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Republican Presidential Hopeful Ted Cruz Visits Scotia

Ted Cruz held a rally Thursday morning in Scotia, New York, before a crowd of about 1300 people.

Less than two weeks before voters go to the polls in the New York presidential primary, an enthusiastic crowd turned out to hear Republican candidate Ted Cruz speak at a school in Scotia this morning.

The Texas Senator opened by declaring "God Bless the great State of New York." Acknowledging the gathering of what he called "freedom-loving patriots,"  Cruz took a shot at the Obama administration, in a remark addressing the Mekeel Christian Academy students seated behind him.   "If Heidi Cruz becomes First Lady, meat is comin' back to the lunchroom."

Students at Mekeel Christian Academy prepare to welcome Texas Senator Ted Cruz to their school.
Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Students at Mekeel Christian Academy prepare to welcome Texas Senator Ted Cruz to their school.

Fresh off a primary victory in Wisconsin, Cruz explained why he came to Scotia:   "We're here because our country's in crisis. Because we're bankrupting our kids and grandkids. Because our Constitutional rights are under assault each and every day, and because America has receded from leadership in the world, and yet I am here this morning, with a word of hope and encouragement. All across New York, all across this country, people are waking up!"

Cruz gave a laundry list of proposals including plans to keep America free, uphold the Constitution, repeal Obamacare, change the income tax system so citizens will be able to file their returns "on the back of a postcard," stop amnesty, raise wages and rebuild the military. He said the current student loan and ensuing debt system should not be regarded as "the new normal." He alluded to chief rival and Empire State native Donald Trump, who is leading in polls here.   "You know it's easy to talk about making America great again. You can even print that on a baseball cap. But the real question is, do you understand the principles and values that made America great in the first place."

In a debate, Trump said he'd be neutral when it came to Israel and Palestine. Cruz expressed a different stance.  "America will stand unapolegetically with the nation of Israel."

Cruz said only he and Trump have a valid path to the nomination, minimizing Ohio Governor John Kasich. But he also said putting Trump on the ticket would deliver the White House to Hillary Clinton. And Cruz took a stand against "Islamic terrorism" as he chided President Obama.  "If and when military force is necessary, we should use overwhelming force, kill the enemy, and then get the heck out."

Cruz lingered after his 39-minute stump speech, mixing with the crowd, signing autographs, even posing for selfies, as he did with Montgomery County resident Theresa Thompson:   "It was very exciting to meet him. I've been watching him for the last seven years. And I've watched his voting record. He's excellent. I couldn't ask for anything better.”

Cruz was the second presidential candidate to make a local appearance. Democrat Hillary Clinton held a rally Monday night at Cohoes High School. Visits by Trump, and Kasich and Sen. Bernie Sanders are rumored for next week.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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