BACKGROUND: Molinaro, 42, grew up in Yonkers and Tivoli, and was raised by a single mother on food stamps. He went to public schools and earned an associate degree from Dutchess County Community College — if he wins, he’d be the first NY governor since Al Smith in the 1920s to not have a bachelor’s degree. He’s been in politics since he was elected to the Tivoli Village Board at age 18. At 19, he was elected mayor, becoming then the youngest mayor in America. He served on the county legislature for six years and as a state assemblyman for five before being elected Dutchess County executive in 2011, where he was considered a moderate focused on mass transit, health care and the environment. Molinaro and his wife, Corinne, have three children and live in Red Hook.
ISSUES: Molinaro has built his campaign around three central themes: Reducing property taxes and state mandates; fixing mass transit; and restoring credibility in state government after a series of corruption scandals. His economic plan includes having the state take over the full costs of Medicaid from counties (instead of splitting it), requiring a “supermajority” (60 percent) vote to enact any tax increase and cap state spending. His transit plan calls for repealing contracting laws that boost labor costs on public projects; enacting “congestion pricing” on driving in Manhattan to encourage mass transit use; and increasing the steadily deteriorating “on time” performances of subways and trains. His “anti-corruption” plan includes ending direct grants to private corporations, increasing auditing oversight of economic grants and tax breaks and prohibiting campaign contributions from entities pursuing state contracts. He touts his everyman background and notes he wasn’t “born into a political dynasty” like Cuomo.