Marc Molinaro, Republican candidate for New York Governor, visited Yates County Sept. 19 with Sen. Tom O’Mara (R,C-I-Big Flats), and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) during a regional small business tour.

One of their stops was at Miles Wine Cellars on Seneca Lake near Himrod, where Molinaro met with Miles co-owner Suzy Hayes, Hector grape grape grower Tina Hazlitt, and members of the New York Wine Industry Association. They discussed promoting agritourism, one of the state’s emerging commercial sectors. They also discussed wine sales in grocery stores, which Molinaro said he supports.

“There should be a way to implement this without hurting small businesses,” Molinaro said, to which Hazlitt responded, “We’re small businesses too.”

O’Mara also faces a political challenge this election season from Democrat Amanda Kirchgessner. He suggested wine sales in grocery stores could be managed in the same way that fireworks sales are. That is, state law permits the sales, but counties can prohibit them.

The group also discussed college tuition costs, training for trades, and housing needs.

“Making New York affordable demands we hold the Governor and government accountable. New Yorkers from every region know this. Residents of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes Region know too well that we need to make state government smaller and more efficient and we need to cut taxes — especially property taxes — in order to grow the economy and make it easier for families, farmers, and small businesses to thrive,” said Molinaro.

O’Mara and Palmesano said Molinaro’s plan is focused on helping small businesses thrive because they’re the real backbone of our state economy.

“Marc is going to help small businesses by slashing taxes, reforming regulations, and providing new incentives to create new jobs and bring more New Yorkers into the workforce.” added the legislators.

The tour started at Meier Industries in Elmira, where the group talked about workforce development and manufacturing issues. The next stop was Nick’s Pub and Grill, a popular restaurant in Horesheads. Molinaro assured waitstaff that he’ll fight to protect the tipped-wage credit, and listened to concerns from workers and ownership about affordability in New York State.

The group also visited Bildan Precision Manufacturing.