Today Mayor Bill de Blasio revved up his push for full day pre-K/middle school programs initiative, speaking at a clergy breakfast in Bedford-Stuyvesant and holding a press conference immediately afterward. The breakfast featured speeches by de Blasio, his wife Chirlane McCray and the Rev. Al Shapton to an audience estimated to include 100-200 clergy.
de Blasio appeared angered, in his even-keeled and sober way, at the comments yesterday by Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos that he does not intend to allow the state senate to vote on de Blasio’s proposal. It’s a major hurdle for de Blasio, and complicates the already difficult road he faces in trying to either convince or out maneuver Governor Cuomo. de Blasio has little influence or connection with the Senate Republicans. From the outside, it’s difficult to discern whether, or to what extent, Governor Cuomo is encouraging the Senate Republicans to block a vote, potentially sparing the governor a difficult choice. For de Blasio, who has already put substantial effort and energy into gaining Albany approval for his proposal, it’s a breakdown in the weakest link in the process.
Following their speeches, de Blasio and Sharpton held a joint press conference. Here is their full press conference, including their statements and the press Q&A. de Blasio and Sharpton answered on-topic questions only.