May 23, 2018

Many years ago, a man far better than I, who also stood before this convention, spoke thirteen words that we, as a party, have sadly forgotten. 

"Nobody cares how much you know," Teddy Roosevelt said, "until they know how much you care."

Save that thought. I'll be back to it in a moment. 

First, I need to thank you for your incredibly warm welcome. It means the world to me and my family - my wife Corinne; children Abigail, Jack, and Eli -- and to a yet-to-be-named fourth Molinaro on his or her way. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your encouragement and support. 

(Of course, Jack once told me he would prefer if I just stood before a crowd and said: "My name is Marc Molinaro, I'm running for Governor, please vote for me," then sit down.)

Against his advice, I stand before you today grateful, humbled-especially humbled-for the leap of faith you are taking in me. And, with that humility, I accept your nomination to for Governor of the State of New York.

Chairman Cox, Governor Pataki, distinguished chairwomen and chairmen, many of you barely knew me a year ago. But I've sensed all along that you know exactly who I am -- as a man; son, husband, and father. I think that's why you've selected me as your candidate, and if I'm right, it's an overwhelming honor. 

It's also a testament to this party, because in truth, I'm no one special. If I weren't in office, I'm someone you might brush past on the street; whose cart you might bump into at Sam's Club (the one with all the diapers and baby wipes.) 

I don't come from wealth or fame. I wasn't born into a political dynasty. I'm no film or television star. I'm just an everyday New Yorker with a calling and some hard-earned know-how. I make no other claim. 

Yes. I stand before you today proudly staking my claim to normalcy, to being an ordinary New Yorker. I wear it as a badge of honor, and aspire to be nothing more. Being an everyday citizen informs me. It gives me insight and empathy and humility as I make decisions. 

Humility is something I learned as a boy. It's hard not to feel it when the cereal you shovel into your mouth before school is paid for with food stamps. When you listen to your single mom, in her early 30's, whispering into the phone with the electric company, in hopes you won't hear, asking for the lights to be kept on -- until the money from babysitting comes in...from another working mom struggling with her bills. 

You learn humility when God hands your family gifts others may consider challenges. You're thankful for your blessings, and march forward gratefully, faithfully. 

The family I come from is like so many others in New York: Ethnic. Working class. Unremarkable to outsiders. First in Yonkers -- on Willow Street with grandparents downstairs, and aunts and uncles up the street; the whole Italian thing -- and later in Dutchess, or the 'country' as they called it. Some still do. 

Life growing up was real. There was divorce and abandonment-- patches on the huskie Wrangler jeans -- but there was mostly faith and love, and it prevailed. We believed in ourselves and in one another. We believed in our neighbors. And most importantly, we believed in tomorrow, and still do. 

I tell you my early background not for effect, but for a far more important reason to me, and hopefully you: I share my childhood because I refuse to cede compassion to the Democratic or Working Families Party, or to anyone falsely claiming its mantle. 

I refuse to concede compassion as Marc Molinaro the man, and I refuse to concede it as Marc Molinaro the Republican candidate for governor of the State of New York. Not an inch. Not a millimeter. Not for a second. Not ever. 

I look out from this podium into the eyes of New York Republicans seated here, but also into those of Democrats and independents who may be watching at home or online to liberals, conservatives, and moderates: gay, straight, black, white, Asian, Latino, young, old, married and unmarried, to those able to pay their bills and those struggling too hard. 

I speak to you all from the depths of my soul in saying: I care. I know what it means to struggle. I know what it's like to need a helping hand. And, I care about making your life a little better, a little fuller, and a lot easier. 

Teddy Roosevelt was right. We don't say it enough. "Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care." Indeed. 

Watching special interests spend millions of dollars on television ads in New York year after year -- money other people earned -- to attack elected leaders for not spending or taxing enough never ceases to amaze me. I wonder if they realize what five or ten extra dollars a week can mean to a single mom or father trying make rent or fix the truck. They claim to be compassionate, but they have no idea how hard it is to live in the most overtaxed state in America. 

If taxing and spending were the best way to lift families out of poverty, we'd have the best government in the Country - and I wouldn't be running for Governor. Over-taxing and overspending is a dream killer; a job depriver; it robs working people of the ability to save. 

