By Bianca Fortis
Joe Lhota, one of three Republicans vying to be the city’s next mayor, stressed one message to voters in south Queens last week:
“Government needs to be there for the people,” he said. “Government should not be there for the government.”
Lhota, together with City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) stumped for votes Friday at Aldo’s II Pizzeria in Ozone Park.
Throughout their speeches, both Lhota and Ulrich emphasized Lhota’s association with former Mayor Giuliani.
“If you like the kind of mayor that Rudy Giuliani was, and if you agreed with at least half the things Mike Bloomberg tried to do to continue along those policies, you are going to love Joe Lhota as the mayor,” Ulrich told the crowd.
During the Giuliani administration, Lhota served as the city’s finance commissioner and was later appointed the deputy mayor for operations.
From October 2011 to December 2012, Lhota served as the chairman of the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority.
In his Ozone Park appearance, he touted both his financial credentials and his knowledge of the city’s inner workings as a track record that qualifies him to be the next mayor.
One crucial problem facing the next administration is reining in the city’s finances, Lhota said.
“I believe the city of New York has enough revenue,” Lhota said. “Our taxes are too high, our fees are too high. Here’s the problem: the city has a spending problem.”
Lhota also said he would re-install the regular town hall meetings with the city’s top administrators that had been held during the Giuliani years.
“I want the government to listen to the people and react to the people,” he said.
He said government agencies need to be held more accountable to the people, contending that when citizens file complaints, they don’t hear back from anyone.
Lhota said he wants to address affordability issues in the city and keep the city safe.
“I want a New York City where we can live, where we can work, where we can have a lot of fun and most importantly, we can raise our families,” Lhota said.
Lhota will face off against John Catsimatidis and George McDonald in the primary election for the Republican nomination Tuesday. The general election takes place Nov. 5.
Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.