A freshman against the Albany status quo
BY RAQUEL OKYAY
“The 9-11 anniversary is a big deal especially here in New York,” said State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R. – Fishkill).
Similar to the way the American people responded to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, the 9-11-01 attacks on American targets moved a generation of young adults into service, he said. “Nine-eleven marked an end of our childhood and the start of real adulthood, just like Pearl Harbor did – a generation before that.”
He said he was in the reserves on Sept. 11, 2001 and his sister, who was working at the World Trade Center, missed her normal train that day and never made it to the building, “All of her colleagues perished.”
“Growing up in the 80s and 90s I was carefree; I never thought about terrorism,” said the former school teacher. “After 9-11 I would learn that the world is a very dangerous place.”
It is part of the reason he served in the Marine Corps in Iraq, said Lalor. “Nine-eleven is what ultimately led me into the state assembly and government service.”
He said he is very happy with the results of last week’s primaries. “All the low-lives lost; Spitzer, Weiner, and Lopez, who was thrown out of the state assembly for sexual harassment, lost his bid for city council.”
A Bill de Blasio win in the Democrat primary for mayor is of concern, he said. “I represent Southern Dutchess County; thousands and thousands of my constituents get on the train or drive into Manhattan or the other boroughs every day.”
de Blasio’s views on safety issues are far out of the realm of reality, said the former Marine Corporal. “Safety is a real issue; we are dealing with people’s lives.
“I am opposed to intervention in Syria,” Lalor noted. “We have been at war for literally 12 years to the day; we can debate the facts, but I do not see a direct national security threat.”
A small “symbolic” strike is worthless, he said. “Either come heavy or don’t come at all.” Not that he supports “heavy” because he does not, but because he said there is no national security issue.
Although the Dutchess County assemblyman is on the side of not doing anything at all in Syria, he said it may be too late for Obama to take a similar stance. “He has taken a hit in terms of reputation on the world’s stage; Putin is running circles around him.”
Our enemies will be emboldened to test us further, he said. “We have a president who is presiding like it is his first year in office; he is being tested on the world stage and as a result, he is showing his weakness.”
Lalor said he is concerned about the propaganda machine of Al Jazeera television. “AJA is now a station in 40 million homes in New York; it’s on Comcast, Verizon, FIOS and a couple of additional providers as a basic channel.”
The so-called news network has been proven to be illegitimate in the past, he said. “The channel is owned by the nation of Qatar, which is a dictatorship, and who are known as our worst ally in the Middle East.”
For instance, he said when a Lebanese family were ambushed and killed by terrorists in 2008, Al Jazeera threw a party and described the terrorists as Pan-American heroes. “He was a terrorist who killed an entire family with a child.”
He said he does not oppose the broadcast as an option, however making it a basic channel means it is lumped with other basic channels – such as the Yankees network. “If I want to watch the Yankees’ game, I also have to watch advertisements sponsored by AJA.”
While Lalor said he is a big believer in first amendment rights, it does not protect a foreign dictator. “Make it an option not an interruption. If the people want to know what the Islamic radical world is up to, they should have that choice, like we choose to watch HBO.”
“We have a nationwide petition with up to 4,000 signatures demanding that cable companies make AJA an option, not a monopoly,” he said.
AJA is not designed to make a profit nor gain large ratings, he said. “Qatar has the second highest per capita income in the world; they are looking to be a propaganda organ for a foreign government.”
Back to NY issues, “Sheldon “Shelly” Silver has been in the assembly since Michael Gerald Ford was the president,” Lalor, the author of This Recruit: A First Hand Account of Marine Corps Boot Camp Written While Knee Deep in Mayhem, noted.
Every piece of policy coming from the state assembly, under the last four or five governors, has led to the terrible financial shape we are in, Lalor said. “Nothing gets through the assembly without Silver’s blessing.”
“Next year when every member of the assembly is up for reelection, the Democrats are going to have to provide answers as to why they have kept Silver as speaker,” he said. “Even the New York Times, the Daily News, and other newspapers are calling for Silver to step-down.”
“67% of New Yorkers want him to step down,” he said. “Three Democrat members of the assembly have been indicted in the last year.”
Silver let women down, he said. “He covered up for sexual harassment before rather than following the rules of the assembly, and now there are new victims.”
“How can we tolerate the sexual harassment of women going back years and the failure of Silver to protect future victims?” asked Lalor.
Lalor ran for Congress in District 19 in 2008, losing to then-incumbent John Hall. At the time, District 19 contained part of Rockland County, including Stony Point. On Thursday, September 19, Lalor will be back in Stony Point as the guest speaker at town supervisor candidate Dylan Skriloff’s fundraiser at Lynch’s Restaurant.