NEW YORK -- CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer sat down with Republican gubernatorial candidate Congressman Lee Zeldin on Friday to tackle several key issues that are on the minds of voters.
Those topics include Zeldin's plan to make the MTA more efficient and his desire to deliver historic tax cuts. He also suggested arming school safety officers and even teachers.
This comes on the heels of a 14-year-old Staten Island student athlete being struck by a stray bullet outside Tottenville High School this week.
"It improves the safety of the building. If there was someone who came into that building, you would be saying, thank God that teacher who was safely and securely carrying that firearm and was well-trained was able to intervene and to save lives," Zeldin said.
During an interview on the CBS2's "The Point," Zeldin said that not only teachers but also trained school safety agents should be allowed to carry weapons.
"They'll be able to intervene quickly, and there wouldn't be as big of a mass casualty event," he said.
Zeldin says school safety officers, the front line of defense in schools, should be given bulletproof vests, just like cops. The comments come as there has been a startling increase in the number of weapons found in city schools -- 1,454 weapons were confiscated between July 1 and Oct. 23 while 790 were confiscated during the same period last year.
The Long Island congressman also took issue with the latest subway safety plan announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams. The plan calls for opening up 50 new hospital beds for people with emotional or mental illness. Zeldin says that's just a drop in the bucket.
"Would you increase that?" Kramer asked.
"Absolutely," Zeldin said.
"To how many?" Kramer asked.
"Listen, we should be talking into the-- If she's saying 50, I'm thinking 500 or 5,000," Zeldin said.
"Do you have to reopen some of the psychiatric facilities that the state closed?" Kramer asked.
"Oh, you should see the six prisons were just closed down a few months ago," Zeldin said. "I think that there's a lot of infrastructure that's available."
Zeldin has also promised New Yorkers what he calls the biggest tax cut in history if they send him to Albany. Kramer asked him what taxes are on the chopping block.
"I don't think that we should have an estate tax in New York. I believe that we should cut the income tax rate across the board," he said.
A firm believer that congestion pricing is wrong, Zeldin also says that if he gets the job, he will find efficiencies at the MTA and do his best to prevent a fare hike that is expected to take place in the spring.
Early voting in New York begins Saturday.
You can watch Kramer's entire interview with Zeldin on "The Point" at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on CBS2. The following Sunday, Kramer will talk with Gov. Kathy Hochul.
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