RYE BROOK, N.Y. - The New York State Republican Party nominated Rob Astorino for governor Thursday at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook.
Astorino, who is serving his second term as Westchester county executive, will run with Chemung County Sherriff Chris Moss as his lieutenant governor. Both were unanimously nominated by all delegates at the 2014 New York Republican State Convention.
A constant applause line Thursday was the promise to repeal the Safe Act, which Astorino said turns law-abiding citizens into criminals. Moss said it turned law enforcement officers into criminals.
Astorino touted the addition of 30,000 jobs to Westchester in the last four years and promised to bring tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to New York. He said cutting taxes and allowing natural gas exploration will help achieve that.
He also said he would replace Common Core with higher standards set at the local level and create an Education Investment Tax Credit.
"I proudly, emphatically, unconditionally, and enthusiastically accept your nomination for governor of the State of New York, because this once great state needs to be great again, and I will not rest until we’re back on track toward getting there," Astorino said in his acceptance speech.
He painted a picture of a New York that has fallen behind in its economic outlook, education and healthcare delivery, and has the highest property taxes in the nation. He said politicians have spent too much and served their own interests rather than those of the people they serve. This, Astorino said, has led to three million people leaving New York in the last 20 years, and 41 percent of current New Yorkers say they want to leave.
"We need leaders who are willing to put their necks on the line to fix the problems," he said. "Political leaders willing to lose re-election to save the state."
By asking Westchester's unions to pay a portion of their healthcare and making budget cuts, Astorino said he risked angering some to benefit the county. As a result, he said the size of county government has dropped 4 percent and $100 million has been saved by consolidating services and departments, cutting waste, and reducing overhead.
In addition to cuts, Astorino said he has strengthened the social safety net. County legislators included $900,000 for Title XX funding, which subsidizes child care costs. This increase will allow open enrollment for the first time since 2010 with 180 more slots.
Astorino likes to say that he uses the " Three Ps " to guide his governance: Protect tax payers, Preserve essential services and Promote economic growth. Following that same rule of threes, he said Thursday that you need three body parts to be a good leader.
"You need a head to do the smart things and a heart to show compassion," he said. "But, probably more than either of those, you need a spine to stand firmly against the nonsense that seeps into government.
"I’ve tried to lead with all three in Westchester -- head, heart, and spine -- and I’ll do the same in Albany, together with my Lt. Governor Chris Moss."