Bay Ridge

Kassar endorses Rubio for president

December 18, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nicole Malliotakis, New York State chairman of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign, says she’s pleased a number of political leaders have come forward to endorse her candidate. Photo courtesy of Malliotakis
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A number of prominent Republican and conservative party leaders in Brooklyn have endorsed U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) for president, according to Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, his New York state campaign chairman.

Malliotakis announced on Dec. 17 that more than a dozen elected officials and party leaders from Brooklyn and from across the state are throwing their support behind Rubio.

The Rubio supporters include Gerard Kassar, chairman of the Brooklyn Conservative Party, and Fran Vella-Marrone, the party’s vice chairman.

Former Brooklyn Republican Party Chairman Craig Eaton, former vice chairman Thomas McCarthy, Republican Party State Committee members John Pawson and Veronica Pawson are also among the senator’s supporters.

The New York state Presidential Primary is scheduled for Tuesday, April 19.

Malliotakis said this is the first round of New York endorsements and that more can be expected.

The endorsements were announced at a time when Rubio, who is behind in most national polls to frontrunner Donald Trump, appears poised to establish himself as the Republican Party’s alternative to the billionaire non-politician.

“We are excited to announce this list of New York leaders who have joined Marco’s growing team from around the nation and who believe Marco Rubio is the person to lead the United States into a New American Century. There is strong support across New York state for Marco Rubio’s vision and plan to achieve a job-creating economy, strong national security and preserve the American Dream,” Malliotakis said.

Kassar said he is impressed with Rubio’s positions on foreign policy and national security. “I have been familiar with him for some time and I have heard him speak in person a number of times. I have listened to him articulate his vision for America. So when he announced his candidacy, I already had a reference point,” Kassar told the Brooklyn Eagle.

Kassar stressed that he was making the endorsement as an individual and that the Brooklyn Conservative Party has not yet chosen its presidential candidate.

But he said that at Republican debate “watch parties” he has been hosting this campaign season, Rubio seems to be impressing conservative party members.

Another factor that drew Kassar to Rubio: electability. “As a party leader, I have to look at a candidate’s ability to win in November,” he said.

Malliotkais also touted Rubio’s electability. “Marco’s consistent performance in the debates, along with his unique depth of knowledge about foreign affairs and national security issues, make him the clear choice to unite and represent the Republican Party and, ultimately, defeat Hillary Clinton next year,” she said.


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