A New York City Democratic lawmaker crossed party lines Thursday to endorse Republican Lee Zeldin for governor over incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul.
New York City Democratic city councilman Robert Holden, a moderate from Glendale, Queens, slammed Hochul over the crime crisis ravaging both the city and state.
“It is absurd what they just said about not seeing crime. We see with our own eyes on the street, we see when we ride the subways, we see that,” Holden said Thursday on “Your World with Neil Cavuto.”
Holden recalled the proverbial bad old days of the 1980s and 90s in New York City, telling Fox News that “broken windows” policing had been key to bringing the Big Apple out of the crime-ridden doldrums.
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The strategy, spearheaded by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, focused on responding to smaller infractions like vandalism and turnstile-jumping to prevent larger more serious crimes.
Bratton once told WABC Radio the younger generation doesn’t understand the importance of the strategy because they didn’t live through that period of time. Holden wasn’t afraid to give a Republican credit for cracking down on crime in the Big Apple.
“Rudy Giuliani saved New York City. And I’m a Democrat saying that,” Holden said. “But that was the truth.”
Holden said crime under Hochul and other liberal Democrats has led to New Yorkers fleeing southward, which Zeldin has also lamented on the campaign trail.
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“[Y]ou have a governor right now in there for 14 months who should be the Florida realtor of the year, because we have a mass exodus from New York City to Florida, South Carolina, Texas, it’s ridiculous,” he said.
“I’ve been a Democrat for 50 years and I voted Democrat for very many years. But we’re at a point [where] we’re losing this city, and we’re losing the state.’.
The current city council makeup is 46 Democrats to 5 Republicans; with both Manhattan and the Bronx having no GOP representation.
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“Lee Zeldin has the momentum. We’re seeing people in my district, I think it’s overwhelming,” said Holden, adding his district is 2 to 1 Democrat but appears to favor the Republican gubernatorial hopeful with 70% support.
“People really need to feel safe. And when we don’t feel safe … people are moving out, not going to concerts are not going to the movies or not taking the subways – and businesses get hurt,” he said, contrasting that with Hochul’s prioritization of MTA Congestion Pricing – which will charge motorists $23 to enter or traverse Manhattan below 60 Street (essentially south of Central Park).
As an outerborough lawmaker, Holden said that makes Hochul very much out of touch with his constituents, who travel into Manhattan for work and leisure, calling the originally Cuomo-led initiative a “$23 tax” on Queens residents.
“They said they’re going to put [the revenue] toward the subways, but that’s a losing situation.”