Former minor league baseball pitcher, Aurelio “Tony” Arcabascio is stepping up to the plate.
Just last year Arcabascio came out of left field launching a State Senate campaign against heavy hitting incumbent Sen. Mike Gianaris. Arcabascio may have struck out his first bid, but that didn’t put a wet towel on his political aspirations, this time around Tony is playing hardball.
“What’s gone at borough hall has been the best for politicians not for the people,” said Arcabascio.
In stark contrast to his Democratic opponents, the longtime businessman has never held elected office but he’s been waiting in the bullpen for quite some time to give back to the community.
His decision comes at the tale end of a media blitz covering every aspect of a wide-ranging (and ongoing) corruption scandal that rocked Albany, New York City, and everything in between. The results, he said, “has made the people cynical about government.”
“Everything is kind of just the status quo – things just go on. People see the newspapers, people see the results of corruption and the majority taken into custody are democratic politicians who hold public office looking to profit from our fellow New Yorkers.”
An Astoria native, Arcabascio is the son of working class immigrants from Italy. He recently switched parties from Independent to Republican, an advantage considering Arcabascio is viewed as a neutral in GOP party politics – both sides appear to like him. But liking him and securing votes are two separate issues, especially considering it’s been over fifty years since a Republican presided over Borough Hall when James Lundy was elected to just one term.
But based on his 2012 campaign, where he received the endorsement of the Queens GOP, Arcabascio remains optimistic about the Party’s support this year. In the meantime he’s focused on a new plan for the office of Borough President: concentrating the limited powers of the office to “bring in companies and fill the empty warehouses.”
“We need a cheerleader for Queens,” he proclaimed.
Citing his goal to harness diversity, Arcabascio wants to build bridges to connect hyperlocal issues with Borough Hall. Job creation and attracting new industries is the staple of the campaign. “Not every place is Astoria and not every place is Cambria Heights or Douglaston. You have to be nimble with outside public sector experience, most of the guys running they are all career politicians.”
Arcabascio feels his private sector experience will bring a renewed vigor into Borough Hall politics. His conservative philosophy is best exemplified by his stance regarding the recently passed Paid Sick Leave Bill by the City Council.
“Look, I had a business, and no businessman needed government to tell him or me that his employees needed time off. I don’t need a government to tell me to be a decent person,” he explained. “I know the troubles small businessman go through.”
Fundraising will undoubtedly be an issue, in comparison his democratic opponents have amassed multimillion dollar war chests but Arcabascio doesn’t think it will be a problem. “You have to want to help, it can’t be about the money.”