Friday, May 30, 2014

With Working Families nod in question, Cuomo digs in on campaign finance

Posted By on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 9:46 AM

On Saturday, at its nominating convention, the state Working Families Party will decide whether it'll endorse Governor Andrew Cuomo for the November election. The endorsement isn't a given, since many of the party's members are unhappy with some of the governor's policies. 

The core of the Working Families Party's is made up of labor leaders and progressive activists. And one of their major criticisms is that Cuomo hasn't pushed hard enough for public financing of campaigns. The State Senate Republicans, which are part of a coalition that runs the chamber, have been the major obstacle to enacting public financing. And yesterday, the governor signaled that he might start getting aggressive with the coalition, Senate Republicans in particular, if it doesn't pass the necessary legislation.

During an unrelated press conference, Cuomo said that if the coalition doesn't go along, he would not only pull his support of the group, but would also work to dissolve it, say media reports. Crain's published this quote in a story on its website:
"I said clearly that if public finance is not passed by the end of the session I would consider the coalition a failure," Mr. Cuomo said at a Superstorm Sandy-related press conference in Staten Island Thursday. "And then we'd enter a period of time, political season, where everyone makes their case to the people, and I intend to go to the people and tell them what I thought, which was the coalition failed to deliver important progressive items."
But media reports say Cuomo didn't explicitly commit to campaigning against Senate Republicans, which many Democrats, and members of the WFP, want him to do.

It's unclear whether the governor's posturing is enough to win over the skeptical leaders of the Working Family Party. Some party members are reportedly advocating for alternate candidates, including educational historian Diane Ravitch, an outspoken opponent of charter schools. Many labor groups — particularly teachers unions — and progressives oppose the expansion of charter schools.

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