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New Bronx GOP Leader Sets Tone Of Change

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TWC News: New Bronx GOP Leader Sets Tone Of Change
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The Republican party is trying to re-emerge as an alternative for voters in the Bronx, a borough dominated by Democrats. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

It's been a time for Bronx Republicans to regroup. The former county chair, Jay Savino, resigned amid allegations he accepted bribes to get a Democrat in the party's primary for mayor.

GOP leaders quickly scrambled to replace him. They chose John Greaney.

"There's a difference between Jay and there's a difference between John," said Republican District Leader James Wilson. "Leadership sets the tone and I think John has set a tone here in the Bronx."

It's a tone of change, but in baby steps, says the new chair.

Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans in the Bronx, and Greaney says the first thing the party has to do is let folks know they even exist and what they're all about.

"The national image that Republicans come across sometimes talking about immigration are not necessarily the same as we have here," Greaney said.

So he started by creating outreach committees with membership being the most important.
His district leaders, as diverse as the borough is, recently shared what they say the party is about.

"They think it's only for white people. I say it's not only for white people, it's for Hispanics, it's for blacks," said Rosaline Nieves, a district leader.

Greaney realizes as the borough makeup changes, the party has to also.

"There used to be a small pocket of Irish and Italian and other white ethnic groups that are more likely to vote Republican. Those voters, as they're getting older, either move, or die or retire and they're being replaced by usually minorities, blacks or Hispanics," said Prime New York Partner Jerry Skurnick.

Party members say they're reaching out to those voters by listening to their issues regarding jobs and housing.

"When a tenant has a problem, when an inspector has a problem. You solve them. Once you solve the problem, they don't look at party," Greaney said.

Greaney says the focus now is to work around the clock for 24 months building a strong Bronx GOP. After that, he thinks the party will have gained enough ground for a shot at producing more candidates for city, state and maybe even congressional office.

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