Dutchess County Executive, Mark Molinaro Spoke at Walsh Library
by Christian Decker
On Tuesday night, I and my co-editor Andrew, went to check out the College Republicans’ guest speaker over in the Walsh Library auditorium. It wasn’t a huge crowd, but the first two rows of the middle were for the most apart filled with what I could only assume were the College Republicans. Andrew and I sat near the back of the auditorium on the left side, so we would get a better view of everything going on.
The evening started of with a brief introduction by one of the College Republicans, with the usual pleasantries. After being introduced, Mr. Molinaro introduced himself, made a couple jokes and told us his story. As a young man he was raised in Dutchess County, New York, in a town of around 1,300 residents. He told us that as a young man, he was displeased with the amount of refusals he got, when suggesting new ideas to the town board. As a result, he decided that he should get involved in the local government. As luck would have it, he was elected to the county board and was actually the youngest to do so in history. He would later run for mayor, win, and become the chief executive of Dutchess county.
Now as you can imagine, Mr. Molinaro is a Republican, and most of his gripes are New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. In fact, most of his speaking time was devoted to attacks on Governor Cuomo. This comes as no surprise when you consider that he announced that he’s considering running for governor in the year future. It almost seemed like we were a test audience in preparation for a coming campaign.
Mr. Molinaro was adamant on saying that New York is pretty the worst in just about anything. He pointed to the amount of outer migration from the state. The reason for this, he said, was the incredibly high tax rate in the state. His biggest complaint was however, was the lack of oversight by the state government to handle situation. In other words, that the state government would just push off any and all problems onto the local governments. In his words, Governor Cuomo would just take credit for the stuff that went right and blame it on the local governments if things went wrong.
One example he gave was the issue of the Code Blue in New York during harsh cold and snowy conditions. Governor Cuomo’s method involves calling all the local governments and telling them to get the police to round up all the homeless people outside and put them in jail. Mr. Molinaro argued that this was not only unconstitutional, but that such things should be let up to local governments entirely.
Mr. Molinaro was also very critical of the Democratic majority in the State Assembly currently. His concern being that there is very little opportunity for constituents to voice their opinions on bills that are being voted on in events such as public forums. As an example of the issue he has, he told us that per session, the assembly votes on around 10,000 pieces of legislation. He then proceeded to tell us that all but one of those bills passed the assembly floor. In his view, this is very undemocratic.
After doing his piece, Mr. Molinaro opened the floor to questions from the audience. In this instance I have never heard questions so self-righteous and absolutely useless in my life. One guy asked Mr. Molinaro on something to the effect of how you deal with a professor who is a liberal, because “96 percent of professors here donate to Democratic candidates.” The answer was basically that you have to deal with it. Another person asked would it be better to combat corruption if more Republicans got elected. What do you think he’s going to say?
One good question that was asked was what the assemblyman thought of Governor Cuomo’s new college tuition bill that would essentially make it free for lower income students to attend college. Mr. Molinaro’s response was that it was a terrible idea that would “implode on itself”. His reason for this was that the free tuition would raise the cost of college for people who didn’t fit into the income bracket to qualify for the free tuition. He also reverted back to his earlier point that this was done without so much of a town hall to discuss the bill, and with a minority Republican Assembly there was nothing that could be done to block it.
At the beginning of the evening it was said Mr. Molinaro was a strong voice for bi-partisanship, so I asked him where he saw bi-partisanship in the higher forms of government in this country going forward. His answer was actually somewhat comforting. He told me that now that people are starting to see the nonsense of representatives not getting anything done, that these representatives would eventually start to actually work together, so he’s optimistic.
It is worth noting that Mr. Molinaro advocates for voters to flip sides at the ballot and vote for the candidate that they think is the best rather than just straight ticket voting. He thinks this is the best way to reach an effective government representation.