COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV) - The banquet hall at the Otesaga Hotel in Cooperstown holds about 150 people. The room was filled to capacity Thursday night for the Otsego County Republican.
The crowd came to see Republican Gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio. The former Long Island Congressman kept to his mantra of balancing the budget, lowering spending and cutting taxes. Lazio says that model, combined with a focus on agriculture, will help Central New Yorkers.
The one-time Senate candidate says New Yorkers are tired of Albany as usual.
"I think people, candidly are really disgusted with the state of Albany these days," Lazio said. "They open the papers and they see a new scandal everyday. They see reckless spending, they see budgets that are out of balance. They're disgusted with it. They see taxes that continue to climb forcing more New Yorkers to leave the state. If people want to have more of that, they'll have a choice, it'll be called Andrew Cuomo. But I think New Yorkers don't want that. I think New Yorkers want somebody who will make the tough decision, who will drive down spending, who will balance budgets, who will protect our jobs here, who will lower taxes and create an environment for New Yorkers to save and invest to have a much more prosperous, a much more opportunistic future. And if they want that, they'll have a choice on election day, it's called Rick Lazio."
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has yet to announce a bid for Governor, although it is widely speculated by political pundits that he will fun for the top spot in the Empire State. Sitting Governor David Paterson has decided against running for election.
Along with Republican voters, GOP leaders like Assemblyman Marc Butler and State Senator James Seward were in attendance Thursday night to meet with not only Lazio, but U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Blakeman.
Blakeman is just one of the announced Republicans challenging incumbent Senator Kirstin Gillibrand in a special Senate election. He is a former Nassau County Legislator who has run for numerous political position throughout the State, often falling short of election. Also seaking the Republican line are former Representative Joe DioGuardi and economist David Malpass.
The life-long New Yorker says he is running a grassroots campaign with a focus on job creation, a balanced budget and repealing the recently passed Healthcare Reform Bill.
"New Yorkers haven't lost faith in America," Blakeman said. "They've lost faith in their leaders. I want to restore their trust in their leaders."
Both candidates also weighed in on President Barack Obama's Thursday visit to Wall Street. While there, the President pushed his financial reform agenda.
Lazio and Blakeman both say some regulations are needed, but they fear going too far could be costly to the state.
"We've gotta be very careful about this," Lazio said. "We have to balance proper regulation and supervision -- which I'm for -- with making sure we don't lose all that tax revenue and all those job.
Blakeman points out that 20% of state revenue comes from the financial sector. He says if regulations are too strict, that tax burden will be passed on to the middle class.
"We have to be very careful what we do to the financial sector because it effects the whole state," Blakeman says. "If the financial sector isn't picking up 20% of our total tax bill it's going to be left to the hardworking families of Central New York, that's wrong. I'm not gonna let that happen."
Blakeman will be back in Otsego County Saturday for a Tea Party Rally.