Candidate for Comptroller Harry Wilson Meets with Orthodox Union Leadership

Posted on August 3, 2010 In Press Releases

Contact: Howie Beigelman
August 2, 2010

Candidate for Comptroller Harry Wilson Meets with Orthodox Union Leadership
Discusses terror free investing and nonprofit needs with lay & professional leaders

Harry Wilson, Republican nominee for New York State Comptroller, met today with leadership from the Orthodox Union (union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization in Manhattan to discuss the community’s public policy priorities.

Mr. Wilson, formerly a senior member of the U.S. Treasury team that oversaw the restructuring of the US auto industry, who is making his first run for public office, briefed the leadership on his vision for the Comptroller’s office and discussed how the office might advance priorities of the Jewish community. In particular, Mr. Wilson stated – despite recent news reports suggesting otherwise – he unequivocally believed the state could and should continue to divest from Iran and other state sponsors of terror, including not only those companies that directly do business there but from companies that “own large stakes” in such direct companies. Taking on a commonly raised objection to divestment, Mr. Wilson stated that divestment could be performed in a manner consistent with the fiduciary duties of trustees and investors, noting that in his time at the Blackstone Group, an investment firm, they did not invest in certain companies or countries because they were “bad business” investments and suggested the state pension funds could make similar decisions.

Harvey Blitz, Chairman, OU Board of Directors stated:

“We appreciate Mr. Wilson sharing his vision for the State with us and indicating how the Office of the State Comptroller can invest in New York’s future, and work towards goals shared by the Orthodox Jewish community. If he is elected, we look forward to working with him.”

As well, Mr. Wilson discussed how as Comptroller, he would use the investment power of the state to forge partnerships between universities and business, as well as helping create a market and infrastructure for alternative and green energy companies. Mr. Wilson felt he could bring business and investment experience to such opportunities, which Mr. Wilson hopes would result in more effective economic development. Finally, he discussed ways that the Comptroller’s office could assist nonprofits, such as Jewish day schools, both through sharing of best – and worst – practices and suggesting efficiency models.

Howie Beigelman, OU Deputy Director of Public Policy stated:

“We appreciate Mr. Wilson’s candor on the state of our state and engaging our leadership in a discussion of how best to move forward. It is crucial our community have such dialogue with our elected leaders and candidates. We look forward to a similar discussion with Comptroller Tom DiNapoli as well.”

Harry Wilson stated:

“It was an honor to meet with the Orthodox Union for a candid chat about the precarious direction in which New York State is headed. As a business professional and restructuring expert, I am confident that I can identify and achieve significant savings for New York taxpayers and small businesses in the next four years through the comptroller’s substantially underutilized audit power. I also appreciated the opportunity to discuss divestment strategies for the state pension fund related to terror-sponsoring states, like Iran. As state comptroller, I will be committed to establishing a state-of-the-art system of checks to flag companies investing in rogue states like Iran.”

(OU Deputy Director of Public Policy Howie Beigelman presents Mr. Wilson with a copy of Covenant & Conversation: Essays on the Book of Exodus, by: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain. The book was recently published by OU Press.)

(Candidate for Comptroller Harry Wilson (R-NY) meets with Orthodox Jewish leadership in an Orthodox Union facilitated event.)

This meeting is part of a nationwide effort by the IPA to facilitate discussion between our community leadership and candidates for office. The OU has a long history of elected officials, candidates for public office and other notables speaking to their leadership, including Samuel Alito, Sherrod Brown, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chris Christie, Alberto Gonzalez, Al Gore, Tom Kean, Jr., Carl Levin, Robert Menendez, George Pataki, Rick Perry, Dean Skelos, Bill Thompson and numerous members of Congress in recent years as well as surrogates of both McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden during the 2008 presidential election. The OU is a non-profit, non-partisan organization and therefore does not endorse nor support candidates. The OU has extended an invitation to Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to hold a similar meeting.