PLATTSBURGH — Carl Paladino is ready to pick up his baseball bat and clean up Albany in the manner he is accustomed to.
"I'm going to shine a light on these rodents, and when you shine a light on rodents, they tend to run away," Paladino said.
"And the baseball bat I am going to use on them is the people."
Paladino, an attorney who created a successful development company in Buffalo, is seeking to become the Republican Party candidate for governor in this year's election.
The 63-year-old outspoken political newcomer spent an hour with the Press-Republican Editorial Board recently, discussing how he would fix what's wrong with the state.
"I've talked to people all over this state, and they are furious," Paladino said.
"They are also scared and don't have any hope left."
Although he has never held public office, Paladino lays claim to some victories in government circles.
He led a charge to revamp the Buffalo City Council, which he felt was being intimidated by its president, and also was involved in getting tolls removed from perimeter roads leading into Buffalo.
Paladino was also instrumental in getting the Native Americans from the Seneca tribe to build a casino within the city limits of Buffalo instead of the suburbs, although the construction of the casino was halted because of the poor economy.
"I've faced just about every problem you can think of in my life, and I know what a day's work is, and I've learned how to bring focus," he said.
Paladino's approach to government would be simple: Open it up to the people and get rid of those wishing to make a career out of politics at the expense of the public.
He rails against the long-standing method of the "three men in a room" approach to developing a state budget, which annually misses the April 1 deadline.
"If they want three men in a room, fine, but it will be three men in a room and the entire press corps," he said.
Paladino said that one of the first orders of business would be to get rid of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who, he says, runs the state.
Silver, a member of a major trial law firm, has way too many conflicts of interest to be running government.
"This man is corrupt. He makes Joe Bruno look like a choir boy," Paladino said in reference to former Senate majority leader Joseph Bruno, who was found guilty earlier this year of using his office for personal gain.
A governor of New York, Paladino asserts, must be strong and possess the ability to use the power of the office to make positive changes.
Those are qualities he doesn't see in potential foes Republican Rick Lazio or Democrat Andrew Cuomo.
"We met with Lazio for an hour, and after he left we couldn't figure out what he said," Paladino said.
"He's a good-looking guy and a nice man, but he revealed no ability to take on the demons of Albany."
Cuomo is no better, Paladino said, not buying Cuomo's claim that he is a conservative Democrat.
"Are you nuts? A zebra don't change his stripes."
When it comes to revamping the state, Paladino has one large idea he would like to implement right here in the North Country, and it starts with social-services programs.
He is tinkering with an idea to provide work programs to people instead of giving them subsidy checks.
"We don't teach people how to earn a living. We just give them welfare," he said. "This would give people a chance to go out and earn a paycheck."
The program would be patterned after the old Civilian Conservation Corps.
And if such that would displace some union jobs?
"Too bad. Union people are not a special class, like they think they are," he said.
When it comes to education, Paladino, a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and Syracuse University Law School, calls the existing system "rotten."
"It's a totally dysfunctional system, and we keep feeding this rotten system," he said, adding that vouchers, charter schools and other educational alternatives need to be seriously explored.
Regarding the Adirondack Park Agency, Paladino, who developed the Rite Aid store in Ticonderoga, said more native Adirondackers need to be on the board instead of New York City residents.
"What nonsense. The arrogance and elitism of these people," he said.
Paladino, a multi-millionaire, says he plans on spending up to $10 million of his own money in this election, and he would serve as governor only for four years, long enough to clean house with his bat and move on.
"I'm going to bring my bat, and it's going to be bloody," he said.
Paladino has selected Tom Ognibene, a former New York City Council member from Queens, as his lieutenant governor candidate.
"He's a qualified man who can do the job."
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