Brooklyn GOP hosts mayoral forum in Dyker Heights
Candidates Michel Faulkner and Paul Massey Address the Issues
The Brooklyn Republican Party and its executive committee sponsored a well-attended forum for the two currently leading mayoral candidates, the Rev. Michel Faulkner and real estate executive Paul Massey, allowing them each an opportunity to introduce themselves and answer questions.
Brooklyn Republican Party Chairman Ted Ghorra hosted the event at the Dyker Beach Golf Course at 1030 86th St., spotlighting the two candidates from diverse backgrounds. In fact, it was truly a tale of two very different hopefuls who presented their accomplishments and goals to an audience of community leaders, concerned individuals and representatives from the media.
Attending the forum were Conservative Party of New York State Chairman Mike Long, Brooklyn Republican Party Vice Chairman Brian Doherty and Republican City Council candidates, Bob Capano, John Quaglione and Liam McCabe.
Faulkner and Massey were each given one hour to speak, present their platform and take questions from the audience. Massey went first, addressing the audience in a calm and measured tone.
Massey is a successful entrepreneur who built a real estate business with operations in every neighborhood in New York City’s five boroughs.
He co-founded one of the nation’s largest privately owned commercial property brokerage firms, Massey Knakal, in 1988.
Massey opened with a humorous anecdote about how his wife, a Hillary Clinton supporter, told him if the rumors were true about Clinton entering the mayoral race, she would have a hard time deciding who to vote for.
He thanked Ghorra for inviting him to the forum and for all the work he is doing uniting the Republican Party. Massey also praised Faulkner in his opening remarks as a “good person who has my kind of values.”
Massey said that the reason that he is running for mayor is because, “We have a significant leadership vacuum.” He said the city today has “no strategy for why we’re doing what we’re doing, why we’re the greatest city in the world and no vision for where we are going to be in five years. That’s very unsettling to people and that’s the lack of leadership I see.”
He added that he feels Mayor Bill de Blasio has let the people of the city down and alluded to what he called the “level of corruption and dysfunction” in the de Blasio administration. He went on to say that he objected to the divisiveness of the mayor’s promoting a “tale-of-two-cities, rich-against-poor, black-against-white,” world, calling it dangerous. He told the audience that we live in New York because we embrace diversity and we are all united together as a city.
Massey called himself independent in the sense that he has not taken any pack money — teacher’s union money, money from animal rights groups — and compared himself to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg in that he would invest his own money in his campaign, and as mayor, no one would have any influence on him.
And like Bloomberg, Massey believes his business background and emphasis on hard work with winning results will help him find efficient solutions for what he sees as de Blasio’s failures: the relationship between the mayor and the police, housing, the homeless, lack of jobs, education and quality of life. “We want to be the campaign for everyone, independents, democrats, republicans and everybody in between,” he said.
The second hour introduced Rev. Michel Faulkner, a charismatic speaker who had the audience applauding loudly. His campaign committee carried posters and handed out flyers to everyone attending.
Faulkner, a newly minted Brooklynite and a community leader who is currently the pastor of the New Horizon Church in New York City, spoke passionately about his candidacy. Among his many accomplishments, Faulkner is a former professional football player who was a defensive lineman for the Jets during the 1981-’82 NFL season.
His ministry has included being an advocate for the poor and homeless, and his community and civic work includes being appointed by former Mayor Rudy Giuliani to the Task Force on Police Community Relations.
“This is a very, very important process and a very important time in the history of our city and of our nation, and it’s very important for all of us to stand together as citizens and as patriots,” Faulkner said as he thanked everyone who attended and Ghorra and the Brooklyn Republican Party for arranging the forum.
“In 1988 I did the unthinkable,” Faulkner added. “I traded in a career in the ivory tower to run a soup kitchen in Times Square,” adding “I know that the extension of the service that I had as a servant in the soup kitchen and serving the poor will continue as a mayor.”
He identified the rise in New York City taxes as a factor that is driving out the middle class. He said that property tax has gone up 200 percent in the last 15 years. The city’s budget has doubled from $42 billion to $84 billion.
“These are unsustainable growth numbers and they are forcing out the middle class, forcing mom and pop businesses to close and at the same time we see a rise in homelessness and a rise in quality of life crimes, he said. “We see education reform stalled by a pro teachers’ union mayor, and the city agencies are mired and mangled with dysfunction and corruption. New York City can and must do better. We must have better leadership.”
Faulkner supports tax cuts for small businesses to create jobs, supports alternatives to the public school system such as charter schools and school choice and he is pro-life.
Faulkner said the Republicans have the message, but up until now, they did not have the messenger. He called himself the new face of the Republican Party and said that he can deliver that message in a way that people will receive it.
Faulkner concluded by saying, “Can you imagine how things will turn nationally if we elect, when we elect, as we elect, a black, conservative republican mayor?”
Ghorra thanked everyone for attending and said there would be an upcoming City Council forum and more mayoral forums in the future.