Gubernatorial debate goes on without Cuomo

November 02, 2018 01:56 PM

With Election Day less than a week away, four of the five gubernatorial candidates squared off in a debate in Albany Thursday night.

Governor Andrew Cuomo wasn't there, a spokesperson said he will be speaking directly with voters for the remainder of the campaign.


Cuomo was in Syracuse on Thursday speaking at an event at the airport. Though he wasn't at the debate his absence was addressed by many candidates, people in attendance and event organizers themselves.

The League of Women Voters of New York hosted the debate at The College of Saint Rose on Thursday night, less than a week before voters head to the polls.

LWV Executive Director, Laura Ladd Bierman said Cuomo didn't tell organizers he wasn't coming until two days ago.

That didn't stop Republican candidate Marc Molinaro, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Independent candidate Stephanie Miner and Libertarian Party candidate Larry Sharpe from facing off on topics like infrastructure.

"One thousand eight hundred and thirty seven bridges are structurally deficient that’s a $67 billion bill right there,” Hawkins said. “I’m sorry the MTA needs money that’s what other governors have done, they pull it out, Cuomo pulls it out for a ski resort and the MTA is crumbling."

Candidates also addressed the economy and taxes.

"Today after eight years of the “status Cuomo,” we have the highest taxed state and we shoulder the highest burden of property taxes of any people in the country we have the most corrupt state government by any measurements and we are stealing and defrauding taxpayers,” Molinaro said.

Corruption in economic development was also discussed.

“I will also close the political anonymous LLC contributions and stop the dark money and the pay to play economic development and I will rebuild our states infrastructure and I will bring open an accountable transparent government to Albany,” Miner said.

All of them urging voters to head out to the polls and make their voices heard on Tuesday.

Miner focused heavily on her experience as Mayor of Syracuse. She said holding that position helped her learn how to resolve issues like providing education services to impoverished communities and fixing infrastructure.

"A vote for one of the major party candidates just will continue the unacceptable status quo and unacceptable results that we are all having right now,” Miner said.

Sharpe’s plans focused largely on allowing private companies to come in and help fund things like infrastructure projects in exchange for branding rights. He said he believes he’s the most flexible candidate because he isn’t a member of the Democratic or Republican parties.

“The Democrats have been failing for the past 16 years, Republicans have been watching for 16 years and they have no plans,” Sharpe said. “Democrats have no plan, Republicans have no plan. You heard nothing but plans from me…You don't like my ideas, no worries, help me fix them, I need you. I don't have a party, I have you. You stay with me we can make a real change in this state."

Molinaro focused largely on his work in Dutchess County and reiterated the lack of focus on upstate issues and fixing systemic corruption in Albany in this election cycle.

“There are two New York’s, there’s the New York of the powerful there’s the one in which Gov. Cuomo and those who pay for access get to make the decisions,” Molinaro said. “I’m running for governor because I believe in the power of ordinary New Yorkers and the need to address the needs of ordinary New Yorkers.”

Hawkins said he is the only progressive candidate on the ballot. He said if elected he will work hard to get New York to a single payer healthcare system, to switch energy to 100% clean sources by 2030 and reform taxes to take more from the rich.

“Shame on Andrew Cuomo for not coming here” Hawkins said. “The question in this election is, what kind of message are we going to send?” Hawkins said. “Are we going to give Gov. Cuomo a free ride, or are we going to demand more?”

The entire debate was livestreamed on the League of Women Voters Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages. You can watch the entire debate here.


Emily Burkhard

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