If their administrations could be summed by Instagram alone, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo would be a fascinating study in contrasts. And one of the two top Empire State politicians is clearly much more at home on the popular photo sharing site.
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a lengthy statement responding to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last night commending the president’s education proposals, call to raise the minimum wage and commitment to gun control.
“President Obama put forward a bold, comprehensive agenda in his 2013 State of the Union Address that continues to rebuild our nation’s economy and strengthens the middle class,” the governor began. “The vision President Obama presented tonight is one we embrace here in New York. The President laid out an agenda for a vibrant American future, where we work together to bring jobs back from overseas, train our young people to have the skills they need to succeed in the workforce, and ensure those who work long and hard hours can provide for their families.”
At his Midtown office this afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo briefed reporters about the severe winter weather currently bearing down on the New York City area. Though the governor announced he declared a state of emergency “effective this afternoon” to give the state and local governments “more flexibility in dealing with this situation,” he said the storm is not expected to cause any major damage along the lines of what the region experienced during Hurricane Sandy.
“Well you’ve heard of Finding Nemo, it seems like Nemo has found us,” Governor Cuomo began, riffing off the Weather Channel’s name for the storm. “As everyone knows, we’re expecting a severe winter storm, but nothing more than a severe winter storm. We’ve been preparing for it for a number of days now.”
Frack to the Future
A group of religious leaders are hoping divine intervention will force Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban the controversial natural gas drilling procedure known as hydrofracking in New York State. Today at noon, an interfaith group of around 15 religious figures gathered outside the governor’s office in Midtown Manhattan for an anti-fracking pray-in. With parkas draped over their ritual garb for warmth, the leaders adamantly spoke out against the controversial drilling process and invoked biblical imagery in their quest to convert the as-yet-undecided governor.
“When God created Adam and Eve, God led them by the hand around the garden of Eden,” preached Rabbi Marc Katz, of Congregation Beth Elohim. “We too have a garden: a beautiful, thriving Eden. Every time we pump chemicals into our water supply, every time we drill without knowing the consequences, we bring our garden closer to destruction.”
National Rifle Association President David Keene gave a rare post-Newtown interview on the Brooklyn GOP Radio podcast this evening in which he responded to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s vow to bring New York some of the “toughest” gun control laws in the country. Mr. Keene began by taking issue with Governor Cuomo’s prediction that other states would follow New York’s example and pass similar laws.
“I was amazed that he said other states will follow New York,” Mr. Keene said. “They haven’t done that in the past, there’s no reason to believe that they will in the future.”
Mr. Keene continued by noting “New York already has very tough gun laws” and predicting Governor Cuomo’s gun control plan would not “make any difference one way or the other in terms of violence of any kind in the state.”
Rock You Like a Hurricane
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement this afternoon urging the House of Representatives to quickly approve the White House-backed $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy supplemental aid package. The Senate is expected to vote on the recovery funds today, and Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he is optimistic it will be approved. Getting approval for the aid package from the GOP majority in the House, however, is expected to be more difficult. In his statement, Governor Cuomo urged the House to clear the funds without extended debate.
“The members of the House will be in Washington this weekend and, while a fiscal cliff deal remains elusive, passing the Sandy aid package should not be a matter impacted, much less stalled, by the same partisan contention or parliamentary process,” the governor said. “Our demonstrated need and the House’s past precedent should make this vote a slam dunk.”
Andy Get Your Gun
Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed this week’s hot political topic, gun control, in his appearance on Fred Dicker’s radio show this morning and revealed that he is a gun owner. Specifically, Governor Cuomo owns a shotgun.
“My position is this…there is a balance here and I understand the rights of gun owners, I understand the rights of hunters,” Mr. Cuomo told Mr. Dicker. “As you know, I have a gun.”
Today’s political hot topic, gun control, reared its head when Governor Andrew Cuomo took questions from reporters after a press conference this morning about a new plan to avoid Thruway toll hikes for trucks. Mr. Cuomo told reporters this morning that the solution to gun violence lies with federal rather than state gun control laws. The governor described New York’s gun laws as “some of the toughest” in the nation, but he also argued tough gun laws in one state make no difference if laws in neighboring states are weaker.
“You can buy a gun in another state, drive several miles, and that’s that,” he said.
Inside The IDC
Governor Andrew Cuomo has made it absolutely clear that the new Senate leadership coalition between the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference and and the Republicans will draw his ire if they do not support certain items on his agenda. Yesterday, we noted that it seemed the IDC and the governor might not be seeing eye-to-eye on one of the item on the governor’s “litmus test” for the coalition, campaign finance reform. Last night, we received a call from one of the five IDC members, State Senator Diane Savino, seeking to clarify the conference’s position on the issue. She also discussed the IDC’s goal, the racial controversies that have dogged the group and revealed the one person she’s not sure she’d allow to join the conference.
Governor Andrew Cuomo spent the day in Washington yesterday lobbying for the approximately $40 billion in federal aid he is asking for to help the state recover from Hurricane Sandy. Politicker spoke with sources familiar with the governor’s schedule to get details on how he spent his time and who he met with on his first trip to Washington since taking office.
“The governor hit the trifecta; the White House, the Majority Leader and the speaker,” an administration official said.