GOP's Rob Astorino may run for governor, makes Southern Tier stop

By Matt Porter

March 1, 2014 Updated Mar 3, 2014 at 12:14 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino stopped by the Southern Tier Friday as he mulls his decision about whether to run against New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The GOP's prospective candidate visited Action News on his trip through Broome and Tioga counties, touting a change for New York.

"No matter how you look at it, objectively New York is losing. We are dead last in all the wrong categories," Astorino said. "We have the highest taxes in America and it's not even close. We have the worst business climate."

Astorino said people are fleeing New York at high rates. He said more than 400,000 people left because of the state's high taxes.

Astorino visited Binghamton for the Lincoln Day Dinner hosted by the Broome County GOP.

He was met by dozens of protestors who oppose his view of bringing natural gas drilling, including high volume hydraulic fracturing, to the Empire State.

Craig Stevens, a landowner from Silver Lake Township in Pennsylvania, called Astorino misguided.

"All of a sudden, 'Mr. Gastorino,' Rob Astorino, who's going to be in the building, has decided fracking is great," Stevens said. "And he doesn't even know what he's talking about because he hasn't come to Pennsylvania to see what's happening."

Astorino said Cuomo's delay in bringing the natural gas industry has cost jobs, particularly in the Southern Tier.

"There's no reason why in a responsible way we can't go forward with natural gas exploration," he said. "You look at what's going on in North Dakota, what's going on just across the border in Pennsylvania, and 30 states in this country have natural gas exploration."

Astorino also said he'd work to repeal the SAFE Act if he were elected.

"It's done nothing to make us safer," Astorino said. "The fact that the governor sat there and demonized and mocked citizens who own a gun I think is outrageous."

Astorino proposed targeting schools and mental health resources to stop people who could be prone to violence before they ever pick up a gun.