There must be a strong safety net God knows I understand that as well as anyone but Albany will not be a cash-cow for the rich-and-powerful any longer. We will not be an ATM for out-of-touch politicians anymore. Not for the big money donors; not for politicians looking to dole out billion-dollar political favors. Not when I'm governor. The pay-for-play schemes this New York fire sale ends.

Government will have priorities again: people in need and things we use, like subways and bridges, streets and sidewalks, clean drinking water and treatment plants to stop pollutants. Not political donors and corporate lobbyists looking for a taxpayer handout. Those aren't priorities. Not to me. Not for you. Not for New York. Not anymore.

Government will live within its means when I'm governor because government living within its means is compassionate to those trying to live within their own. Working- and middle-class families can't afford to pay for the political ambitions of individuals any longer. Our priority will be the people, not a governor seated atop the heap plotting to run for president, trading billions in government contracts for millions in campaign dollars. 

A former New York governor addressed this point for those looking to run for office: 'Decide exactly what you want to achieve,' he said some years ago. 'Do you want to help people, or do you want to be powerful?' 

What Mario Cuomo was saying, was that one should seek public office to do good, not to feed one's ego or career needs. Bullies and megalomaniacs need not apply. 

Think about that for a minute. 

I know how government works. And I know how to make it more effective, more efficient. Governing is a passion I was given for some reason. I use it proudly and unapologetically. I can't invent a new light bulb, rebuild a transmission (my dad tried to teach me that), or run a four-minute mile (though I try), but I can manage a government well, and make government serve the people. As you know, I got an early start: 

In 1995, I was elected mayor of Tivoli, population 1300, at age 19. It made me the youngest mayor in America. The outgoing mayor Ed Neese asked me to run. 
So, I ran home and asked my mom if it would be okay I run for mayor. (She said yes-right after you clean your room!)

I wasn't elected because of my good looks or political affiliation (in fact we ran without party labels); I was elected because I was Marc, the kid at the deli people liked, people trusted. 

My neighbors knew I was in it for the right reasons. They knew I actually cared about Tivoli and the people who live there. They knew I'd be a straight-shooter, that I'd say it the way I see it, regardless of political affiliation. 

Since day one, I've had a clear and simple governing philosophy do what works best. Fix what's broken. When you make a mistake, admit it. Make it right. That's it.

I'm not in office to pontificate. Nor, do I have any interest in shoving my opinions down other people's throats. 

My job as governor will be delivering affordable and accountable government, not preaching a sermon or issuing edicts for television coverage. 

I have no interest in ideology for ideology sake. That doesn't solve problems, people do. It's results I'm after. I think it's why people from all backgrounds and viewpoints keep electing me as county legislator, state assemblyman, and now County Executive. It's proved, to me at least, that good government is indeed the best politics. People know when you have their interests in mind. They can tell. They know when you're getting the job done. 

In determining whether to run for governor, I had to decide whether I could be all in -- not only as a candidate, but as governor. My passion isn't in making speeches, it's in working for the people and governing well - to do my best. 

Would I have what it takes to actually do what needs to be done to transform New York to set it free from the powerful, the privileged and return it to the people? Could we, together, do what's necessary to harness New York's true human and economic potential, for job providers, and families, young and old. Not only in the five boroughs, but on the Island and in the Hudson Valley, in Central New York, the North Country, Western New York, and in every corner of the state. 

The answer for me is 'yes.' Emphatically yes. We have to: 
For our children and our neighbors' children;

For grandparents watching grandkids grow up on a computer screen; 

For immigrants working three part-time jobs to keep the lights on;

So kids can see a future in learning and hard work;

So those living with addiction and mental illness know the value of their own lives; 

For parents stuck in a cycle of poverty whose knees ache from praying; 

For people in homes that needed a new coat of paint five years ago;

For New Yorkers ready to flee to Florida, Texas, or the Carolinas; 
People working 60-hour weeks in the city paying 60 percent of their income on rent; 

10th generation New Yorkers who did everything right and still can't make ends meet;
For the family farmer overburdened, over regulated, and undervalued. 

These are my friends and yours. They are you and I ultimately. When are we going to break the chains of self-interested government? When are we going to free ourselves from the humiliating corruption in Albany that taxes not only our wallets but our spirit? When have we had enough? It has to be now. 

