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Zeldin visits Rochester after announcing bid for governor

Rep. Lee Zeldin speaks during an appearance in Rochester on April 13.
James Brown
WXXI News file photo
Rep. Lee Zeldin speaks during an appearance in Rochester on April 13.

Fresh off of his announcement that he’s running for governor of New York State, Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin visited the Town of Gates Tuesday. 

Zeldin, a Republican, served in the U.S. Army during the Iraq War. He was elected to the New York State Senate in 2010 and then won New York’s 1st District seat in the House of Representatives in 2014 where he became known as a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump

On Tuesday, he dined with Monroe County Republican Party leaders, former State Senator Joe Robach and County GOP Chair Bernie Iacovangelo at Pixley’s Diner on Buffalo Road. Zeldin said they discussed the key issues facing the region and state. One of them, he said, is the imbalance in state politics where Democrats control every major statewide office and both houses of the state legislature. He said there’s a regional imbalance as well.

“New York City has a near total control of the agenda in Albany,” said Zeldin. “Now if you live in New York City you deserve to have a voice, but not at the expense of Monroe County not feeling like they don’t have a voice.”

He also said New York needs a different, business-friendly direction because state spending is out of control. Zeldin told an antidote about a business in his old State Senate district that he said got multiple visits from a governor from another state to recruit their business away. 

“One of those business owners said they can’t even get a phone call returned from Albany,” said Zeldin. 

He’s also against recent tax hikes on the state’s wealthy residents, sayingthe increases won’t help and will have consequences.

“They increase taxes under the theory that they will just keep paying taxes and staying but New Yorkers are more mobile than ever,” said Zeldin.

“There are politicians in Albany who think they’ve outsmarted these New Yorkers,” Zeldin continued. “But what happens when they decide to leave the state is the taxes they pay Albany go down to zero.”

Zeldin also took aim at Gov. Andrew Cuomo citing his dueling scandals hiding the COVID-19 death toll in nursing homes and numerous sexual harassment allegations. Zeldin also mentioned recent allegations that Cuomo’s family got preferential treatment for COVID-19 tests.

“We have been embarrassed as a state as the governor has disgraced himself with scandal after scandal,” said Zeldin. 

Cuomo has yet to announce whether he will run for a fourth term next year.

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.