own in not moving forward with this ... It boggles my mind that we are just walking on all of the jobs, here. Walking on all of it.”
The amount of regulations businesses face in the state was a key to Astorino’s talk as well. He said there are some 750,000 New York State regulations, with many that could be done away with.
“One of the biggest things the state can do is to get out of the way of business,” he said.
Recounting a stop in Chenango County, Astorino said a farmer was talking to him and said all he wanted to do was farm.
“He told me his day is spent in meetings with accountants, consultants and others that, if we didn’t have the regulations tying the hands of businesses, he could be a farmer. We are not a state that is ‘Open for Business.”
Astorino is the executive of Westchester County, in the eastern part of the state.