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Marc Molinaro

October 21, 2018 - 10:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Marc Molinaro, Larry Sharpe, news, notify, elba, steve hawley.

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When Larry Sharpe was last in Genesee County, speaking to the members of SCOPE, he rejected the idea that he's the spoiler candidate in New York's gubernatorial race.

He said he's got momentum, strong social media support (the mainstream media doesn't see him coming, just like Donald Trump, he said), and is drawing in not just Republican voters, but Democrats and Independents.

A Gravis Marketing poll from two weeks ago showed Sharpe drawing about 13 percent of the vote, or about 13 times more than any previous Libertarian candidate for governor.

Marc Molinaro, the Republican running for governor, Sharpe said, is the spoiler, not, this time, the Libertarian.

Asked about Sharpe's barb while in Elba on Friday, Molinaro sidestepped the question.

"Listen I don't know him," said Molinaro, who had just arrived at Oliver's Candies. "I've met him twice in my life. I'd venture to guess that most New Yorkers have just heard of him over the last year. I don't know. I'm sure there are plenty of people who want to support a Libertarian candidate and they have every right to do that. I'm not going to second-guess that. We're eating candy."

Combined, at 25 percent and 13 percent, Molinaro and Sharpe don't add up anywhere close to the 48 percent of New Yorkers who say they plan to vote for Cuomo. (Stephanie Minor, the mayor of Syracuse, is pulling 8 percent, and Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate, is at 6 percent.)

The controversy of the morning was a commitment by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to "debate" Molinaro on WCBS. Apparently, Cuomo had appeared on the show Friday and said he would clear his schedule Saturday morning to appear on air with Molinaro. Cuomo said he would phone it in.

"Listen, what was offered up this morning isn't a debate," Molinaro said. "It's a theater production."

He later added, "New Yorkers are being treated like they don't deserve or don't have any right to having two candidates come before them and answer questions. No, I'm sorry that's not a debate. It is a fraud."

The "two candidates" phrase wasn't Molinaro's statement during the short interview outside of Oliver's Candies in Elba that verbally excluded the other candidates in the race.

Pressed about his seeming exclusion of Sharpe from a debate, Molinaro said, "We've already agreed to debates that include all candidates. They need to include the Governor, too."

Molinaro was in town with Assemblyman Steve Hawley to tour small businesses, meet with small business owners, and then attend Hawley's 11th annual campaign fundraiser at Batavia Downs. The first stop was Oliver's Candies, which was celebrating Friday and Saturday the grand opening of its new production facility in Elba.

The local business tour included a stop at Post Farms, with Jeff Post, in Elba (bottom two photos), and Chapin Manufacturing in Batavia.

Molinaro said he understood how tough it is for small businesses to survive in New York.

"The seismic increases in the minimum wage over a short period time has cost money," Molinaro said. "The fact that property taxes continue to rise is a burden on small business owners so they get it regardless of what they're producing. But listen if you're going to visit a business it should be sweet."

Top photo: Adaiden Hyman and his mother were visiting Oliver's on Friday as a treat for his birthday; Hawley and Molinaro stopped to wish him a happy birthday.

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May 7, 2018 - 6:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Think Differently, Dutchess County, Marc Molinaro, news.

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For two years in a row, Dutchess County hosted the Winter Special Olympics -- not for the tourism dollars it might bring it but because of how the event might transform the people of the community.

"We wanted to engage Dutchess County residents in a volunteer way to help and understand and appreciate that anyone with any ability can achieve great things," said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro on Thursday during a talk at the Arc Community Center on Woodrow Road in Batavia.

Getting people to "Think Differently" about people with special needs has been a mission for Molinaro for the past several years. He regularly gives talks around the state about the programs, policies and practices Duchess County has enacted under his leadership.

More than 100 government and nonprofit agencies have passed resolutions to adopt the Think Differently commitment.

The idea of Think Differently started for the father of three -- Eli, 16 months, Jack, 8, and Abigail, 14 -- late one afternoon when Molinaro came home from work and his wife told him that Abigail was in her room crying.

