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Lazio pays visit to North Country

Lazio also said he would support a moratorium on state land purchases - something that current Governor David Paterson has called for in his executive budget.

Lazio also made a stop at the Deer's Head Inn in Elizabethtown April 20 where he met with a group of 22 Republican officials and several GOP committee members.

There, Lazio promised to cap property tax increases at 2.5 percent annually and put a stop to many unfunded mandates for local governments. He said he would put the line-item veto to more frequent use as a necessary measure to reduce spending.

"Medicaid costs the state $1 billion per week and has a rising number of beneficiaries," said Lazio. "We need to fix that."

Lazio also said he expects a lot of strong opposition to his proposals as governor.

"I'm used to it, I'm ready for it," Lazio said. "If that mean's I'm a one-termer, I'm fine with that because I can pass on to my successor a better New York."

Lazio faces primary challenges from Democrat-turned-Republican Steve Levy, a celebrated Suffolk County executive, and millionaire Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, who has indicated he may run as a third party candidate if he fails to garner GOP support. Lazio claims he already has enough support from party members to prevent a primary election in September.

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is the likely Democratic candidate, although he has not yet officially declared his candidacy.

Levy made his first appearance in the North Country the week before last when he spoke at a rally of the Upstate New York TEA Party in Plattsburgh April 15.

The Essex County Republican Committee has already given its endorsement to Lazio, as have State Assemblywomen Teresa Sayward and Janet Duprey.

Ron Jackson, chair of the committee, said he could not be prouder of Lazio.

"Rick Lazio is a man who not only talks the talk but has walked the walk," said Jackson. When he was in Congress, he voted conservatively before it was popular. He is the best man to bring order to the chaos that is Albany."

Valley News Editor Matt Bosley contributed to this report.

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