Over the past two months, my campaign for Rockland County Executive has come to your living rooms on TV and in your mailboxes. You’ve also likely read about my recent errant texting. This has put my campaign in the spotlight.
Who is Dagan Lacorte? Where did he come from? How did he raise $375,000 for his campaign for Rockland County Executive? Can he be trusted based on his recent campaign tactics? And most importantly, what kind of leader will he be as County Executive? Since the stakes of this election are so high, you deserve to hear the answers to these questions directly from me.
I am Suffern's two-term Mayor; an experienced executive who has kept taxes below the property tax cap. Working with a bi-partisan board, we’ve reduced our full time payroll without layoffs, lowered our debt service while investing millions of dollars in infrastructure. And this year will see $50 million of outside investment in our downtown that will expand our tax base and support our local economy. As Mayor, I froze my own pay, exposed corruption and rejected political patronage.
I am the only candidate who has not served in the County Legislature and did not vote for the 2007 County budget that the Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress White Paper called "irrational." I am also the only Democratic candidate who has never collected more than one government paycheck.
So here are my answers to many of the questions that are important to this campaign:
You are from Ramapo, home of the "bloc vote." Can you represent the entire county?
Since Christopher St. Lawrence vigorously opposes my campaign, it's clear I am independent of the Ramapo machine. I am running to represent all of the over-taxed families of Rockland. I welcome the support of every Rockland voter who recognizes the need for change. I oppose the Patrick Farm development not because of who might live there, but because it is the overdevelopment of an environmentally sensitive site. However, every election in Rockland cannot be a referendum on the Hasidim. Our county is broke and I will not spend nine months debating Ramapo's zoning.
Former Assemblyman Ryan Karben has supported your campaign. Will he have a role in your administration?
Ryan Karben has been my friend for a decade. I appreciate his support and the perspective he gained from his years in Rockland politics. He is one of over 350 campaign donors ranging from senior citizens on a fixed income, to business leaders who believe Rockland needs an experienced, independent executive. Ryan Karben will not be a part of my administration. However, I will not disavow my friends.
Your campaign has been in the news with your errant text message. What have you learned from this mistake?
I am sorry for my mistake and ask you not to judge me by my worst moments. I aspire to run a campaign that will make you proud. In my zeal to seek the same answers from others that I offer here, I suggested the use of tactics that are wrong. I have made mistakes in my life. When I do, I admit them and learn from them. I cannot promise you perfection but that I will be 100% committed to making Rockland County an affordable place to work, retire, or raise a family. I'm the only candidate with a plan to get our county’s fiscal house in order. The other candidates have offered no plan other than salary cutting gimmicks that will reduce our deficit by less than 1/4 of one percent or the notion that “I broke it so I'm the only one who can fix it.”
Do you share the progressive social views of most Democratic voters?
I am pro-choice. I support President Obama's DREAM Act, marriage equality, and Governor’s Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act. I oppose hydraulic fracking in New York and favor legalized, regulated marijuana. I oppose the United Water Desalination plant. Alone among the Democratic candidates, I support the Governor’s SAFE Act to curb gun violence.
Do you support state intervention in East Ramapo School District?
Without state intervention, thousands of children will continue to have their futures subject to political and cultural battles they did not start and cannot end. I am the only candidate who has called upon the Commissioner of Education to immediately intervene to stop the destruction of the district and any chance a generation of mostly poor and minority children have of building a better future for themselves and their families.
Over the coming weeks, I will use this forum as well as others to answer more of the important questions Rocklanders deserve answered. Our next issues piece will focus on my specific plan on how to fix Rockland’s fiscal mess. You can also read my Mission Statement or my positions and plan on many other issues at www.solutions2013.com.