Posted on

Marc Molinaro: Who is the Aspiring NY Governor?

marc molinaro

Earlier this year, Marc Molinaro officially announced his gubernatorial bid to unseat New York Gov Andrew Cuomo. The Republican Dutchess County Executive had initially declined to run for governor in January, but a social media campaign initiated by lawmakers who wanted an alternative to Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco made him change his mind.

As the gubernatorial race heats up, here are a few things to know about the 42-year-old politician.

Background in Politics

Molinaro comes from possibly the humblest background of any major party candidate for governor of New York in recent years. Unlike Cuomo, his father was not a governor. He also did not attend an Ivy League school like the three chief executives who came before Cuomo.

Instead, Molinaro went to public schools and grew up on food stamps. He also went to a community college where he earned his associate’s degree. If he wins the elections, he would be the first New York governor to not have a bachelor’s degree since Al Smith in the 1920s.

Speaking with Newsday, Molinaro said he takes pride in calling himself an “ordinary New Yorker” because he knows “what it means to struggle.”

Despite his modest upbringing, Molinaro got an early start at politics. He was elected a Tivoli trustee in 1994 before being named as mayor just a year later. He assumed the position at 19 – the youngest in the United States during that time.

Tivoli citizens apparently saw an effective leader in their teenage mayor, so Molinaro was re-elected for five times. He later served in the Dutchess County Legislature for three terms before being elected to the New York State Assembly in 2006. At the age of 36, he was named Dutchess County executive in 2011.

The Battle against Cuomo

Election Day is on Tuesday and the race for New York governor appears to be getting tighter than ever. Republican party nominee Molinaro has an uphill battle to fight, considering his opponent’s long track record as governor in the state of new york. Cuomo assumed office in January 2011, with Democrat Kathy Hochul as the current lieutenant governor.

Although Molinaro has decided to distance himself from Donald Trump, the Cuomo campaign constantly calls him a “Trump Mini-Me.” Molinaro fired back at Cuomo’s team, saying they are just trying to falsely label him as a strict conservative who does not match the state government of New York’s views.

According to Molinaro, he is nowhere near president Trump when it comes to dealing with conflicting views. He insisted that he’s actually open to accept contrasting opinions than his rival.

In September, ex-gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon criticized Cuomo for claiming he resists the Trump agenda. The former actress said it’s hard to believe he is anti-Trump because he received $64,000 worth of donations from the business magnate from 2001 until 2009 for his previous campaign.

Stances on Controversial Issues

Taxes

Molinaro voted for Cuomo’s tax deal that extended the so-called “millionaires’ tax” back in 2011. The legislation was only a section of the bill but it paved the way to a higher tax bracket for New York residents in the highest-income class. It reduced the rate for high-income earners but set it more than it would have been had the previous rate expired.

Additionally, Molinaro voted for Cuomo’s 2 percent limit on the increase of property tax. It was aimed at curbing rising property taxes, which made it popular for fiscal conservatives.

Health Care

When he assumed office as Dutchess County executive in 2012, Molinaro inherited a bloated government, $40 million deficit and low bond rating. He was able to turn things around since then – getting rid of the high deficit and leaving Dutchess County with a $20 million surplus. Aside from lowering his county’s tax rate for five years in a row, he also cut the number of county employees. This gave the county one of the highest bond ratings in New York, which means it can now borrow money with low-interest rates.

Molinaro now wants to bring all of those benefits to the state. One of his biggest plans: making the state take over Medicaid. The state and the federal government currently provide funds for Medicaid, the health insurance for low-income citizens. However, the state still passes a chunk of its share of costs to its counties.

When it comes to mental health, Molinaro has also been outspoken about initiatives supporting it and addressed the need to end the opioid epidemic.

Abortion

Molinaro and Cuomo went on their first and likely only debate last month to discuss key issues in the state and in the country. The hour-long debate was taped at the CBS 2 Studio in New York City.

When he was accused of opposing abortion, Molinaro clarified that he believed Roe v. Wade is “settled law.” He also defended his former position on same-sex marriage, saying it “was the same as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton at the time,” but that he was one of the people who celebrated when it was legalized.

