Democrat Photo by Matt Youngfrau
STOPPING IN AT Mr. Willys in Monticello to hear Democratic gubernatorial candidate H. Carl McCall, center, speak about his bid for Governor George Patakis seat were, from the left, Assemblyman Jake Gunther, Orange County Democratic Party Chair Jonathan Jacobson, Sullivan County Democratic Party Chair Robert Krutman and Congressman Maurice Hincheys Sullivan County representative Julie Allen.
McCall on the Campaign
By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO April 12, 2002 Democratic candidate for NYS governor and current State Comptroller H. Carl McCall swung by Mr. Willy's in Monticello Wednesday night to officially kick off his gubernatorial campaign in Sullivan County. Approximately 50 Democratic Party members from throughout the county came out to show their support for McCall and his campaign.
"Carl is the most qualified candidate we have," Sullivan County Democratic Party Chair Bob Krutman commented. "We support you. We will not waver in that."
"He is what the state needs," remarked New York State Assemblyman Jake Gunther. "He is the right man for the job. The time is now."
McCall was greeted with a standing ovation as he addressed the crowded room full of legislators, town supervisors, town and village board members, and party representatives. McCall praised Gunther for his work in Albany and all the changes he has brought forth in the last ten years.
McCall then turned his attention toward Pataki.
"Right now, the State is adrift. There is no leadership or vision. What has he done?"
McCall cited President George W. Bushs pledge of $20 billion in federal aid for New York City after the September 11 tragedy. Pataki wanted $54 billion. In the end, the state only received $8 billion. McCall blamed it on Pataki and also cited numerous examples of what he considered Pataki's frivolous expenditure of taxpayer money.
McCall also said that Pataki had spent $55 million to be on television. McCall found this disturbing as he watched the recent Oscars ceremony and saw three Pataki ads.
"I turned on the TV to see Halle Berry, and I saw Pataki," he quipped.
McCall then spoke of the budget process, citing the fact that the budget has been late every year for 18 years. McCall said that if he was elected governor he would make the budget process more open and honest, so that everyone would know what is happening.
McCall also said that the governor has no plan for education, and it has cost the state. Because of the lack of education and better jobs, he claimed people have left New York State, and thus, after the last census, New York lost two Congressional seats.
"New York is 49th on what is spent on education. Only Alaska spends less," McCall told the audience. "Now the governor wants to cut tuition assistance by $150 million. We need to educate our kids. He has completely failed us."
McCall also spoke of ways to attempt to lure more businesses to the state and spur economic development, saying that no one wants to raise taxes, so other revenue streams must be found to supplement the budget.
One potential example that could be copied on a national level involves the retirement pension system. McCall said he would use those funds to invest in the infrastructure, creating new jobs and making the money grow.
Of course, being in Sullivan County, McCall addressed the gambling issue.
"I have nothing against gambling. It is needed in this area. I am against the ad hoc approach that is currently in place. We need to know how many, where, and establish a policy. We have to have a degree of certainty."
"There is no policy," Gunther agreed. "Everything is done at the last minute. We need to have a constitutional amendment."
McCall ended his visit by thanking all those that attended. He asked for continued support and had announced earlier that Colleen Cunningham would run his local campaign.
"I will be a fighter in Albany," McCall said. "If elected, I will live in Albany. I started in public housing, I don't mind doing it again. With your help, I can do it."
McCall, of course, is not without challengers. The Republican candidate seems to be incumbent Governor George Pataki. And McCall will have to face Democrat Andrew Cuomo when the primaries roll around.