We're being hollowed out from the inside, day after day, by a government we stopped trusting and believing in more than a decade ago. It has to be now that we put our foot down. Now. Today, Wednesday, May 23rd 2018. All of us, Republicans, Democrats and independents alike. We need to work together to shake the yolk of corruption from our backs, to throw off the never-ending burden of a government that spends more than it should, taxes more than we can afford, and mortgages our children's futures. 

In the coming weeks I'll lay out a bold property tax cut for New York that defenders of the status quo will despise. We're going to finally cut lose the anchor holding down upstate, throw off the burden on the backs of families and homeowners. 

Stay tuned, because we're going to break some eggs; no more sacred cows in New York; no third rail excuses, only real, meaningful, sustained, relief, and economic opportunity. 
We're going to fundamentally alter the tax structure in New York, and we're going to do it out of compassion. For the everyday people of this state. For the people I grew up with; for parents trapped in inner cities; for the voiceless disabled, and for job providers up against the ropes. 

Stakeholders in the Albany power and money game will spit their coffee as we roll out our vision. They'll gnash their teeth and swear it can't be done. They'll start writing the TV ads and leveling the attacks.

I'll say, 'watch me.' 

Watch me. And hold me to it. 

New Yorkers will keep significantly more money in their paychecks when I'm governor, money they now hand over to a bloated, burdensome state government. 

Who do you think will spend that money better? The family next door or some bureaucracy in Albany that hasn't been audited in 80 years? 

Sales tax revenue will grow, under our vision, as families have money to finally repaint that home; as new homes are built and businesses move in. All those upstate college students. They'll be able to stay in New York and put down roots. It's been too long since that's happened. Today they get an education and flee south or west - and with them their innovation, talent and potential. 

We're going to find massive savings, and they're there. ($3.5 Billion per mile for east side access - 7 times the average elsewhere in the world). You better believe we will find them. You have my word. We will lead real - local centered - shared services as I have done in Dutchess. We will modernize an outmoded state government to achieve efficiencies, and we will eliminate the waste, fraud, and abuse that is stealing from our taxpayers. 
It won't be easy, but I promise it will be easier than landing a career job in Upstate New York these days, finding an affordable apartment in Brooklyn, or being a single working mom anywhere in the state. 

We will do this working together. Together, we'll ignore the special-interest doomsday ads and allow ourselves to think differently for a change. We'll care enough about one another to free ourselves from the corrupt morass in Albany. 

I say to you today: Stay tuned. Stay tuned for the state-altering plans we'll be rolling out in the weeks and months ahead. They are going to fundamentally change New York. They're going to put the Empire State back on its toes; bring explosive job growth to parts of the state that are dying; they're going to bring hope back to the little guy, to the working mom, to the big thinkers now headed to Texas or Tennessee. 

And we're going to change the tone here, too. In politics and in business. In the way we treat one another in our everyday lives. 

I'm going to ask you to believe in yourselves, to believe in New York again and believing in New York starts with believing the courageous women who come forward, in Albany or anywhere else in the state, to speak out against abusers. The days of sexual harassment, assaults and hush money payouts must end. 

I'm so proud to have as my running mate an outspoken, brilliant and dynamic woman who's shown what it means to care about her state and neighbors, both as a mother of five and public official: Julie Killian! 

Julie has a degree in Chemical Engineering from Notre Dame and an MBA in Finance from NYU. She's worked to help children with special needs in our classrooms, and she's been at the forefront of addressing drug addiction in her community. We share a passion for these issues, and a disdain for government that taxes too much and ignores the voices of those struggling too hard. 

We are going to re-set New York's priorities on January 1: Children and adults with disabilities; seniors without savings; classroom funding and special education; opioid addiction; safe drinking water; signal switches in subway tunnels. Those are the kind of things that'll move New York forward. 

And what's out? 

Cuomo's multi-billion-dollar pay-for-play-giveaways. Gone. Yesterday. 

Corporate welfare. Gone. Yesterday. We're going to make New York attractive for all businesses. 

Wasteful, duplicative, redundant overlapping agencies. Gone. Yesterday. 

