New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has come under fire for saying that extreme conservatives "have no place in New York State."
The Governor made the comments on public radio's "The Capitol Pressroom" on Friday when he talked about the rift between moderates and conservatives within the Republican Party. "their problem is not me and democrats, their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives, who are right to life, pro assault weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that is who they are and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the State of New York." Cuomo said.
The comments have received national attention and criticism from conservatives and republicans. Vice Chairman of the Onondaga County Conservative Party, Jacques Zenner said, "He's arrogant. He doesn't have any respect for people who disagree with him."
Zenner told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon that he takes offense to the idea that he and other so-called extreme conservatives have no place in New York State. "I'm not anti-gay. I'm pro gun. I'm pro life, but I'm not anti- gay...Who is the Governor to say that. He's the Governor. He's a public servant. He's not a dictator. When he says "they have no place in New York," that means he's dictating to us."
Over the weekend, Governor Cuomo's office issued an answer to a New York Post article which disputed whether he told conservatives to "leave New York."
The Governor's office is up for re-election this year. Kenyon asked potential voters what they thought about the Governor's comment.
Christopher Simser, who says he's a conservative said, "I think it's a poor idea for the Governor to isolate an entire voting block. I think it's indicative of the way downstate politicians shut off upstate. They characterize us as conservative because we're less in line with some of the entitlement programs they like to pass, generally at our expense."
Paul Cowley also criticized Cuomo. "To isolate people and label them that way, I think is a little dangerous." he said
Emily Frankel however says there no place for anything extreme in the state. "I don't think it's such a bad comment, I kind of agree with it. But I'm a liberal person and I'm an accepting person. I don't think extreme conservatism is something I believe in either." she said.
Jacques Zenner says he has no intention of leaving, even if the Governor says there's no place for him.