Assemblyman Dan Burling, R-Alexander, Genesee County, said he won’t be intimidated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s alleged threat that he would campaign in the districts of Assembly Republicans who defied him on this week’s tax-code bills.
Burling voted against both bills early Thursday; one of eight to vote against increasing taxes on the rich.
“I spent four years in the Marine Corps, 13 months in Vietnam. He doesn’t scare me,” Burling told Gannett’s Albany Bureau.
Burling, who represents a heavily Republican district, confirmed the reports that Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, Ontario County, told the conference that Cuomo said he would campaign against any Assembly Republican who voted against the bills.
“Kolb said, ‘Look it. The governor said he made the threat that if anyone voted no that he would personally come into your districts and campaign against you,’” Burling recalled. “That actually did scare away two or three people.”
Burling wouldn’t say who.
Burling went on to knock Cuomo for the purported threat.
“I don’t think it sounds very gubernatorial,” Burling said. “It sounds more like a schoolyard bully. And I don’t think it was a wise thing to do for a person who seems to be doing very, very well legislatively, who seems to be getting his agenda passed.”
Burling continued, “But he seems to be having a very difficult time with anybody who disagrees at all with his opinion. And in politics and in life, you’re always going to have people who disagree with you. It doesn’t mean that you go out and try to beat them up.”
Burling pointed out that he took issue with Cuomo earlier this year, when the first-term Democratic governor reportedly said about the same-sex marriage bill that if you were against it, you were “anti-New York. It’s anti-American.”
Burling said he wrote Cuomo a letter knocking him for the comments.