Support from New York Republicans

Over the weekend, Molinaro spent his day visiting the Southern Tier with the region’s GOP politicians. His speech was hinged on attacking Governor Cuomo, stressing that the two-term Democrat has neglected the manufacturing industry of the Southern Tier.

“He’s left us with no business,” he told locals. “He’s left us with jobs leaving the state of New York, people leaving the state of New York.”

Cuomo is known for being a forceful builder and doer. His long career in politics made him one of the politicians considered as a future presidential contender. Unfortunately, New York

Cuomo is polished and forceful, a builder and a doer. He’s in the conversation as a presidential contender. But under his leadership, New York’s progress has been uneven.

Since 2010, a million New Yorkers have decided to leave the state for good. The Upstate’s economic recovery after the 2009 recession has lagged far behind the country’s  – with Central New York’s being behind even more.

Some of the billions of funds dedicated for economic development were left to corrupt, underperforming or poorly-planned projects. Unsatisfied New Yorkers say Cuomo is blind to corruption and his fight for ethics reform has always been half-hearted. This is why many believe Molinaro will bring them the change they’ve been looking for in New York.

Featured image: Marc Molinaro and his son during a campaign rally. Credit: Facebook/MarcMolinaroNY

Posted on

Manhattan Teen Falls to Death while Trying to Get Her Phone

Franklin and Hudson Streets at Tribeca West Historic District in New York City

Police said the teenage victim fell from a 5-story building in Tribeca. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/TEAM 21

A 15-year-old high school student fell to her death from a 5-story building in Manhattan on Sunday night.

Police confirmed that Imogen Roche, a student at Beacon High School, was attending a house party at 110 Reade St., near West Broadway. She was reportedly trying to retrieve her phone from a locked room in an apartment, so she attempted to enter from the outside.

Roche made her way through the windows and the fire escape, authorities said. She then fell and died at around 9 p.m. The victim was rushed to Bellevue hospital – a member of the NYC Health + Hospitals system – where she was pronounced dead.

Although the NYPD already said the incident was accidental, they are still looking for possible signs of foul play.

“I can’t believe this happened,” Roche’s friend Victoria posted on Instagram. “No words can begin to describe how much you meant to me and impacted my life. We have been through everything together, and I have never met someone who genuinely gets me more than you.”

She added, “I will love you FOREVER. I just wish I could see you one more time. I have always cared about you so much more than you know, you are in a better place now.”

Roche had been a part of the Manhattan Youth Organization, a well-known film program in the city. It offers after-school activities for bright young students like the victim. Her father, Theseus Roche, is an award-winning filmmaker himself. He is also a single dad and a director at Manhattan Youth.

“This is literally heartbreaking,” Vicki Winters, one of the Roches’ longtime neighbors told the media. “She was adorable. He’s an amazing father. He was a single parent.”

Winters said Roche wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment industry – just like her father. The young woman was actually following her father’s footsteps. Among her talents were acting, dancing and filmmaking.

“Unique,” Winters added, describing Roche. “Definitely unique.”

 

Posted on

NYPD Arrests Man Who Raped 11-Year-Old in Her Bedroom

Brooklyn bridge

An 11-year-old girl was raped by a suspected gang member in her Brooklyn home. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Tony Hisgett
A man accused of climbing through a window and raping an 11-year-old girl in her Brooklyn home has been arrested.

Brooklyn local Julio C. Ayala, 18, was charged with sex-motivated burglary, rape, criminal sexual act, sexual abuse and acting in a manner injurious to a child. The suspect was arrested outside his home at Flatbush Avenue and Linden Boulevard – just six blocks away from the crime scene. Neighbors cheered as he was led by cops following a short foot chase.

“Everybody was happy, giving high fives to cops. They were happy that they got him,” one area resident said.

Another resident told the media, “When he came out they had to rush him out of the place to get him into the police car and get him out of there, otherwise I think they would have killed him.”

According to authorities, the young victim was asleep at her home in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Ayala entered through her room’s second-floor window at around 11:30 p.m. and committed the heinous act. The man, later on, fled through the window, as confirmed by the NYPD.

