GLENS FALLS — U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin and his running mate Alison Esposito stopped in Glens Falls to hear concerns and speak to local residents about his gubernatorial campaign while enjoying breakfast at Poopie’s DiManno’s Lunch on Wednesday morning.
Zeldin is running for the Republican nomination for governor. Other names on the Republican primary ballot include Andrew Giuliani, Rob Astorino, Michael Carpinelli, Derek Gibson and Harry Wilson.
Zeldin and Esposito were having breakfast at Poopie’s and talking to voters about their concerns ahead of the November election.
Energy policy is a big concern for people, he said. He said they were talking about high gas prices.
“Whether it’s filling up your gas tank, it’s the cost of diesel, it’s filling up your oil tank at home. We were talking about policies coming out of Albany. They are considering banning all gas hookups statewide on new construction, which is a terrible proposition. I could no longer disagree with this idea. Zeldin said.
He said he had not forgotten the forms of renewable energy. Zeldin said a balance needs to be struck with oil and renewables.
He cited strong investment in renewable energy, which he has backed in New York’s 1st congressional district on Long Island, which he represents, from transformative science and technology company Brookhaven National Laboratory. He noted that Stony Brook University, also in his district, is doing the same research as Brookhaven.
“In search of new energy, companies should always look for ways, find ways to become more energy efficient. There are a lot of owners who are always looking for ways to become more efficient,” he said.
Zeldin said the couple traveled statewide. They unveiled a ranking in 10 points “Reform Albany” plan to Syracuse and Binghamton on Monday, and again to Albany on Tuesday.
The 10-point plan includes establishing two-term, four-year term limits for all state offices, including the governor, revamping the state’s Joint Public Ethics Commission, and enacting voter identification.
“We want to see New Yorkers stay, not flee. We want to see them trust their government again,” Zeldin said.
He said accessibility will help regain that trust.
Zeldin mentioned the recent New York State budget of $220 billion. He remembers seeing members of the media trying to convince former Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin to answer questions about the budget.
“They couldn’t get him to stop and answer questions from the media,” he said.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Tuesday that U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado would be New York’s next lieutenant governor. The news came after Benjamin resigned from his post following his arrest on federal bribery charges, which he denies.
Delgado’s nomination came a day after a law allowing Benjamin’s name to be removed from the ballot in the state’s Democratic primary was signed by Hochul.
Zeldin said the state legislature “threw a lifeline” in Hochul by allowing Delgado to be added to the ballot.
“Kathy Hochul really needs to account for all the scandal that still surrounds her, whether she’s still either complicit or out to lunch,” he said.
Draft decision on abortion
Leaked U.S. Supreme Court documents showing that five of the court’s nine justices agree with a ruling that would overturn Roe v. Wade, who said Americans have a constitutional right to a safe and legal abortion, was published by Politico on Monday.
Zeldin said the way it happened is unusual in terms of law.
“We have always, to protect the institution, separated law and politics. It’s not even a final decision. he said.
In 2019, New York signed the Reproductive Health Act into state law. The purpose of the law was to “codify the Roe v. Wade protections into state law”, according to the state senate.
Zeldin said the state was codifying more than the original ruling in Roe v. Wade.
“New York is different from Mississippi” he said. “In some of these other states, it will be more of an within-state debate, but the fact is that much more than Roe is already codified inside New York.”
Zeldin said it’s inappropriate for it to take place in the public eye in this way, adding that he’s glad it’s being investigated.
“There will always be important, consecutive and controversial cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. If we start getting into a situation where if you don’t like the decision, you just start leaking drafts before it’s even been finalized, that’s going to deeply erode the institution,” he said.
Zeldin said there are issues — such as COVID restrictions, crime and public safety, and education — that the current governor won’t talk about.
Before leaving Glens Falls, he said he had a message for Hochul.
“No matter how hard she tries, she won’t be able to run away from the debate about the importance of improving public safety, securing our streets and subways, fighting for our children in school, protecting freedom and to make life in New York more affordable,” Zeldin said.