New York City Public Advocate kicked off her campaign for New York State attorney general with a Brooklyn rally and brief press conference. Appearing with about 100 supporters Wednesday James declared that she’s seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general, but she is not seeking to be appointed by the state legislature to the roughly six month balance of former attorney general Eric Schneiderman’s term. James has also said that she’s not seeking the Working Families Party nomination for attorney general, reportedly under pressure from Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Republican Manny Alicandro launched his campaign for attorney general last week, appearing on Wall Street in front of Federal Hall. Alicandro’s appearance was low wattage, without a backdrop of supporters and a limited showing of party leaders with one Republican county chair, Mike Rendino of the Bronx, and two Conservative Party chairman, Tom Long of Queens and Gerard Kassar of Brooklyn joining him.
The race was transformed hours later as incumbent attorney general Eric Schneiderman suddenly resigned, shortly after The New Yorker reported on multiple allegations of assault by Schneiderman against romantic partners. Schneiderman had been widely viewed as virtually certain to be reelected to a third term, and the Republican Party had found little interest from potential candidates. At his launch Alicandro appeared to likely be the only candidate for the Republican and Conservative Party nominations, but additional prospective candidates have surfaced in the wake of Schneiderman’s resignation. Continue reading Alicandro Launches→
Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon appeared at a Union Square rally following the Pro-Cannabis Parade last Saturday, urging full legalization of marijuana. Speaking to about 1,000 people Nixon cast her support as primarily driven by racial disparity in marijuana arrests, declaring that “I want to do it first and foremost because it’s a racial justice issue.”
Legalization has moved close to, if not quite right inside, the political mainstream in recent years. It’s still somewhat outside that mainstream with New York elected officials however, and that distance was reflected in the paucity of electeds and candidates appearing at this rally. Although the rally was fairly heavy on gubernatorial candidates, with Nixon, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Reform Party hopeful Joel Giambra appearing, neither Andrew Cuomo or Marc Molinaro appeared or have voiced support for full legalization. Assembly Member Dick Gottfried, who proudly touted his 1975 bill that decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, and Council Member and candidate for lieutenant governor Jumaane Williams also spoke.
The Working Families Party endorsed Cynthia Nixon for governor and Jumaane Williams for lieutenant governor, rejecting its 2014 path of political accommodation and instead supporting Nixon and Williams over Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. The 2014 endorsements were contentious, with a pragmatic view of the utility of supporting Cuomo’s reelection overcoming the ideological kinship many in the party had with Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu. Several large unions have left the WFP since then however, with 32BJ and CWA withdrawing just ahead of the Nixon endorsement.
The New York Progressive Action Network, an activist group that grew out of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, recently endorsed Cynthia Nixon for governor and Jumaane Williams for lieutenant governor.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand attended the recent Spring meeting of the Democratic Rural Conference. Attending on Saturday, when most of the elected officials and some of the attendees had departed from the two day meeting, Gillibrand had the stage to herself for a speech and Q&A.
The Democratic Rural Conference drew nearly all of New York State’s major Democratic elected officials to its 2018 annual meeting, with Governor Andrew Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, NYS Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand leading the elected attendees. Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, NYS Senator Michael Gianaris, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and NYC Council Member and candidate for lieutenant governor Jumaane Williams also attended. The DRC is composed of Democrats from small counties who for the past 20 years have worked jointly to increase their impact in state politics.
New York elected officials flocked to Park Avenue to support 32BJ SEIU in its contract talks with building owners. Thousands of 32BJ SEIU union members gathered for a rally featuring speeches from many of those elected officials and culminating in a vote to authorize a strike should negotiations fail. Elected officials attending included Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer and many state and city legislators.
Governor Andrew Cuomo visited the MTA’s 207th Street Overhaul Shop to tout his “Subway Action Plan.” Now fully funded through a state budget provision that forced New York City to provide half of the required funding, the Subway Action Plan is intended to address some of the myriad problems facing the subway system. Among those accompanying Cuomo was MTA Chairman Joe Lhota and TWU President John Samuelsen. A post-tour press conference included Samuelsen attacking Mayor Bill de Blasio as Cuomo stood stone faced.
2017 mayoral election opponents Nicole Malliotakis and Bo Dietl joined forces to protest the release of the “Palm Sunday massacre” killer. Christopher Thomas was convicted on ten counts of manslaughter, but not murder, and sentenced to 50 years in prison. He was recently released, pursuant to state law, after serving 32 of those 50 years. Malliotakis, Dietl and NYS Senator Marty Golden appeared outside Governor Cuomo’s Manhattan office in protest.
Governor Andrew Cuomo touted the reunification of New York State Senate Democrats, bringing ostensibly erstwhile rivals Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Jeff Klein together in a press conference. Stewart-Cousins, the head of the “mainline” Senate Democrats and Klein, head of the Independent Democratic Conference or IDC, pledged unity and cooperation during a press conference Wednesday in Cuomo’s Manhattan office.
An Air Force helicopter pilot, a New York City fire marshal and former fire fighter and a newly-minted attorney were commemorated with a memorial service in Washington Square Park and a celebration in a nearby NYU auditorium Thursday. Remarkably it was one man who filled all of those professional roles, at the age of 37.
Christopher “Tripp” Zanetis died in Iraq, piloting a helicopter while on active duty with the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard. He had been called up in January, a few months after graduating from Stanford Law School and joining the law firm Debevoise & Plimpton as an associate. His professional career began with the New York City Fire Department, first as a fire fighter and then as a fire marshal. Adding to the multiple intersecting layers of his life reflected in the memorial service, Zanetis graduated from NYU and worked in a nearby firehouse during his FDNY career. Continue reading Photo Gallery: Zanetis Memorial→
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