NEW YORK— Jon Kostakopoulos kicked off his campaign on Sept. 8 at an event held at the Republican Metropolitan Club on East 83rd Street. A lifelong resident of the Upper East Side, Kostakopoulos calls himself “a Mike Bloomberg Republican.” The 26-year-old Greek-American whose roots are in Livadia, Boeotia, and Asia Minor, works at the financial website The Street. Among those attending the event were his proud parents Haralambos (Bob) and Yasemin Kostakopoulos, his sister Mary Daphne Kostakopoulos and her fiance Gregory Root, Chief Operating Officer of Ticket Monster and a great-grandson of the late movie executive Spyros Skouras who hailed from Peloponessos. Manhattan GOP Chair Adele Malpass, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-SI), and businessman and rising Republican activist John Catsimatidis, Jr. were among the speakers. Businessman and former political candidate John Catsimatidis, Sr., godfather of Kostakopoulos, also attended the campaign kick-off. When asked about his godson running for office, Catsimatidis told The National Herald, “It’s great that the young people are involved because we need a change, it’s terrible that young people are burdened with so much debt, we need to overturn that debt for all young people.”
Asked if he had always wanted to go into politics, Kostakopoulos told TNH that he had not planned on a career in politics, but will do all he can to help his district.
Chairwoman Malpass opened the remarks noting the importance of this election year and the need for volunteers and donations for Republican candidates. Malpass then welcomed Assemblywoman Malliotakis as a rising star of the Republican Party to the podium to welcome the next generation of Greek-American leaders. Malliotakis noted the need for change in Albany, and especially for candidates with solid ethics and morals who fight for the right things, like Kostokopoulos. She pointed out the sad fact that 16 of her colleagues have been indicted, convicted, or resigned from office, and that most of her time is spent trying to stop bad policy. Malliotakis asked for some help in Albany, where she is only one of the two Republicans out of 64 in the Assembly. She said, “Let’s get out there, so I can go back to Albany with some friends this year.” Malliotakis introduced John Catsimatidis, Jr. who spoke about knowing Jon Kostakopoulos since he was a baby and noting that Kostakopoulos cares so much about the district because he was born and grew up there. Catsimatidis, Jr. then quoted Ronald Reagan on freedom and the responsibility of the next generation, and then introduced Kostakopoulos.
John Catsimatidis, Jr. and candidate Jon Kostakopoulos at the event kicking off the campaign for District 76.
Jon Kostakopoulos, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, and John Catsimatidis, Jr.
In his first speech announcing his run for the New York State Assembly, Kostakopoulos thanked all those present, especially his parents, Bob and Yasemin, his sister Mary and her fiance, Gregory, Chairwoman Malpass, Deb Coughlin, and his dedicated staff. He continued with a brief biography, “I was born at New York Hospital. I grew up in Yorkville playing in Carl Shurz Park and Asphalt Green. I went to Caedmon School and was fortunate enough to attend the Allen-Stevenson school. I then went to Salisbury in Connecticut, and graduated from Pace University here in the city.”
Kostakopoulos then said, “As a New York Republican, I model myself on Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Congressman Bill Green. I’m socially moderate and fiscally responsible.” His reasons for running for elected office include the “lost trust in the people we’ve elected to make the right decisions for us, and our neighborhood,” and a refusal to “sit on the sidelines and watch the drastic decline in our quality of life.”
“I’m running so I can clean up the streets in our district and the corruption up in Albany…we have been deprived of proper representation and we deserve better than this.”
Kostakopoulos took aim at his opponent, first term Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright, and her inability to pass a bill against the ill-planned Marine Transfer Station which would bring 600 garbage trucks through the neighborhood every night. He pointed out that a woman was already struck and killed by a truck and the transfer station hasn’t yet opened.
Kostakopoulos also mentioned coming from a long line of educators, including his father who is a professor at Columbia University School of Professional Studies and noted his support for Charter Schools. “I am for giving parents a choice where to send their kids to school. I am in favor of giving tax credits for working families who send their kids to parochial and private schools.”
Safety is another issue important to Kostakopoulos as is the completion of the Second Avenue Subway which has been delayed, he said due to career politicians’ neglect. He also envisions a solution to homelessness and the large number of vacant buildings in the city by bringing the issues together, cutting red tape, and saving money.
In an appeal to all the voters in the district, he said, “I’m a common-sense-candidate, not a career politician. Sure, I’m a Republican, but I’ll do more for Democrats and Republicans than my opponent has done because both Democrats and Republicans live here. What’s good for the Democrat who lives on 85th Street is good for the Republican on 86th.”
Kostakopoulos concluded his remarks by saying, “We will win because I wake up every morning thinking about you all and how I’ll stop the bleeding in the neighborhood and make our district better for all of us…this is a campaign for the future we have all been working for. I will fight, sweat and bleed for you all, but I can’t win without you help.”