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John Catsimatidis, prior to his recent announcement that he is now a Republican candidate for mayor, had a long and successful career in the free enterprise system.
He is the owner and chairman of the Red Apple Group and Gristedes Foods. In addition to his supermarket holdings, Catsimatidis is a certified jet pilot. He owns several aircraft companies and has acquired an oil refining company.
Catsimatidis, should he win the Republican primary and go on to win the fall election campaign and then become mayor, would be a hands-on mayor and seek personal involvement in political and city government matters that arise during his administration.
In a recent interview, I asked what was one major change he would like to see in New York City government. He indicated he wanted deputy mayors appointed in all five boroughs. They would report directly to the mayor about important developments within the boroughs.
In terms of public education, Catsimatidis strongly favors a return to vocational high schools where, in addition to academic subjects, the students can learn trades like auto repair, carpentry and electrical work. He indicated that a significant number of students are dropping out of school and might be encouraged to finish high school if they were offered courses in trade skills. It would be one of the main priorities of his administration to bring back vocational schools in some form.
Regarding the issue of providing security for students in schools, he favors a camera system in schools that would alert police if any problems arise.
As for crime in the city, he favors more police on the streets. He also believes that stop-and-frisk is periodically needed but should be supervised.
There has been labor unrest, much of it in transportation. Catsimatidis believes he has the experience to deal with these matters from the background he gained in dealing with labor unions. He emphasized he would get involved in negotiations. He said he would endeavor to be fair to the city government, unions and taxpayers.
Catsimatidis also intends to give much time and effort to creating jobs and bringing down unemployment. He intends to speak about that continuously during the mayoral campaign. Again, due to his background in business, he believes he has the experience to create jobs.
He was a guest speaker at the recent annual Queens Village Republican Club’s Lincoln dinner. He was well-received by the guests. He came to the United States as an immigrant and has built one of the most successful business enterprises in recent times. Now he is running for mayor. His success in business would be a big help if he is to become the next mayor.
It is going to be a long campaign with a primary election race in both major political parties running through the year to September. This means that starting now the primary will continue for months. Campaigning for the final general fall election will be for a few weeks.
It is going to be an interesting race, with petitions being circulated and candidates in both major parties building campaign organizations.
In the past we have seen exciting races for mayor, including the races of Bloomberg, Rudolph Giuliani and Ed Koch. The mayoral race this year will be no less so.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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