BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra has his sights set on the state's top job.
Giambra announced late this afternoon that he will challenge Andrew Cuomo for governor this fall. Giambra will run on the Republican ticket.
Giambra believes his resume in the public and private sector gives him perspective that will make New York thrive.
“I am not a traditional Republican. I am a middle of the road, big tent Republican who thinks there is room for diversions, ideas, and opinions within the party,” said Giambra.
Giambra zeroed in on one problem he admits to being a part of, funding politics. He wants campaign finance reform.
He also wants the state to stop handing out large sums of money, referencing Governor Cuomo's Buffalo Billion initiative.
“What we saw today,” said Giambra in reference to Cuomo’s State of the State. “Was the same old traditional tax and spend proposals hundreds of millions and billions of dollars were proposed for projects that will probably never ever get off the ground.”
Giambra says he will also continue the fight to legalize recreational marijuana.
The only other Republican candidate for governor is Assemblyman Brian Kolb.
Giambra was a Democrat when he served on the Buffalo Common Council and as Buffalo City Comptroller. He changed his party affiliation in 1999 and went on to defeat incumbent Dennis Gorski in the race for Erie County Executive.
Giambra served as county executive for two terms from 2000 to 2007, and was in office during the 2005 budget crisis when the county slashed jobs and services and closed parks and libraries. The state appointed a control board to oversee the county's finances under Giambra's watch.