In a new interview, Alison Esposito, the Republican Party’s choice for lieutenant governor, opened up on being the state’s first out homosexual candidate, insisting, “It can happen.”
For the first time, the former NYPD deputy inspector spoke publicly about her historic race as Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin’s running mate.
When asked about the GOP’s previous hostility to LGBTQ issues and gay marriage, Esposito responded, “I believe the Republicans kind of get a poor record with that.”
“I’m gay and a Republican – everything is possible.” It’s possible. You know, this isn’t just a red wave, as I keep repeating. “This is a wave of common sense,” she continued.
For the wide-ranging interview that aired Friday on PBS’s “New York NOW,” Zeldin and Esposito sat down with host Dan Clark.
“It’s a part of my personality.” I am a lesbian. I’m quite pleased to be a lesbian. It’s a part of who I am, and I feel like I’m now in a position to help the people of New York,” said Esposito, who retired as a deputy inspector from the NYPD’s 70th Precinct. In 1994, she joined the force.
“I left a career I liked and tossed my name into this hat, my hat into this arena.”
“And as a female, as a gay female, as a New York City resident, and as a cop, I’m going to bring everything I can to this ticket to make sure that we deliver back to the people of the state of New York, the state they deserve,” she added.
She said regardless of her sexual orientation, she wants the “same things as every other New Yorker.”
“I want safety. I want equal protection under the law. I want my nephews and niece to be able to go to school safely,” she said. “I want to make sure that criminals are prosecuted. I want my taxes low. I want to be able to spend my hard-earned money in the state that I love.
“And you know, I haven’t, I haven’t really, you know, there’s always going to be a few bad apples in every group, who won’t budge from their convictions and whatever grounds it is.”
Esposito would be the first openly homosexual candidate to run for statewide office in New York, but she would not be the first openly gay candidate to run for statewide office in the state.
Karen Burstein made history in 1994 when she ran for Attorney General as the first lesbian Democratic Party primary candidate.
Burstein defeated the Democratic Party’s selected candidate, incumbent Attorney General Gabriel Oliver Koppell, as well as Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes and then-lawyer Eliot Spitzer.
However, she was defeated in the main election by Republican candidate Dennis Vacco, with her sexuality playing an unexpected role in the race.
“It wasn’t an easy thing to say back then,” Burstein, 79, told The Post Sunday. “I was a pioneer in that regard — not necessarily willingly.”
Although Vacco claimed at the time he didn’t take issue with Burstein being gay, Staten Island GOP Borough President Guy Molinari claimed she was unfit for office, citing her sexuality.
She noted that she faced homophobic slurs at the tail end of her campaign.
“There was an undercurrent of disgust,” she recalled.
Who is Alison Esposito?
Alison Esposito (Republican Party, Conservative Party) is running for election for Lieutenant Governor of New York. She declared candidacy for the Republican primary scheduled on June 28, 2022.
She declared candidacy for the Conservative Party primary scheduled on June 28, 2022.