I’m running for governor because I love this state. New York is the only place I’ve ever lived, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I know that we can do better. We need a New York that works for all of us – a New York for the many, not just the few.
I was born in New York City, and I grew up in a one-bedroom fifth floor walk-up with my mom. I’m a proud public school graduate, and these days, an even prouder public school parent. For the last 17 years, I’ve traveled across this state to fight for better schools, LGBTQ equality, and women’s health care, including the right to choose.
This is the state where I started acting at age 12 to put myself through college when my mom told me she couldn’t afford to. This is the state where I made my career, raised my kids, and met and married the love of my life, my wife Christine.
When I grew up here, we didn’t have much money, but I still felt like anything was possible. I had opportunities that I just don’t see for the vast majority of New York’s kids today.
New York has become the single most unequal state in the country. The top 1 percent of New Yorkers earn 45 times more than the bottom 99 percent. Black and Latino families in New York still earn much less than white families. Women still earn much less than men.
It was a choice to slash taxes for the super-rich and impose austerity on everybody else. It was a choice to allow the schools attended by children of color to be underfunded and over-policed. It was a choice to sell our government off to corporate interests and wealthy donors, while the rest of us suffer.
These are choices usually made by Republicans. But for the past eight years, they’re all choices that have been made by our governor, Andrew Cuomo.
Eight years ago, I voted for Andrew Cuomo because I believed he was a real Democrat. But since taking office, Governor Cuomo has shown us his true colors. He let the Republicans gerrymander their own districts to suppress Democratic voters, especially voters of color. Then, when Democrats still won a majority, he cut a backroom deal that allowed Republicans to take over the State Senate through the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) — a group of breakaway Democrats who voted with the Republicans to hand them control, and with it, the power to block almost all of our key Democratic legislative priorities.
Andrew Cuomo has given massive tax breaks to corporations and the super rich while starving the state and its cities of the most basic services and decimating our infrastructure. His inhumane budgets have been passed on the backs of our children, our working and middle class, and our elderly.
We hear all the time about how the big money interests control DC. But if Washington is a swamp, then Albany is a cesspool. Andrew Cuomo promised to clean up Albany, but instead, he and his cronies have cleaned up for themselves. There’s a reason why people close to Cuomo keep winding up under indictment for corruption.
New York’s eight years under the Cuomo administration have been an exercise in living with disappointment, dysfunction, and dishonesty. Our state could be a place where every single New Yorker has what we need to thrive, if only we could stop our governor from selling New York off to the highest bidder.
We could fully fund our public schools — all of our schools. We could end the school to prison pipeline, and level the playing field for students in every part of the state, regardless of the color of their skin or their zip code.
We could fix our crumbling subway system by providing the MTA the money we were promised for repairs, and stop asking New York City or its riders to clean up Governor Cuomo’s mess.
We could take on the real estate developers and landlords who are buying off politicians, raising rents, and forcing people out of their homes. We could strengthen and renew our expiring rent laws, and protect affordable housing for millions of New Yorkers.
We could make sure that no one suffers because they can’t afford health care in the wealthiest nation on earth.
We could take on New York’s corrupt political establishment and the billionaire class on Wall Street by passing campaign finance and ethics reform.
We could make a bold commitment to invest in renewable energy, one that will get us off fossil fuels completely and provide tens of thousands of new jobs — especially in the communities most impacted by pollution and climate change.
We could finally pass the DREAM Act, which has been blocked by Cuomo’s IDC. We could make New York a true sanctuary state, and make sure that no family in New York would ever live in fear of Donald Trump’s ICE agents.
We could end mass incarceration, and end the over-policing of communities of color that is costing people access to housing and job opportunities, and even exposing many to deportation.
Together, we could show the entire country and the world that in the era of Donald Trump, New Yorkers will come together and lead our nation forward.
I’m running for Governor because we want our state back. We want our government to work again. We’re tired of the corruption and dysfunction in Albany, and we’re tired of politicians who campaign as Democrats but govern like Republicans.
It won’t be easy. But I know that together, we can win this fight.