With voting in the primaries set for Tuesday morning, New York City Republican mayoral candidate Fernando Mateo spoke with Breitbart News about his plans to restore safety and jobs to the Big Apple, confident of an upcoming victory against the Democrats’ longtime control over America’s largest city.
“I am the only Republican in this race,” the businessman-turned-politician said on Monday. “The only Trump-Republican in this race.”
Mateo touted his recent accomplishment of qualifying to receive matching funding of 8-to-1 for his campaign by the city’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB) this past week after having raised thousands in small donations from city residents, adding it would “pave an even clearer path to victory” in the general election.
“The Campaign Finance Board awarded my campaign over $2 million in matching funds because of the work I’ve been putting in to fix New York City,” he said, claiming that it indicated his “great depth of support” and that his message “is resonating with New Yorkers who want their city to be thriving once again.”
“We also made history today as I am the first Hispanic immigrant mayoral candidate to meet matching funds,” he added. “This is a great achievement for my campaign.”
Declaring himself the only “real” Republican running in New York’s mayoral race, Mateo pointed to the many jobs he created over the years.
“There’s only one real Republican in this race and you should vote for me because I have created thousands of jobs for New Yorkers,” he said.
“I am the only real job creator,” he said. “I’ve been a businessman since the age of 17.”
Mateo said he’d be able to return small businesses through “offering the same incentives that were offered to Amazon,” by offering “payroll tax breaks for 50,000 new small businesses, creating 500,000 new jobs in New York.”
He also emphasized his focus on and experience with public safety.
“Public safety is my first and foremost agenda,” he said. “I have worked over 30 years with the NYPD [New York Police Department]. Solving crimes and putting criminals behind bars; defending cab drivers and bodega owners from the prey of criminals.”
“Our relationship with the NYPD goes far beyond patrolling the streets,” he added. “It goes as deep as arresting criminals that have killed, robbed, and assaulted New York City residents.”
Mateo then shared some of his plans to combat city crime.
“I will address and fix our subways that are being taken over by criminals,” he said. “I will put two police officers in every train station throughout New York City; creating safe haven stations throughout the city.”
When asked to clarify his plan to assist police and create arrests, Mateo described his earlier longtime relationship with the NYPD, working together to fight crime.
“In the 90s and throughout the 2000s, they were killing two to three taxi drivers every week. I worked with the governor, with the mayor, and with the police department and we created task forces,” he said.
“These task forces went after those that were committing the crimes and we had hundreds of arrests. We took thousands of guns off the city streets by creating checkpoints where cab drivers were pulled over and passengers were searched and thousands of guns were found in the cars,” he added.
In order to identify criminals, he also described his efforts to ensure cameras and partitions were installed in taxis.
“Then we allowed cab drivers to identify the murderers because we had images of them, and while the drivers were driving around, they could stop and call 911 and say, ‘hey, we see the suspect,’” he said.
“So we were able to help the NYPD solve many crimes by offering rewards and by participating in the search for these criminals,” he added.
Having served as president of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers as well as having founded the Bodega Association of America, Mateo highlighted his prior experience in bringing safety to vulnerable residents across the city.
“We did the same for bodega owners; we made sure we put cameras in every bodega,” he said, “so that when someone came in, and robbed them, assaulted them, or murdered them, we would get it on tape and we’d be able to catch the perpetrators.”
“So I have so much goodwill with the NYPD,” he added. “Unlike anybody else in New York City.”
Mateo also emphasized that without safety, businesses will not thrive.
“The biggest issue in this race is crime and safety, without which there is nothing,” he said. “Business will not come back, tourism won’t rebound, and residents will continue fleeing to other cities.”
Promising a return to safety, he noted that New York is a symbol to others all over.
“New York City will be made safe again under a Mayor Mateo,” he assured. “New York City is a symbol to all of America and the world, and I will make it more prosperous than ever.”
