Vito Fossella left public office 12 years ago under a cloud of personal scandal. He’s seeking a return with a bid for Staten Island borough president.
“Over the last few years in particular, I’ve seen this place and this city move in a direction that I don’t think is best for the future," he told NY1 in an interview.
Fossella was a six-term congressman when he was arrested in 2008 on drunken-driving charges, which led to the revelation of his extramarital affair and child in the Washington, D.C., area — separate from his family in Staten Island.
“The last dozen years we’ve all grown, everybody grows, everybody, we go through things in our lives and we become better people, hopefully," he said. "I like to think I’m in a better place in my life.”
He’s been working since in the private sector in finance.
Fossella — also a former City Council member — is hustling for petition signatures to get on the ballot.
“How are we going to help people? How are we going to help small business owners? How are we going to do the right thing?” he said of his priorities.
The Republican primary for borough president also includes City Council Minority Leader Steve Matteo and small-business owner Leticia Remauro.
Fossella says he has professional relationships that he can leverage for Staten Island.
“Nothing against anybody, I just really believe that in terms of where the place is going, especially the town of Staten Island, where I was born and raised," he said. "My family’s been here over 100 years. It’s grown. And like everything else, the good, bad and ugly, we try to accentuate the good and minimize the problems.”
Meanwhile, Matteo says he’s been able to pass bills and bring home resources despite an overwhelmingly Democratic City Council.
He's been running for borough president for two years.
“Every issue on Staten Island is important to me, from the potholes to the homeless shelter that I was out fighting against today," he told NY1. "And Staten Islanders know that, that I live this job 24/7.”
Remauro says she has the Conservative Party endorsement and executive experience that her rivals do not.
“I have been boots on the ground in Staten Island," she said. "My perspective comes from a Staten Island perspective, not from a Washington, D.C. perspective.”