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Faso claims Spitzer hostile to growth in bid for governor

Faso, a graduate of Archbishop Molloy High School and former state Assembly minority leader, stumped his issues and took questions from borough residents at a Regular Republican Club meeting in Woodside.He said costs of living and owning a house as well as energy bills have increased drastically throughout the state."It's going to be very difficult for small businesses in New York if we don't change some of these things," Faso said.And he labeled his opponent and frontrunner in the governor's race, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, as "hostile" to commercial growth and too careless with tax hikes."We need to start living within our means in this state," he said.Faso and Massachusetts governor Bill Weld represent the only GOP opposition to Spitzer now that billionaire Tom Golisano decided last week not to make a fourth run for the office. With the backing of the Republican State Committee and about twice as much money raised, Weld is seen as Spitzer's biggest threat.Faso acknowledged at the Jan. 31 meeting that he had his work cut out for him but said that if Republican leaders like those in the Woodside GOP club help get him name recognition, he stood a decent chance."I know right now we're the underdog," he said. "But if people will be prone to vote for us if they just know we're out there."Reach reporter Zach Patberg at news@timesledger.com or at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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