The girl managed to call her parents, who then called 911. Police said she was taken to a nearby hospital and is now in stable condition.
Investigators told the press that the suspect left his Bulls hat behind the victim’s room. Ayala had reportedly forged a U.S. resident and Social Security card as well. Upon further investigation, law enforcement sources revealed to NBC 4 New York that he is a member of the notorious MS-13 gang.

Ayala lives in Brooklyn with his uncle, aunt and two cousins. He works as an employee at the air conditioning business owned by his uncle. His defense attorney argued that he was not likely to flee due to his strong ties to the community.

Although the girl was not able to identify Ayala in a line-up, he has already admitted to the rape. His lawyer said his only statement was that he has “never done anything like this before.”

Posted on

Manhattan Teenager Killed While Attending Friend’s Birthday

Inwood Manhattan

Jorge Rodriguez, 19, was fatally killed while he was partying at Inwood Manhattan on Saturday. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/AmaboDucem

A teenage dad was shot and killed in Manhattan while he was celebrating a friend’s birthday.

Jorge Rodriguez, 19, was partying at a friend’s house when shots were fired at around 3:15 a.m.  Saturday along Post Avenue and Academy Street in Inwood. He and over a dozen friends ran as bullets went their way.

“These guys just came shooting like this was a shooting range,” Mia Rodriguez – the victim’s mother – told reporters, relaying what his friends told her. “It was a shootout. And everybody was running. He ran for his life.”

According to reports, the victim was shot in the back of the head once. Although no one else was hit, his family believes he was not the intended target. One of his pals drove him to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Allen but he was later transferred to New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia.

Rodriguez’s mother rushed to meet the victim there after finding out that her son had been shot.

“I got down on my knees and I prayed to God.” She added. “‘Please don’t take him from me. Please don’t take him from me.’”

Rodriguez worked as a maintenance worker to provide for his 1-year-old daughter. Loved ones remember him as a hard-working father – logging long hours at his job just to make sure his daughters’ needs are met.

“He was always working — for his daughter, for his family,” family friend Mayra stated. “He was working six days a week.”

No one was arrested in connection with the shooting. The NYPD is still searching for information about the suspect or suspects involved in the murder.

News of Rodriguez’s death comes just over a week after another 19-year-old was shot and killed at a NYCHA building in East Harlem. Officers found the teen with a gunshot wound to his torso around 12:09 a.m. on Saturday.

Two other male victims were injured at the scene. A 21-year-old victim sustained a wound on his foot, while his 25-year-old companion was grazed by a bullet at his torso. All three victims were rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital where the 19-year-old was pronounced dead.

 

Posted on

Mayor de Blasio to Move Horse-Drawn Carriages

Horse-drawn carriages

Horse Carriage in Central Park, New York City. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Colin W

Horse-drawn carriages in New York may be finding a new home soon.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning to move horse-drawn carriage pickups inside Central Park, authorities confirmed on Thursday.

De Blasio, a Democrat, reportedly wants to end the current horse-carriage hack line along Central Park South. Pickups are expected to be moved to five boarding sites inside the park close to Fifth Avenue and Central Park West, de Blasio’s spokesman Eric Phillips stated.

The plan is a healthier alternative for the horses, city officials claim. This is because it would lead to less time the animals will need to spend alongside the Big Apple’s heavy traffic – especially on days when it’s very hot.

In a statement, animal rights advocates Steve Nislick and Wendy Neu praised de Blasio for making the change with the animals’ welfare in mind.

“By moving the hack line by just 100 feet, the City is making life noticeably better for its working horses, and ensuring the entire industry is more humane,” they stated. “Forcing horses out among traffic — on hot pavement — with cars and buses speeding by never made sense, and there’s no reason the most progressive city in the world should tolerate it for a single day longer.”

De Blasio ran for mayor in 2013, promising his supporters that he would put an end to horse-carriage rides.

“We are ending horse carriages in New York City,” said the then-mayoral candidate. “There’s no place for horse carriages anymore in New York City. Major cities all around the world have been ending this because it’s cruel, because it’s inhumane and horses don’t belong in the middle of the busiest city in the world.”

His plan never happened after it was defeated by the City Council in 2016. After the legislation failed, city officials have prioritized the safety of bikers, horses and pedestrians in New York City.

Following a hearing scheduled for October, the shift is expected to take effect this fall.