NY POST: EMPIRE STATE REPUBLICAN SURGE
By EDWARD F. COX
With the pickup of two state Assembly seats in Tuesday's special elections in Westchester and Suffolk counties, New York Republicans are following up on Scott Brown's historic win in "true blue" Massachusetts. Come November, one-party rule in Albany will be on the chopping block.
In fact, the return to relevance of core GOP principles -- and a New York party dedicated to those principles -- has been underway for most of a year. Join the Taxpayer Revolt!
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In 2008, Democrats won complete control of government in both Washington and Albany for the first time since 1935. In Congress, they used this absolute power to arrogantly jam through costly big-government programs, seasoned with huge slices of pork. In New York, corruption of a magnitude shocking even by Albany's standards, combined with out-of-control special interests, has yielded ever-bigger budgets and deficits, higher taxes and job-killing regulation.
Yet, while Democrats grew more partisan, the voters -- suffering the extraordinary losses of the Great Recession -- were focussing on kitchen-table issues. The tea-party movement is just the edge of the public's anger.
Yes, Democrats still hold a large edge in registration in our state. But the core GOP message of fiscal responsibility and limited, efficient and clean government is resonating with New York voters -- especially the independents who control the balance of the electorate.
Hence last fall's wave of wins for fiscally conservative Republicans in counties across the state. In Westchester, where Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one, a Republican beat the personally popular, three-term Democratic county executive on a platform of efficient government, capping spending and reducing taxes.
And no, it wasn't just an anti-incumbent wave: In Rockland (also two-to-one Democratic), the GOP county executive won a fifth term thanks to efficient governing and a fiscally conservative record.
Like most Americans in these economic times, New Yorkers want fiscally conservative governance. Long-suffering Empire State taxpayers are in full revolt against profligate government. Yet Albany's Democratic leadership is wandering aimlessly in a desert of corruption, regulation, deficits, taxes and debt.
This year, the state GOP and its candidates will present a bold vision of a government that fosters job creation and relief for New York's forgotten taxpayers.
A prior Republican administration in Albany created a high-tech nanotechnology industry in the upper Hudson Valley and one of the country's best charter-school programs. The Democratic powers that now run Albany kill private-sector jobs -- and passed on a chance for $700 million in federal aid because they didn't want to boost charters.
In Pennsylvania, Marcellus Shale natural gas is a multibillion-dollar industry. The same should be true across the border in the Southern Tier of New York -- but unemployment remains high there, as Democratic regulators smother the development of this low-carbon energy source.
Job creation, good schools and economic development aren't just Republican principles, they're American principles. But the Democrats who control Albany have forsaken them.
Which is a big reason why the GOP no longer fits the old stereotypes. Today, we are Asian small-business owners, middle-income suburban families and Upstate dairy farmers -- and union members who understand that a better business environment means more work; Hispanics and African-Americans who believe in family values and want school choice, plus everyone scrimping to balance the family budget and wondering why our governments can't do the same.
And, after a rough period for New York's GOP, we are rebuilding the state party from the local level up.
In the first five weeks of my chairmanship, leading up to last November's elections, we put a new statewide strategy into action, raising funds from individual donors and infusing support into targeted races, including more than $ 1.5 million to county committees and candidates. We'll help all our candidates in 2010, in close cooperation with our elected officials and party leaders across the state.
We've already helped recruit an impressive crop of new congressional and state legislative candidates -- and are aggressively encouraging more good candidates to take the field.
Economic growth. More good jobs. Tax and spending cuts and caps. Rebuilding our aging infrastructure. Regulatory relief. Government transparency and accountability. Across New York, our candidates are spreading the GOP message.
Our recent victories in New York -- and recent GOP triumphs on other "Democratic turf" such as Massachusetts and New Jersey -- prove that the message is resonating with the voters. That gives Republicans a unique opportunity to win big this fall and start returning New York to its rightful position as the envy of the nation and the world.
Edward F. Cox