Alarmed, Molinaro rush to her side to see what was wrong.

"I can't do it," she said. "I will never be able to do it."

She said all of her friends could do it. But she couldn't do it.

"I can't tie my shoes and I'll never be able to do it."

Molinaro reached down, expecting to do what he thought any good father would do at that point -- tie her shoelaces.

Then his wife appeared in the room and said, "you can't do it. You have to think differently about how we teach her."

In an instant, Molinaro realized how he related to his daughter needed to change.

"I realized at that very moment what I was doing as a dad was failing my daughter," Molinaro said.

That lesson soon carried over to how he viewed the thousands of families in his county who also dealt with issues related to their special-needs members. One day it became apparent how daunting it could be when it took three people on his staff to help him figure out how to get a Medicaid waiver for his daughter.

"I couldn’t imagine how difficult it was for an average family to maneuver through a bureaucratic maze this state creates," Molinaro said.

That's how the Think Differently campaign was born in Dutchess County.

About 100 community leaders heard from Molinaro, who is also a candidate for governor, during the forum on Thursday.

Molinaro explained that he appointed a deputy to be an advocate for people with disabilities. They looked at how housing was delivered; how law enforcement was trained; what businesses could do differently; and what services could be delivered to better assist these families.

Molinaro said a school official was shocked the day his deputy called the school district about a problem involving a student and the school official wanted to know why a county official was calling about a school district issue. Molinaro's deputy explained his job to her and the problem got fixed.

The county has created a Think Differently website that uses a questionnaire to help guide families to the assistance and services they need.

There is now a database in the emergency dispatch center that provides dispatchers with information about people at each address in the county with special needs so first responders can arrive on a scene with more knowledge about health concerns, interaction-requirements, or mental health issues.

The county launched an effort to train local business owners about how to better serve people with special needs; how to hire and train people with disabilities; and how to make Dutchess County more welcoming to tourists who need extra assistance.

"We say to businesses all the time, 'this isn’t just good,' " Molinaro said, " 'it’s great, quality-of-life stuff that is great for business.' "

To assist employers who might hire special-needs employees who can only work part time, bus routes have been changed.

The Hudson Valley Renegades, the New York Penn League team, now hosts a training camp each year to teach the fundamentals of baseball to anyone regardless of ability.

The community college now has a program called "Think Ahead," that provides educational opportunities for people with disabilities.

Each year now, the Dutchess County Fair, has a special day for people with who might have a hard time getting around or have a hard time dealing with sensory overload, so access is modified, the lights and music on the midway is turned off, and the members of 4-H are trained how to work with people with disabilities.

Molinaro said that people from throughout the Northeast come to the fair for that unique day.

"We had a family from Ohio because they had never been able to take their kid to a fair," Molinaro said.

The annual film festival in Dutchess County is now a big hit. Children who had never been to a movie theater before are given the chance to enjoy the movie-theater experience.

Molinaro recalled talking with a mother who thanked him for the opportunity to take her child to a movie because she said she had never had the courage before to take her to a theater.

"I thought about the words she said," Molinaro said. "She said it took her courage to bring her daughter to the movies. Now there are some really awful movies but I don’t remember ever needing the courage to see them. It began to embody for us what Think Differently really means. That this mother needed to summon the courage to bring her daughter to a movie.

"Even the smallest activity becomes a challenge for some families and some individual, so creating the environment where people don’t need to feel courageous to do something -- that is what Think Differently is about."

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May 6, 2018 - 8:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Marc Molinaro, Governor, news.

As a man who grew up in a house that sometimes relied on Food Stamps, Marc Molinaro would like to take the governor's office away from Andrew Cuomo and become a leader who represents all New Yorkers, the Duchess County elected executive said during a visit to Batavia on Thursday.

"I just know how difficult it is to live in the State of New York and I want families all across the state to know that that I care personally," Molinaro said during a press conference at the ARC Community Center or Woodrow Road.

