On Oct. 25, Cara Castronuova, who is vying to unseat longtime Democrat incumbent Michaelle Solages as representative for District 22 in the New York State Assembly, sat down with Vision Times to discuss why voters should vote for her, and not her opponent, in the upcoming election on Nov. 8.
Castronuova is perhaps best known for being featured as a head trainer on NBC’s hit television series “The Biggest Loser” where she helped propel the show to its highest ratings ever. She is also an American champion boxer who has won two Golden Gloves championships in Madison Square Garden.
Currently, Castronuova is an investigative journalist who writes for the Gateway Pundit and contributes to Newsmax’s show, “Wiseguys with John Tabacco” on a weekly basis.
One contribution to District 22’s community that Castronuova is particularly proud of, and not as well known for, are her efforts with the “Knockout Obesity Foundation,” a foundation that she founded.
According to the foundation’s website it’s goal is “to bring more, much needed community fitness camp programs to our neighborhoods.” To date, the Knockout Obesity Foundation has provided hundreds of children with summer camp experiences where they learned about fitness, eating healthy and mental strength. The foundation strives to instill in each child a “fighter’s mentality” and show them that any goal is possible.
Solages, who was first elected to the State Assembly in 2012, was born and raised in Elmont, New York. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Hofstra University’s School of Education, Health and Human Services and worked as a librarian prior to being elected to the Assembly. In her ten years of service, Solages has not faced any serious opposition in New York State as a Democrat and a member of the Working Families Party.
With less than two weeks to go before New Yorkers from across the state hit the polls, Castronuova offered a blunt take on her opponent’s record, arguing that it’s “time for a change.”
Castronuova shone a light on two “terrible” bills that are quietly being passed in Albany, both of which are supported by her opponent, Solages.
Assembly Bill A9963, which is currently in committee, relates to “authorizing certain minors to consent to medical, dental, health, mental health or hospital services” without the consent of their parents or guardians.
“Any child, it doesn’t even say what age, could get a vaccine, they could get puberty blockers, gender changing hormones, get prescription medication like psychiatric drugs that could be deadly or dangerous and addictive. Anything they want. These legislators are pushing for this bill, where kids will be able to get any type of medical procedure without a parents consent,” Castronuova said.
The bill states, “Any person, including a minor, who comprehends the need for, the nature of, and the reasonably foreseeable risks and benefits involved in any contemplated medical, dental, health, or hospital service, as well as any alternatives thereto, may give effective consent thereto for themself, and the consent of no other person shall be necessary.”
Castronuova called the bill “so evil that it goes as far as to say they will actually tamper with the kids’ medical records so the parents will not even be aware that they’ve had these procedures done.”
Bill A6616, which is also currently in committee, relates to comprehensive sexuality education in schools, which Castronuova says is clear government overreach.
Castronuova said that the bill is “mandating that all schools in New York State teach sex education, starting in kindergarten. State-run sex education and gender education where kids are learning about what multiple genders are and sex, in kindergarten, which is too young and it’s a very, very heavily supported bill by Democrats. It has over 60 signers on it.”
She argues that parents have the right to decide when their children are ready to discuss sensitive topics and that the State has no place in that decision.
If elected, Castronuova promises to oppose both of these bills that she believes are not supported by District 22 constituents and are not in their best interests.
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Another hot button issue, that severely impacts residents of District 22, is the proposed “congestion pricing” that is currently being piloted for Manhattan that her opponent, Solages, is supporting.
Congestion pricing — what the New York Times calls a “tolling program” — seeks to charge motorists up to $23, per trip, to areas in Manhattan.
“It’s a tax, just to drive into Manhattan. It really affects us here in Nassau County,” Castronuova said.
Since many constituents of District 22 regularly travel to Manhattan, this new tax could further exacerbate the ongoing cost-of-living crisis gripping the district and if implemented, New York would become the first American city to embrace such a scheme.
“This is something that she [Solages] said she didn’t support,” Castronuova said, adding that, “When it came time to vote she voted for congestive pricing because she had a change of heart … This is an example of how she doesn’t tell the truth. How she says one thing and does another. She has told the constituents, and she told the voters, ‘I’m not going to vote for congestive pricing, I don’t believe in it. I don’t support it,’ but then when it came time to vote, she voted for it, with all the other Democrats, to tax the regular American workers that are here in New York that are literally struggling to make ends meet.”
‘I will get things done’
Castronuova told Vision Times she’ll fight to deliver on long-forgotten promises to residents in her district and to address the declining state of the district overall.
Top of mind is the construction of a new community center which Castronuova says Solages only offers excuses as to why it can’t be done.
“My opponent promised a community center to Elmont for ten years now, and we still do not have one. I will bring community programs to my district for the youth and the elderly that will greatly improve our quality of life,” she said.
How the state of the community has declined over the past 10 years is a major concern for Castronuova, a concern she believes is echoed by constituents.
“The community center has never been built. Certain areas look terrible. I mean there are storefronts that are literally boarded up. It looks really, really disgraceful to say the least,” she said, laying the blame for the decline at the feet of her opponent. “We’ve had the same leadership now, when it comes to the Assembly, for 10 years and look what they’ve done to New York State; and she’s done nothing for this community. Nothing whatsoever,” she added.
Castronuova believes that Solages has been neglecting her community, constituents and her responsibilities as an Assemblyperson.
“Everybody that I speak to tells me the same thing. That they call her office and nobody calls back or nobody responds, or somebody will respond but it will be an assistant of an assistant. She doesn’t care about the community’s needs. I’ve called her office multiple times and never have been able to get in touch with her and it’s very frustrating,” she said, adding that, “Everybody that I have spoken to has said that ‘I have called her office and she does nothing, she doesn’t care. She doesn’t want to help. She collects the pay check and does the bare minimum to get by.’”
In an email to Vision Times, Castronuova said, “My opponent voted for ‘cashless bail’ laws that put families in my District in danger. Solages votes what she is told by her party leaders, instead of making her own decisions and calling on her own conscious. She voted to give the disgraced Governor Cuomo unlimited executive powers to destroy our state. She lied about her position on the religious exemption. She voted YES to “congestion pricing”. Now because of this law she voted “yes” to, residents from my community will have to pay $23 just for driving into Manhattan! It is unbelievable. Solages literally lied to us about her position on so many issues like this, and conveniently voted the opposite way after an election. I will never lie to voters the way she has for ten years.”
“It is time for new blood, someone who can actually get things done. My district deserves more in a leader. All I hear from voters I speak to is that my opponent never returns calls or does anything for the community. I will be the opposite. You will see me everywhere and I will be there for each and every person I represent,” Castronuova said.
The 2022 New York State Assembly election will be held on Nov. 8 and will elect representatives from all 150 districts across the state.