JAMESTOWN – In an exclusive interview with Larry Sharpe, Libertarian Candidate for New York State Governor, he said Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be debating his opponents and, at the very least, should answer questions from the media.
“Look, the issue is I don’t know if there’s going to be a debate, but I will debate, of course I will,” Sharpe told WNYNewsNow. “If I was his majesty and I didn’t have any ethics or didn’t care about my people I wouldn’t debate either. But I’m not him. The reality of it is he wont even take questions just from the press, i mean it’s terrible. He should be taking questions at least from the press if nothing else. This is a terrible thing and he really should be debating.”
Sharpe said debating helps with his name recognition but also gets his ideas to the voters.
“I don’t know if there’ll be debates, but debates would obviously get my name out. Name recognition is my only problem. When people actually hear what I have to say and understand that I’m about localization and I’m about letting liberals be liberals and conservatives be conservatives, I’m about not letting one city run this entire state, I’m about actually fixing problems and making things better for all New Yorkers, I’m not about ‘This other guy is evil,’ I’m about how can we actually make New Yorkers happy so they stay and grow their families here. They love it,” Sharpe said.
In a recent Gravis poll, Sharpe polled at 13 percent, third place, but 25 percent and second place with those who were familiar with him.
“The Gravis poll showed something. It showed that with only 33 percent name recognition that I still poll 13 percent in the poll, which means if you triple that to 100 percent that means 39 percent overall,” Sharpe said. “(That) 39 percent is not closer to Cuomo, 39 percent’s a win because when I go from 13 to 39 a bunch of that comes away from Cuomo. People don’t like him. Democrats don’t like him. Republicans don’t like their guy either. As I grow I take from independents, Democrats, Republicans and, most importantly, those who don’t vote.”
Sharpe said when he visits strongly Republican districts he draws Democrats and when he visits strong Democrat districts he draws Republicans.
“No matter what, I’m the only one getting all four of those people. This is a winnable race absolutely yes,” Sharpe said.
Based on his campaign compared with previous Libertarian campaigns, Sharpe said the election victory is available for him.”
“People often say ‘Well Libertarians, you guys can’t win.’ I’ve out-raised the past three gubernatorial candidates combined. Combined, they never raised more than $10,000. I’m pushing half a million (dollars), this is something that no Libertarian has done before,” he said. “I’ve crossed every single county in this state, every one. No candidate has done that, not even a Libertarian candidate has done that ever. I make more stops in one month than every Libertarian candidate before me made in the last three election cycles. This is not your daddy’s Libertarian Party. It’s a different party, it’s a party where you can actually win this state.”
Travelling to all New York counties has confirmed most of what Sharpe already knew before the campaign, he explained.
“I have learned, but let me be kind of clear on this, a lot of the things I kind of knew already. It reinforced things I kind of already knew. It reinforced there’s a sense of apathy, a sense of helplessness throughout the state. That’s why so many of us don’t vote, 60 to 70 percent of us just have given up and don’t vote,” Sharpe said. “I also see how at every event I go to people put their hands up and say they’ve lost loved ones to some other state. The state is so oppressive, literally it’s breaking up families. They are leaving because there’s not enough opportunity and too much taxation. You combine those two things together and people pack up and go.”
In addition, the beauty of New York State has also be reinforced, Sharpe said.
“It’s also being reinforced that this is a vast, beautiful state with so many different things and so many different opportunities for people that simply aren’t being addressed. People love this state, they just hate the government. If we make the government better, they’ll love the state. This is a state where you get the beauty of mountains like Colorado, farmland like the midwest, you can get amazing rivers and lakes, waterfalls, the best in the entire continent and the biggest city in the entire country all in one state. How lucky are we. Why are we throwing this away? We shouldn’t.”
He said letting regions have more control allows the diversity of New York to be a positive.
“We should let counties be counties and cities be cities. I’m the only guy who openly says this. New York State is more than New York City and people don’t get this, a secret that no one knows. I’m so surprised at this. We should be happy that western New York is not Long island, the Southern Tier is not north country. That’s true and we should embrace that.”
Asked how to keep and attract families to New York, Sharpe said the state needs to lower the tax burden, eliminate unfunded mandates and support small farmers and small businesses.
“Unfunded mandates force counties to raise taxes, they don’t have much of a choice. They have to buy a ton of things they don’t want to buy. How about they start their budget at zero and all of a sudden now we can be begin to not have to raise property taxes, not force our law enforcement officers to become profit centers. You can start doing it off the bat, but that’s not enough,” Sharpe said.
“On top of that we’ve got to support small business. We’ve got to let small businesses be able to actually survive in this state by doing things like allowing small businesses that are naturally across borders to be immune from federal regulatory bodies, to make insurance rates cheaper, to get rid of the insurance board which is actually predatory and to fix workers comp,” Sharpe said.
Sharpe blasted the Democrats and Republicans for New York’s woes, saying one party caused it and one party allowed it.
“Here’s the reality. For the past 16 years the Democrats have run this state, 16 years a Republican has not won a statewide election in any way shape or form. If the Democrats want to fix this state they would have. If you’re a Democrat, why in the world would you reward that behavior? Stop it, they’re not going to fix this state,” he said.
But he also was harsh with the GOP.
“If you’re a Republican, Republicans have watched this state deteriorate for 16 years. The past eight years since his majesty has ascended the throne we’ve lost over a million New Yorkers. If you’re a Republican, where’s your plan? Where’s your movement. You’ve got nothing, they’ve done nothing, They’ve been complicint. If you’re a Republican, why would you reward that behavior,” he asked.
“If you want change, you’ve got to vote gold. You’ve got to vote Larry Sharpe this Nov. 6 because here’s what will happen. If you don’t do that here’s what’s going to happen, the blue team wins, the red team comes in second and no change. That’s been the pattern for 16 years. But if you vote gold one of two things will happen: I will win, in which case I’ll put in all these ideas I’m talking about, we’ll move this state forward, things will begin to change right away,” Sharpe predicted. “Or, two, I come in second. Guess what? There’ll be a microphone in my face every single day saying “Larry Sharpe how did you do it,’ And I will speak about all the things I talked about, making happy New Yorkers helping small business, lowering the tax burden, and more opportunity. If you vote gold there will be change.”
While Cuomo and GOP candidate Marc Molinaro have been battling over the Mass Transit Authority (MTA). Sharpe said it isn’t only a New York City issue.
“The MTA budget is about $16 Billion, out of that $16 Billion, about $6 Billion comes just out of New York state as a gift. Here you go MTA, you’re terribly inefficient, here’s $16 Billion. You’re paying for part of that as that comes out of the general fund. So you, someone in Jamestown, literally seven hours away from the MTA, never probably using it anyway, you might as well because you’re paying for it. So you should probably come down and use it cause you are paying for it,” Sharpe said.
As for a growing disconnect between New York City and the rest of the state, Sharpe explained how it could be different.
“The reason why people car about that is, unfortunately, many times one city runs a whole state, that’s wrong. You wouldn’t care about New York City if New York City just ran itself and that’s what should happen. I want people in Manhattan to be Manhattanites. I want people in Jamestown to be people in Jamestown. I want you to be who you are,” Sharpe said.