“The foundation of doing so is safety,” he added. “I have experience both as a successful businessman and having worked with the NYPD and various city agencies.”
Mateo also addressed legal gun rights, claiming he would encourage responsible gun ownership.
“As mayor, I will direct the NYPD to expedite the process of issuing carrying permits for law-abiding citizens and small business owners,” he said.
“Criminals are the threat, not law-abiding citizens,” he added. “Criminals are preying on law-abiding citizens and small businesses because they know those citizens can’t defend themselves.”
“This isn’t a partisan issue,” he continued. “This is a part of my plan to make New York safer, along with many others.”
He then outlined his plans of ending current policies that he deems harmful.
“Bail reform and ending the revolving door of releasing violent criminals back onto the street hours after being arrested will come to an end,” he said.
Stating he has “zero tolerance for any hate crimes,” Mateo asserted that he would put an end to “attacks on Jewish communities and other minorities.”
“I vocally stood by Israel during the most recent conflict,” he said. “I will not allow that conflict to extend to the streets of New York City.”
“Exercising one’s First Amendment right is part of what makes this country great, but crossing the line into physical attacks against the city’s large Jewish population will end immediately under a Mayor Mateo administration,” he added.
Noting the “horrendous video of a 24-year-old shot in broad daylight at point-blank range next to two kids,” Mateo said, “this has just become the horrific new norm,” which he promised would “end quickly” after his election.
He also warned of those policies promoted by his Democratic counterparts, which he deems “outrageous.”
“You look at the other side [Democrats], we’re dealing with candidates that, beyond wanting to defund the police, are now talking about disarming the police and wanting to take the weapons away from our police officers,” he said. “It’s outrageous.”
Asked how a Republican could possibly win in the general elections, Mateo pointed to his history.
“In the general elections, I will kill them,” he said. “They will not be able to handle me because I have done more for their community than they will ever do.”
He then explained where he intends to receive a base of support.
“Bodega owners and cab drivers are predominantly registered Democrats,” he said. “So these are the people that I’ve done all the work for, and that’s why I believe they are going to vote for me in the general elections.”
“Voters in all the five boroughs — they want safety and security and they know I will deliver,” he added.
Mateo also stressed the importance that New Yorkers “first elect a Mateo, a serious Republican that can take on a Democrat in the general elections,” otherwise the situation will continue to deteriorate.
“New Yorkers are fleeing — if they can — to states like Florida and Texas,” he said. “These and other states they are leaving to largely have Republican leadership and crime is under control.”
Noting that nearly all other major cities that have experienced spikes in crime similar to New York City “are being run by Democrats,” Mateo explained that, as a result, voters are seeking Republican leadership.
“In this environment, a Republican like myself is what the voters of New York are looking for,” he said.
Hoping to reach out to more Democrats, Mateo expressed his belief that many are fed up with “radical Democrats” destroying the city with their policies.
“I’m not a career politician. Once I get into the general elections and can get my message across to more of the Democratic voters, I believe they’ll vote for me,” he said.
“They have had it with radical Democrats who have run this city with policies that have clearly failed,” he added.
Mateo stated that, as a result of becoming the Republican nominee, the media will be “forced to cover my campaign seriously” after the primary, adding that “New York City will see another Republican mayor come 2022.”
Noting that “if New York, the largest city in America, goes, the country goes,” Mateo concluded on a note of the need for “change.”
“The city is ready for a change — the city needs a change — and that is what I will deliver,” he said. “Safety and prosperity will return.”
In April, Mateo blasted Democrats for having “destroyed” New York.
“That’s why a Democrat will not win the mayorship of New York City,” he said. “We’re tired of them. We’ve had enough. Democrats destroyed our city. Look at the garbage, look at the graffiti, look at the looters, the vandalism, the attacks on seniors. Look at our arts and cultural centers — they’re all closed.”
“That’s why I would be the best mayor that this city has ever had and, more so, I will be the most qualified mayor for anyone to vote for in this coming election,” he added.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.