- Associated Press - Monday, June 16, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino on Monday called for term limits, a shorter legislative session and other changes designed to combat corruption in New York state government.

Astorino used his first major policy announcement to criticize his opponent, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whom he called a lifelong Albany insider, for not doing enough to take on political corruption.

His 10-point ethics proposal includes eight-year term limits for statewide elected leaders and lawmakers, and a three-month legislative session that would end April 1.

“You lose perspective by being in this building for as long as some of these people are,” Astorino said during a news conference on the Capitol steps. “The less time they’re here, the better it would be for everybody.”

He also called for a new ethics commission appointed by the courts to investigate complaints against lawmakers, and changes to legislative pensions and the expense policy that lawmakers use to compensate them for lodging and meals. Finally, Astorino called for stronger conflict-of-interest laws and prohibiting any state building or highway from being named for a sitting lawmaker.

Cuomo, speaking on public radio’s “The Capitol Pressroom,” dismissed Astorino’s ideas and said that if the Republicans are serious about them, they should ask the Republican leader of the state Senate to introduce them now.

“He’s free to do that, to put forth a proposal,” Cuomo said.

Polls give Cuomo a double-digit lead over Astorino, but the Republican said he expects the race to narrow as the November election gets closer.

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