OLEAN - Gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino did his best to quiet doubters and gain support in Cattaraugus County on Monday.
"I don't care what the polls say," he told a group of supporters in Olean on Monday. "The ground is different. The election is in November. ... We have the issues on outside and the climate is right to win this."
While still considered to be a relatively unknown to many, Astorino has been on a tour of the state, stopping off at various locations, to include Cheektowaga and Dunkirk, to get to know his potential voters. Talks have been focused on a few issues, among them are the economic situation and the political games being played by the current state executive, in Astorino's estimation.
"New York is not 'open for business,'" he said, calling into question the Cuomo plan that was to bring businesses into New York state. "If it was meant to bring businesses into the state, why is half the advertising being done in the state? It's all smoke and mirrors, a campaign tool."
Astorino said it is interesting that a governor who has taken a stance on corruption to the point of creating a commission now has the corruption commission under investigation from federal authorities.
As far as what he says he will do for the state, should he close the gap with Cuomo, Astorino said there are several things that should be done.
"I will repeal the NY SAFE Act. I will repeal Cuomo's version of Common Core," he said. "These are just two examples of how the state is heading in the wrong direction."
Astorino said he will also push through with a plan to allow for fracking in New York state.
"Look, even the President has given a thumbs-up to this form of energy exploration," Astorino said. "If you want to see why Gov. Cuomo has not gone along with the process that even environmental and conservation groups are in favor of is because Yoko Ono has said no to it."
Astorino said the method by which gas trapped between strata in rocks can be worth billions in revenue for the state, as well as as many as 25,000 jobs.
"There is no reason that we cannot set up safe regulation on these and move forward," he said. "The governor is telling the Southern Tier that you are on your own in not moving forward with this. ... It boggles my mind that we are just walking on all of the jobs, here. Walking on all of it."
Astorino also discussed business regulations. He told elected officials and business people from the area that there are some 750,000 New York state regulations, with many that could be done away with for various reasons.
"One of the biggest things the state can do is to get out of the way of business," he said.
Recounting a stop in Chenango County, Astorino said a farmer was talking to him and said all he wanted to do was farm.
"He told me his day is spent in meeting with accountants, consultants and others that, if we didn't have the regulations tying the hands of businesses, he could be a farmer," Astorino said. "We are not a state that is 'open for business."
Astorino is the Westchester County executive. A Republican in a county that is only 24 percent Republican, Astorino pulled off a double-digit win for his current term as the executive. Astorino's stop was one of many in a two-day Western New York tour.