A 28-year-old Republican attorney who wants to challenge Rep. Carolyn Maloney this November has found support from an unusual voting bloc.
Dino LaVerghetta, an Upper East Side resident and lawyer at a white-shoe firm, is looking to take up the cause of tanning salons, which the health care reform bill saddled with a 10 percent tax. The Senate opted for the tanning tax over the so-called â€œBo-tax on cosmetic procedures. LaVerghetta is putting the blame on Maloney, who has favored regulation of the industry in Congress.
â€œThe [tanning] industry is made up almost exclusively of small business owners and they don"t have a strong lobby, LaVerghetta said.
Though Maloney did not sponsor the Senate"s tanning tax, she has introduced bipartisan legislation requiring better cancer warnings and allowing the Food and Drug Administration to limit the amount of UV rays tanning beds can emit.
LaVerghetta held a press conference April 26 to denounce the tax at Sunpoint Spa, at 344 E. 63rd St. between First and Second avenues. His campaign also set up a website www.repealthetantax.org to build opposition and raise campaign money.
LaVerghetta is a self-described libertarian-leaning Republican and fiscal conservative, as well as an ardent gay-rights supporter. He says repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, would be his top priority. He is also planning to take a leave of absence from his law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, and run a full campaign.
While the Upper East Side used to be a Republican stronghold, GOP leaders have been run out of every legislative office since Maloney was elected to Congress in 1992.
â€œI just need to overcome some misconceptions about Republicans, let people know the Republican Party in Manhattan is different from the Republican Party nationally, LaVerghetta said.
Like Maloney"s Democratic opponent, Reshma Saujani, LaVerghetta believes the Congresswoman has become a reliable Democratic vote rather than an independent voice.
â€œIt"s come to a point where at least I think she represents the interest of the party, not necessarily the people, said LaVerghetta, who is seeking the Libertarian and Independence party endorsements. â€œIt"s the independence and new blood argument more than anything else.