"I've been able to achieve some success in my life, but most importantly, I never forget where I came from. There are good and decent people who just want a government and a governor that will stand up for them."

Molinaro, running for governor, took a few shots at Cuomo during the 10-minute conversation before an event where he talked about a program in Dutchess County that provides a broad range of assistance and recognition for citizens with special needs.

The day before, Cuomo, while proclaiming New York the leading progressive state in the nation, said, “New York is the alternative state to Trump’s America and we’re proud of it.” Molinaro said he doesn't even know what that statement means.

"I really lost track of the number of irrational things the governor has said," Molinaro said. "I mean, quite frankly, two weeks ago he announced he is the government. Then he announced that he was raised by immigrant middle-class citizens, and then he said that he was, in fact, an undocumented citizen himself. He also says that he pays property taxes. None of those things have ever been proven true."

Later in the conversation, Molinaro said -- echoed by Assemblyman Steve Hawley, who was hosting his visit to Batavia -- that if Andrew Cuomo wants to run against President Donald Trump, then he should go do that. He's running to represent the people of New York.

"I really think we need to talk about where this state has been over the last seven years," Molinaro said. "I was somebody who, when he came into office, was thinking that this governor was going to sweep in a new day. Instead, we have this entrenched new normal. I think New Yorkers, regardless of party affiliation, know that there's a question of competency. And certainly, there's a question of whether or not the state is any more affordable today than it was seven years ago. It is not."

Molinaro was critical of Cuomo's economic development efforts, which has focused on billions of dollars in tax breaks and grants for private enterprise, including: a $10 million prize to Batavia; support for the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in Alabama; and the agribusiness park in Batavia.

"First, we have seen this economic development model on trial for the last several months," Molinaro said. "It is clear that the governor's chief assistant sold his office to the highest bidder and was brought to justice. It was as a result of what is an unaccountable process that allows the governor to hand out dollars to private interests. It's going to be on trial again over the next several months in the Buffalo Billion corruption scandal. It is not appropriate for a democracy to have any one person have the kind of authority and latitude with no transparency."

He said New York needs procurement reform and a database of deals so people can actually see how economic development money is being spent.

"No we shouldn't be taking money from taxpayers to give to private interests to compensate for the fact that the state of New York took too much money from taxpayers to begin with," Molinaro said. "That's not economic development. It's a form of money laundering.

"At the end of the day, this is their money. This is taxpayers' money to begin with. We're supposed to be grateful that he's giving it back?"

Molinaro said the State needs to decrease the burden it places on everyday New Yorkers. He said taxes need to be lower; the cost of doing business in New York need to be lower and that government should invest in the people of New York.

"I come from a place called Tivoli," Molinaro said. "When I moved there in 1989 with my family I told my granddad we were moving to the middle of nowhere. I have always lived and worked with people who feel a little bit left out. I'm here today because there are citizens all across the state with disabilities who often feel a little bit left out. Help is on the way. I care deeply about the fact that too many parts of the state and too many families across New York feel that their government doesn't listen."

He said because of his background and experience in government, which includes time in the Assembly, he knows how to make New York work for everybody.

"I understand and I know the way government's supposed to function," Molinaro said. "I've spent every day of my adult life bending government to serve its people. I know that this government, in particular, New York state, is too big. It's too bloated. In many ways, it's too arrogant. We have to focus on making it easier for families. You know I didn't grow up in a famous political family. I wasn't born into money. I am a middle-class New Yorker."

To win, Molinaro knows he will have to bridge the gap of a Republican-leaning upstate and a Democratic-leaning downstate, where most of the voters live.

He said he can do that by being true to himself.

"I'm a pragmatic person and no matter where it is, I begin from my perspective, my goal, is to find commonality," Molinaro said. "What I want New Yorkers to know is that at the very least I intend to redefine what it means to be in government; to redefine the way government functions and to redefined democracy in the state of New York.

"I'm not running to be the governor of a political party. I'm running to be governor of the State of New York. I want residents, regardless of ideology, to know that they're going to have a government and a governor that's going to listen to them and strive hard to bring people together."

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