Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota appeared before some heavy hitters at a business breakfast Tuesday morning, where he laid out his mayoral platform and honed in on his support for charter schools in particular. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Last week, Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio called himself a fiscal conservative in front of the same crowd. On Tuesday, at an Association for a Better New York breakfast in Midtown, Republican mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota did the same thing, but with a bit more enthusiasm.
"My name is Joe Lhota and I am a fiscal conservative," Lhota told the crowd.
Lhota used the opportunity to try to tear down his rival's record in front of the group, which is better known as ABNY.
"If you oppose charter schools and the programs and the other choices that are available for minorities and inner-city children and children of immigrants, you cannot call yourself a progressive," he said.
Lhota doubled down on his support for charter schools. He wants more. His rival wants to charge them rent.
Immediately after his address, Lhota went a step further, taking on his rival's
connections to the city's teachers' union. The United Federation of Teachers has endorsed de Blasio.
"Bill is beholden to what the needs are, solely the needs are of the teachers' union, and there's nothing progressive about what they want," Lhota said.
Lhota's comments come the day after NY1 aired video of Lhota addressing the Staten Island Tea Party, where he took on the teachers' union for defending members in so-called rubber rooms.
"There's a tremendous unfairness once teachers decide to unionize, and they created this system where everybody's treated the same," Lhota says in the video. "It is unfair, almost un-American."
What is clear is that Lhota appears to be setting himself up for a battle with the teachers' union, not only for the comments he made to the Staten Island Tea Party, but also for his remarks at ABNY.
In response to Lhota, Michael Mulgrew, the head of the UFT said, "Due process and the right of workers to unionize are part of the fabric of American society. If Joe Lhota thinks those rights are un-American, there are a lot of places other than New York City where he would be more comfortable."
After his speech, Lhota sought comfort downtown at a rally for more charter schools.