SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, the first Republican to announce he's running for governor, visited Central New York Monday to sit down for his first local interview.
Kolb says his story is the same he hears from thousands of New Yorkers. Kolb says, "I've got three children. Two out of the three don't live in New York State. I'd love them to be back here. I'd love my grandchildren to be living here."
He blames the unfavorable economy in New York, saying, "Property taxes are a killer. We have the second worst business climate in the nation. We have some of the highest combined state and local taxes in the nation. We lead in population loss. Those are all statistical, outside New York State government measurements, that are saying, 'New York's got problems.'"
In part, he blames Governor Cuomo. Kolb calls out his rumored presidential ambitions, the alleged bribery scandal clouding the Film Hub in DeWitt and the state's approach to economic development, which have brought millions of dollars to the New York State Fairgrounds and Syracuse Hancock International Airport.
When NewsChannel 9 asked Kolb if those were good investments, he said, "I think first and foremost, only time will tell. I think every community, to be fair, would love to have an infusion of cash from Santa Claus, since it's that time of year. The problem is that Andrew Cuomo says he's Santa Claus. Him. Just him."
Kolb used to represent portions of Central New York. Before redistricting, his assembly district included portions of Onondaga, Cayuga and Cortland Counties.
While Kolb is the first Republican to announce, Syracuse-area State Senator John DeFrancisco is also considering going for the nomination.
Reacting to Kolb's announcement, DeFrancisco says:
"Recently, Senator DeFrancisco held a forum in Albany with Democratic Mayor Stephanie Miner which made one thing clear: no matter what your political affiliation, Andrew Cuomo needs to be defeated in 2018. Senator DeFrancisco welcomes anyone looking seriously at taking on the Governor next year, and reinforcing the message that New York can do better than its current executive. Senator DeFrancisco will continue traveling the state, meeting with Republican County Chairs and other New Yorkers, and will make his decision on whether to run once this process has been completed."
The Republican nominee will be chosen in May, at the party's convention. Kolb says if the process is fair, and he's not chosen, he won't challenge the designated nominee to a primary.
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