2006-04-28 / Community

Bill Weld, New Republican Candidate For Governor Visits Local Group At Yacht Club

George Greco (right) at the meeting with candidate Bill Weld, club president Tom Lynch and Stuart Mirsky, who will challenge Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer for her seat in the state legislature.
George Greco (right) at the meeting with candidate Bill Weld, club president Tom Lynch and Stuart Mirsky, who will challenge Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer for her seat in the state legislature. Members ofthe 23rd AD Regular Republican Club, out of Ozone Park, joinedthe newly chartered Rockaway Republicansat the Belle Harbor Yacht Club last Tuesday evening to hearformer Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld make his case for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

Weld was forthright, articulate and substantive in his remarks as he laid out his case for carrying the state's GOP gubernatorial standard into November. He had no negative words for his remaining GOP opponent John Faso, who visited Rockaway last month himself, andspoke warmly of State Conservative Party leader Mike Long who has all but anointed Faso to carry the Conservative Party standard in the upcoming gubernatorial contest.Weldfrankly acknowledged his interest in securing the supportof the state's Independence Party as an alternative to the Conservative line.

Hewent on to point out that, as a former U.S. Attorney,he had a better record of going after and prosecuting corruption than his likely Democratic opponent in November, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, despite Spitzer's high profilecampaign against a number of major financial firms.If anyone doubted his ability to deliver the goods asgovernor of a major state, he added,theyneed onlylook at his record as Massachusetts' chief executive in the late eighties and early nineties. He balanced the state budget every year,he noted,cut the Bay state's taxes significantly, and ranstate finances soresponsibly that the Wall Street Journal named him the most fiscally conservative governorin the nation.

Responding to questions about why he had resignedthe Massachusetts gubernatorial post in the midst of his second term to accept a pending appointment as U.S. ambassador to Mexico by the Clinton administration, and whether he thought the early resignation ultimately undermined his chancesfor the appointment, Weld acknowledgedthat it may have. But he addedhe was within weeks of making the switchover at the time, was spending much of his energy preparing for it, and thoughthe was not being fair to Massachusetts voters by continuing to hold onto the governorship while busy elsewhere. So he decided tostep down. Unfortunately, he agreed, this may have removed some of the incentive to appoint him since he was no longer a GOP governor in the Massachusetts state house who some may have wanted out of the way. The promised ambassadorial appointment ultimately failed to materialize.

Weld stressed his New York roots, noting that he was born and raised on Long Island and spent quite a bit of time growing up in the Adirondacks. Today he makes his home in both places and enjoys huntingupstate and boating downstate. Overall, Weld connected with the crowd, reflectingthe ease with which he spoke about personal issues as he fielded a number of tough audience questions. Rockaway Republicans chairperson George Greco of Belle Harbor presented the former Massachusetts governor with a campaign contribution of $107 as part of a recently established club tradition to support major GOP candidates by putting the club's money to work in the political process. Typically the group contributes $100 to visiting candidates but this time, notedGreco, "we upped it slightly to reflectincreases inprices at the pump."

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