Budget-busting Medicaid payments from counties. Gone. Yesterday. New York will finally take responsibility - improve how we help those in need and achieve efficiencies. That alone will save around $3 billion a year; 

Medicaid fraud. Gone. Yesterday. Unless you want to lose your medical license and go to jail.

Backdoor borrowing and garbage accounting that hides our true debt. Gone. Yesterday. It's dishonest and dangerous. 

One of my first jobs was mucking horse stalls in Tivoli as a kid. Well, we are going to do a little mucking in Albany. All of us. Together. 

To accomplish this, we're going to empower New Yorkers, advocates and stakeholders, embrace every good idea and welcome anyone honestly and earnestly willing to make the change we need. We will recruit the best and brightest from our colleges and businesses to audit this state government, reform this state government and revitalize New York. What we have now is outdated, outmoded and antiquated 20th-Century government at its worst. 

We will move New York government into the 21st-Century zero-based budgeting from day one, no agency gets a dime until it can show we are getting what we pay for. 

If an agency is just pushing around papers, it's a former agency. 

If a commission hasn't met and merely occupies space. I'm shutting it down. 

If it's an agency that's working well; task force meeting its goals or program achieving its outcomes, it will be emulated.

We're going to tap into the ingenuity of state workers and the genius of Silicon Alley and our upstate tech communities to streamline service delivery for those in need, making services less expensive and more effective. We're going to do it systematically and in every department of state government. 

I'm here today to announce that yesterday is over. Tomorrow is approaching. It's coming because it has to. We've reached our breaking point. We've got to get smart. We have to be compassionate. We must put the New Yorkers paying the bills first. 

To break the constant consumption of power and end the lack of accountability, I will demand a vote on term limits. Our government is stale and our people deserve new energy and new ideas. We need to bring passion back to government and revitalize democracy in New York. 

And, I personally commit by pledging right now, before you and these cameras, that I will limit myself as governor to two terms, if you'll have me. Eight years total. 

Andrew Cuomo is already running for a 12th year on the job unless he resigns to run for president so I'll challenge Cynthia Nixon today to join me in this self imposed term limits pledge. I challenge her to go on camera and do the same. And I bet she will. 
To combat corruption and end the pay-to-play schemes infecting our government I will immediately empanel a real Moreland Commission to follow the corruption, uncover the crimes and bring offenders to justice. 

We'll adopt a universal ethics code and establish a truly independent ethics commission to enforce it, and we will empower an open government, public information watchdog. 

We'll also seek to expand the freedom of information law to include all branches, all divisions and all agencies of state government. And, we'll end no-bid contracts and restore the State Comptroller's independent procurement oversight, and fully implement a database of deals so the press and public knows how their money is being spent and who is awarded contracts.

In the months ahead, as I campaign across this great state with Julie Killian and others, I'm going to lay out details of the revolution to come in New York: In public education; in affordable healthcare; in disability services showing New York what it means to think differently; in housing, in public transit and, in environmental protection too. 

God gave us a beautiful but temperamental planet. We must take better care of it preserving our natural resources, scenic vistas and active farmland; improving our parks and protecting our water and fully cleaning up our majestic Hudson River. 

I'll be talking with you about re-empowering communities wherever possible returning power from Albany to our towns, villages, cities, and school districts. This governor believes he alone can solve our problems; he believes he is the government. I believe in you in our shared capacity to solve any problem and overcome any challenge.

So I ask you today: Are you ready for a revolution? Because I am. 

Are you ready to take the shackles off this state; off its economy, off its families? 

I am. 
Are you ready to kick corruption from the doors of Albany, down its hallways, and into the street? 

I am. 

Are you ready to make compassion -- real compassion -- the priority again? 

I am.

Are you ready to break down barriers, accept, respect and support every New Yorker of every ability? To build a state of inclusion and think differently? 

I am. 
And one more thing: Are you ready to spread the word of our revolt from Staten Island to St. Lawrence; from Erie to Rensselaer? 
Julie and I are.

Do this with us. Think differently. Act boldly.

Are you ready to believe in our state again? 

Are you ready to believe in ourselves and each other?

Are you ready to believe in New York again? 

Yesterday is over, today is for action, so tomorrow will belong to us again. 

All of us. Together. 

Believe again! Believe again! Believe again!

Thank you. God Bless you. God bless your families and God bless the state of New York!

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