Suffern Mayor and Democratic candidate for Rockland County Executive Dagan Lacorte publicly apologized Thursday for a text he inadvertently sent to rival Democratic candidate David Fried this past weekend. Lacorte’s message was intended for his campaign manager and directed him to ask Fried probing questions about his positions on the proposed desalination water treatment plant and gay marriage.
“I can only apologize for the mistake that I made,” he said. “I’m not proud of what I did."
Lacorte said he took full responsibility for the text and had called to apologize to Fried earlier in the day. He noted Fried has been a friend for 10 years.
“I didn’t try to hide the fact I sent the text,” Lacorte acknowledged.
Fried, a former Spring Valley judge and county legislator, said “underhanded tactics” do not have a place in the campaign.
“This was not the way to do business,” said Fried. “I’m disappointed in it.”
Fried added, “I’m running for Rockland County Executive because the county is in its deepest financial valley in its history. I would hope each of the campaigns would focus on a solution.”
Lacorte tried to draw attention away from the text that went awry by speaking about his campaign and the issues he sees as critical to the county. He does not think the incident will hurt his campaign.
“But this campaign is not about texts, it’s about taxes,” he told a small gathering of supporters at a private home in New City on Thursday evening.
Lacorte said all the candidates in the county executive race should address the issues facing Rockland – the budget deficit he put at $118 million, the proposed desalination plant, county imposed tax on residential energy bills. Lacorte said he opposed the water treatment plant, supported marriage equality and would repeal the energy tax if elected.
Fried spoke about his platform’s two categories: short term and long-term actions to cut the deficit. He pledged to make government learned and rein in spending by reducing salaries for the county executive and staff and commissioners by $250,000. He said county workers should not be the only ones asked to give back.
“This is something I have demonstrated I will do and a promise I will fulfill,” said Fried who explained he had turned down raises when he served as county legislator.
A longer-term goal is to boost the county’s economy. Fried said the county did not have an economic development strategy and that was a mistake he would rectify.
“I want to open Rockland for business again,” said Fried.
The other declared candidates for county executive are Legislators Ed Day of New City, a Republican, and Ilan Schoenberger of Suffern, a Democrat.