May 21, 2014

NYS Controller Thomas DiNapoli chokes up accepting Democratic nomination for reelection

By Ken Lovett

As he accepted the state Democratic nomination for reeleciton, state Controller Thomas DiNapoli choked up talking about the sacrifice his mother and father made as he grew up.

“They taught me the value of hard work, family loyalty and the importance of being a good neighbor,” DiNapoli, his voice quivering, said. He pointed out he came from a union household.

DiNapoli will face Republican designee Robert Antonacci, the Onondaga County controller.

DiNapoli during his 15-minute address highlighted his record, saying his office has recovered $1 billion waste, fraud and abuse of public dollars.

He touted his coordination with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office that has led to the arrests of corrupt state and local officials.

And he boasted of how he brought the office back from the scandals he inherited after replacing Alan Hevesi. The pension fund now is at a record $176 billion.

“We’ve restored confidence to a plan that had been dragged into scandal,” he said.

“Serving a state controller is a privilege,” DiNapoli said. “I approach each day in office with very simply--do good and make a positive difference.”

The pension fund, he said, continues to be secure.

“Unlike many other states, our plan is well funded and sustainable,” he said.

DiNapoli spoke of the “important, compelling and independent role” his office has in trying to move the state forward.

He offered passing praise for Gov. Cuomo, with whom he’s had a rocky relationship, but also seemed to take a subtle shot when he came out against doing away with defined pension benefits for government workers. Cuomo in 2011 sought to offer the option of a 401-K like benefit to workers.

Republicans have called for something similar.

”I say no way, not on my watch,” DiNapoli said. “We’re not going to go there.”