The election of Republican Greek-American Nicole Malliotakis, the Staten Island native who will represent the state’s 11th District, is seen by many as an antidote to the leftist political positions taken by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, usually referred to by her initials, AOC.
The new Congresswoman, who has spent the last decade representing her home district in the New York Assembly, stated in an exclusive interview with Greek Reporter that the most important issues as she see it, are “Rebuilding the economy, restoring American jobs, public safety and preserving the American dream and stopping socialism.”
Last month, she declared to supporters “To me, this is a very important election because we do have people who are pushing a socialist agenda.” Malliotakis then introduced her mother, who had been forced to flee the Communist revolution in Cuba in 1959.
“Some people in Washington — the obvious ones like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — are trying to bring the very policies to this nation that millions of immigrants like my parents fled,” Malliotakis charged at the rally.
Clashing over Amazon investment
Malliotakis recently clashed with twenty-eight-year-old Cortez, who describes herself as a Democratic Socialist, over Amazon’s plans to build a new complex in the New York area.
Cortez was against the investment — a project that was seen as extremely desirable by many NYC politicians, including Democratic mayor Bill DeBlasio and New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo — stating that Amazon paid its employees “starvation wages.”
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, himself a Democrat, said his company’s starting wage was $15.00 per hour, which leads the industry. The prospective deal had been purported to have meant the addition of 25,000 jobs to the New York area, along with a possible $27 billion in future tax revenues.
In an interview the day after the deal folded, Malliotakis stated of those who had campaigned against it “These people have no idea how the economy works. Here’s an opportunity to bring 25,000 jobs to New York City. These are good-paying jobs — $150,000 salary on average. And the people who’re fighting the $15 minimum wage killed the deal. They felt it wasn’t good enough.
“And yes, we could have gotten a better deal, certainly. Our governor, now Mayor, negotiated a bad deal on behalf of the taxpayers,” she admitted. “However,” she pointed out, “we should have been looking into how to improve it.”
“Green New Deal” May Cost $93 trillion
Malliotakis has also clashed with AOC over a multi-trillion dollar scheme which had the goal of reducing the US’ carbon emissions to zero.
The details of the plan, which eventually were adopted by Democratic candidates as the “Green New Deal,” would cost up to $93 trillion.
“Millennials and people, you know, Gen Z and all these folks that will come after us are looking up and we’re like: ‘The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?'” AOC stated in a Tweet after a cascade of criticism rained down on her after her earlier statement.
The American Action Forum, a center-right policy institute which is the sister organization of the American Action Network, a conservative nonprofit which supports Republicans in general elections, estimated total costs for the Green New Deal might run from $51 trillion to $93 trillion between 2020 and 2029.
For her part, Malliotakis was in complete opposition to the Green New Deal, stating in a Tweet: “Bill de Blasio knows that a vote for Max Rose is a vote to keep Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez & the Socialist Squad empowered to pass their radical agenda including socialized medicine & Green New Deal. It’s a package deal. A vote for him is a vote for them! #NY11Debate”
Support for Defunding the Police
But on a much more visceral level, AOC’s many statements in favor of the Black Lives Matter group, which has called for a nationwide defunding of police departments and whose members have been part of riots and other unrest across the nation in 2020, may have unsettled Staten Islanders the most.
The borough, known as the one reliably stalwart Republican area in New York, has been home to a great many police officers and firefighters over generations.
In a recent video for the website “Now This,” AOC berated what she termed the “police-military-industrial complex,” calling for wholesale changes in the way police do their jobs, complaining of the tactics they had used when dealing with the riots of the summer of 2020.
Saying that these changes would “take tough, bold, political sacrifices,” AOC then bemoaned the federal government’s granting of the qualified immunity that police and other law enforcement have always had, stating that the “federal government enables injustices.”
In another move which may have swung many voters over to Malliotakis, the presence of incumbent Max Rose at a May demonstration which called for the defunding of the police apparently didn’t help him in his reelection bid.
The photographs of him standing next to someone holding a placard that read “Blue Lives Murder” became a hallmark of the election and may well have been the deciding factor in the swing to the right in the 11th District.
Pushing Back Against “Radical policies”
Public safety has become a very big issue in New York in 2020. In the runup to the election, Malliotakis had stressed that the rule of law and order must return again to the city, after the increase in crime and unrest over the past year, which she likened to the worst times the city endured in the 1980s, before Mayor Rudolph Giuliani cracked down on criminals.
“My community is looking for someone who’s going to push back against these radical policies that have made us less safe. Shootings, murders, burglaries, car thefts, they have all skyrocketed in the last year. And we are going back to the 1980’s and we need to restore law and order to the streets of this city,” Malliotakis told Greek Reporter.
“I’m proud to have the endorsement of every police union of New York City, and there are five of them — fifteen law enforcement organizations total.”
Asked if crime in New York City has gotten worse after the riots spurred by racial unrest, Malliotakis answers “It’s been a culmination of policies that have taken place over the last couple of years. Certainly the defund the police movement added to that.”
And especially in a year which has meant nothing but constant upheaval, in which the entire world is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and US cities have seen widespread rioting and unrest, fatigue appears to have set in.