PUTNAM VALLEY, N.Y. – Dario Gristina, 48, is running to unseat Assembly member Steve Katz of Yorktown in Thursday’s Republican primary in the newly redrawn 94th Assembly District.
Gristina has been a resident of Putnam Valley since 2002 and was a resident of New Rochelle before that. He is the CEO of Genergy, an energy and utilities monitoring and management firm. He has previously worked in several companies in positions including consulting engineering, utilities management and electrical contracting.
Gristina emigrated from Italy with his family in 1981, and he and his family have been in the energy management business since 1986, when the family started an engineering consulting firm in Manhattan. He has a wife of 10 years and is the father of six children.
1) Why do you feel voters should select you as the Republican nominee over your opponent?
"My opponent seems to be hell-bent on making political statements, voting no for every single thing that crosses his desk, which is why they call him “Dr. No,” and by pointing fingers at the Democratically run Assembly because he’s part of the minority and they won’t let him do anything. I don’t believe that’s what an elected official should do. We need to do the work that the people have elected us to do, not fighting with the other party. The Democrats, they’re not the Taliban – they’re our neighbors. We may disagree on certain points about how to run the government, but in the end we’re all citizens."
2) What, to you, is the most critical issue in this year's primary and election season?
“Gov. Andrew Cuomo put together a committee to investigate unfunded mandates and provide a report. The report was published in March of 2011. The report contains a plethora of individual rules and regulations concerning unfunded mandates that are ill-conceived and cost us money. Katz has not mentioned this report once. I doubt he’s even read it. It was out there during his first session, yet when you look at his voting record and bills he proposed, there’s not one thing that has to do with any of the measures that this report called for. So it begs the question: What is he doing?”
3) What other issues have you heard from voters that you would like to address?
“You have no idea how many calls I get from senior citizens begging me to do everything I can to help them with their property tax bill. We’re asking senior citizens to share the burden of school taxes. Meanwhile, they put their kids through school and their kids have put their kids through school and we’re still asking them to pay their way.
The other thing is that we need to come up with a thorough plan on how to retain businesses in New York state. The cost of doing business in New York is such that companies move – they don’t care, they’re not political. And then there’s the other issue of companies like Verizon that export middle-class jobs out of the United States. This practice is rewarded on Wall Street, but it’s killing our country. Our middle class is shrinking to nothing.”
4) How do you feel about the rulings from the Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee?
"The only thing they found me [unfair] on is that I said he had the worst voting record in the Assembly, but actually his record is simply abysmal. If I had said 'abysmal,' I would have been accurate."
5) Do you think this race has been run fairly?
"In a Yorktown paper he called me stupid and ignorant, simply for having views that are different than his. Despite the fact that on a daily basis his manager Nicole Katz on Facebook refers to me as a criminal and a lowlife, I’m trying to run a very fair campaign. I haven’t brought up his prior arrest record because I don’t think it’s relevant. I say what is relevant is that he’s been in the Assembly for two years, and what has he done?"
The newly redrawn 94th Assembly District includes Yorktown and Somers in Westchester County and Carmel, Putnam Valley, Southeast and Patterson in Putnam County.