QUEENSBURY -- He's a mild-mannered economist who speaks three foreign languages and developed a strong work ethic picking cherries as a kid in upstate Michigan.

His roots help him to understand similar issues faced by upstate New York residents, said David Malpass, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

"The economic issues, the drain on resources from downstate," he said.

He's also lived in Colorado, Oregon and the Washington, D.C. areas, but the 54-year-old has lived in Manhattan for 17 years, longer than any other place he's lived.

"So I feel very much a New Yorker, and I'm troubled and very concerned about what our state has become in terms of losing population and losing small business," he said in a wide-ranging interview on Sunday at Carl R's restaurant in Queensbury.

Malpass said the final version of the financial services reform bill that a House and Senate conference committee agreed on does not do enough to address problems with large banks and does not do enough to encourage small business lending.

"It creates a massive new bureaucracy in Washington in the form of this consumer product safety commission," he said.

He said he is concerned that an energy bill being discussed in the Senate will include a system for setting quotas for carbon dioxide emissions, with credits being bought and sold similar to stocks and other investments.

"And you know the market is being driven by the financial markets that want a piece of this pie, that want yet another complicated product," he said.

Malpass was in the area to drop off his daughter at summer camp and asked to meet with The Post-Star.

He said people might not recognize his name, but they probably are familiar with some of the initiatives he worked on as an economics and tax policy advisor to the U.S. Senate and the cabinet during the 1980s and early ‘90s.

Malpass was advisor to U.S. Sen. Bill Roth, R-Del., who championed the Roth IRA, and he was senior tax analyst for the Senate Budget Committee in 1986, when a major tax code reform bill was enacted.

Malpass is seeking the Republican nomination to run in November against U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who was appointed to the Senate last year.

He is running in a September Republican primary challenge against Bruce Blakeman, a former Long Island legislator, and possibly a third candidate.

Malpass and Blakeman both secured enough delegate votes at the state Republican convention to get on the primary ballot.

Former U.S. Rep. Joe DioGuardi, the Conservative candidate, might get on the Republican ballot by circulating nominating petitions.

Malpass said he is the best candidate to run against Gillibrand because he is a "political outsider," which he defined as someone who has never held elected office.

He does have nearly a decade of experience as a policy advisor, from 1984 during the Reagan administration until President Clinton took office in January 1993.

After that, he was chief economist at Bear Stearns, an investment bank, for 15 years.

"So to be clear, I didn't have anything to do with subprime mortgages in general," he said. "I analyzed countries around the world to see who was growing and which equity markets were good and which debt was too high - similar to what I had done for the U.S. government."

Malpass now runs his own economic research firm - Encima Global - and is a regular financial columnist for Forbes magazine and a contributor to The Wall Street Journal opinion page.

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