Ted Ghorra heads up diverse, unified Brooklyn Republican Party
Newly Elected Chairman Says Party Is Committed to Expanded Outreach
Ted Ghorra’s election to position of Brooklyn Republican Party chairman on Nov. 4 marked a new and unified front for the GOP, as elected officials praised his selection. New York State Republican Chairman Ed Cox was quick to offer his congratulations, as were New York State Conservative Chairman Mike Long, U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan, state Sen. Marty Golden, state Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis and Brooklyn Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar.
Golden said, “I am proud to have Chairman Ghorra as the leader of the Kings County GOP. Ted has all the key attributes of a strong leader and I am confident he will unify the Republican Party here in Brooklyn.”
Malliotakis said of Ghorra, “He is young, energetic and will make a great leader.”
Ghorra and his leadership group are excited to roll out their agenda, begin community outreach and bring an influx of new faces and tremendous energy to the party.
Ghorra took the time to speak with the Brooklyn Eagle and answer some pressing questions.
Brooklyn Eagle: What is the state of the Republican Party in Brooklyn today?
Ted Ghorra: The Brooklyn Republican Party is diverse, committed to expanded outreach and will support qualified candidates for public office at every level of government. As a testament to this statement, our new executive committee is comprised of a diverse group of people with various business, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, including men and women, young and old, veterans, educators, former law enforcement and civilians, media and IT professionals, health care professionals, a professional athlete, a government employee, a business entrepreneur and professionals, community activist and volunteers, and more.
Eagle: Has the election of a Republican president shifted the dynamic of the party in Bay Ridge?
Ghorra: Moving forward, the Brooklyn Republican Party is segueing off of a positive high following the party wins on the various national and state levels last November, and is very energized.
Eagle: How closely do you work with state Sen. Marty Golden?
Ghorra: We work closely with all of our elected officials and other leaders within the party.
Eagle: What is your relationship with the Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long and Vice Chairman Jerry Kassar?
Ghorra: We have a very good relationship with both the NY state and Brooklyn Conservative Party leadership, and when called for, a solid working relationship on issues that are common to our respective parties, such as fiscal and governmental efficiency matters.
Eagle: You recently hosted an election night party for U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan. Have you been a longtime supporter of the congressman?
Ghorra: We hosted an election night “watch party” and were pleased to host and personally announce the re-election of Congressman Donovan, NY state Sen. Marty Golden and NY state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis. Our party has long supported Congressman Donovan and all our elected officials and will continue to do so in the future.
Eagle: What are the specific differences between the Republican and Conservative Parties as you see it?
Ghorra: Generally speaking, the Republican Party focuses less on social issues than the Conservative Party, and has a more varied degree of views on certain other issues given the size and scope of the GOP nationally and on certain city and state levels, as one would expect.
Eagle: What is the political makeup of Brooklyn? As far as voting patterns, what is the most Republican neighborhood in the borough?
Ghorra: It will come as little surprise to any of your readers that Brooklyn today is comprised of a majority of registered Democrats. We do, however, have a number of Republican elected officials covering more Republican/Conservative-leaning parts of our borough, including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Marine Park, Bergen Beach, Gerritsen Beach, Borough Park and Windsor Terrace. Moreover, we have begun and will expand our base to the many different and varied groups of people and voting blocs around our borough.
Eagle: Please address the issues that the Republican and Conservative parties are facing right now.
Ghorra: Generally, [and candidly] speaking, with some exceptions, I believe that the party has not [in the past] done a very good job of meeting and communicating with a number of communities in Brooklyn and other similar metropolitan cities. That said, we have the will, desire and persistence to expand our outreach into numerous communities, many of which much more closely align with our Brooklyn Republican party message than other party messages [and performance] on a variety of issues that matter to everyday people.
From a more broad view, the country and, to varying degrees, cities and states face serious domestic and economic issues, jobs, terrorism, debt, entitlement programs, international affairs, infrastructure, treatment of veterans, homelessness and more. These issues are American issues, not partisan issues.
Eagle: Do you feel that recent events will create more of a two-party system?
Ghorra: Yes. I genuinely and strongly believe that voters around Brooklyn [and citywide] need to have a choice in candidates, and to be afforded a serious but civil discussion on issues that matter to them. One-party rule does a great disservice to the citizens of any locale, as they may know what they hear [and have heard for too long], but do not get the benefit of a variety of ideas, energy, thought and new approaches to both problems and potential opportunities.
Simply stated, people should not view candidates with a label in their mind, but rather they should to take the time to hear them out, and not to hear the same old, same old, including labels that have been placed on parties and people of the past. Simply stated, too many voters in our borough and city are often taken for granted, and that is not a good thing for anyone.
Eagle: The notion of bigger government solving all the problems is the opposite view of the Republican Party. You believe that less is more — that’s less government, correct?
Ghorra: We believe in efficient and responsive government, and not depriving those in real need. Simply throwing more money at an issue alone hoping to make it go away has never worked. In the end, we are all paying too much for the services offered. [By the way], demonizing anyone for demanding efficiency and accountability in government is not proper or viable. Most people would be hard pressed to find a majority of people who think our property taxes, tolls, the various imposed fees, sales taxes, income taxes, gas taxes, soda taxes, cigarette taxes, parking fines and so on are not too numerous and too high already. Are our streets, schools, bridges, government-run agencies and other items so well-run that more money is called for without a change in thought, cost effectiveness and accountability? Something has to change in many regards, and putting many of the same like-minded individuals into office will only continue this costly and destructive pathway. Again, a diversity of thought and candidates is called for more now than ever.
Eagle: Do you think that Trump can live up to the legacy of esteemed Republican presidents such as Ronald Reagan?
Ghorra: I think the right question is what are the issues facing our country now and can President-elect Trump make progress in addressing the most pressing issues of our time. Based on his personality and demeanor, he clearly projects being a “doer.” See, e.g., the Carrier AC announcement. This could have been done long ago, but for whatever reason, there lacked a will and leadership at the top on down. If he continues to deliver on the economy, and changes America’s approach to international affairs, terrorism and immigration [among other significant issues facing our country today], then history will judge him rather kindly, as it did President Reagan. I note for your readers, especially the youngest ones, that the press and many others were quite harsh on President Reagan at the time of his presidency, but that looking back, his legacy proved one to look up upon. So, a bit of patience and some hindsight will answer your question a few years down the road.
Eagle: Do you think Trump’s Washington beltway outsider status helped him win the election? And will this help him moving forward?
Ghorra: Yes, it clearly did, as many folks who felt left behind or just disgusted at the state of affairs [both recent and/or in the aggregate of the past dozen-plus years] ultimately cared more about the state of their lives than any of the other noise surrounding the tumultuous election. Yes, being an outsider will help him tremendously in the near term, and if he accomplishes a few items of significance early on, it will garner public confidence which will correlate to the various members of Congress in wanting to cooperate moving forward on other subsequent items.
Eagle: You have a good working relationship with Brooklyn Republicans and Conservatives [Marty Golden, Mike Long, Jerry Kassar, Nicole Malliotakis]. What is the exact chemistry and what can be accomplished by working together in a united front?
Ghorra: We have good personal chemistry, which lends itself to a good working relationship, one built on professionalism and mutual respect. This conduct with them and among our broader leadership, future candidates and party members can only lend its self to success in the long run.
Eagle: As an attorney, what do your skills enable you to bring to the table?
Ghorra: A combination of negotiation and people skills, together with having faced long- and short-term issues [e.g., financial, personnel, fiduciary, ethical, transactional, litigation and more] on behalf of a wide variety of clients lends itself well in this regard.
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