A New Rochelle man who has devoted his time to helping the Tea Party movement has entered the race for Westchester County Executive, arguing that incumbent Rob Astorino has not done enough on taxes and spending.
Kurt Colucci, 36, announced his campaign at a Friday press conference in White Plains, at the entrance for the office for the Westchester County Board of Elections. He is seeking the Conservative Party ballot line, he told reporters, but not the Republican line. Colucci added that he may also seek the line for the Independence Party. After the press conference, he went into the office to file his paperwork.
Colucci, who said he is a project manager for a mechanical engineering company in the area, is particularly concerned with taxes, likening today's relationship with the people and the government over taxation to slavery. Supporting his beliefs, Colucci wrote his own book, called A Taxslaves Manifesto.
“He promises to stop the tax madness and there's still tax madness," he said about Astorino, a Mount Pleasant Republican who has been vocal about his intention to keep property taxes from escalating.
Colucci, who described himself to the press as a "conservative libertarian," said that he has been involved with area's Tea Party movement, and supported Astorino in his last election in 2009.
Colucci also feels that Astorino has not stood up enough to the state government, which the current county executive has berated for passing along unfunded mandate costs, such as employee pension obligations. Asked about his approach to governance, Colucci stressed that he would have a dialogue on the issue. He also cited his experience in negotiating with people on behalf of his employer as something that can help in politics.
Astorino's campaign sent out a press release blasting Colucci, and distributed screen shots of his father's Facebook page, which has images posted that liken Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Nazis.
"Serious candidates for public office must reject the politics of extremism, and for Mr. Colucci that includes the deplorable imagery and language being promulgated by his father online," stated spokeswoman Jessica Proud. She added, "Until that is done, we will not dignify Mr. Colucci's candidacy with a comment. There is no room in Westchester County for this type of hatred."
Colucci, speaking with Patch, said: "They're just trying to make a story where there is none." He noted that his father's opinions are not his own.
Astorino, elected in 2009 by defeating longtime Democratic incumbent Andrew Spano, is up for re-election this November. Aside from Colucci, who intends to make a primary challenge for the Conservative line, three Democrats have announced their own bids. They are county Board of Legislators Chairman Kenneth Jenkins (D-Yonkers), county Legislator Bill Ryan (D-White Plains) and New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson.