A second chance ' and a reality check
Cuomo must address full gamut of issues: women's rights, fracking and minimum wage
“Lackluster” is probably too generous of a term to characterize Western New Yorkers’ show of support for Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Though he was re-elected Tuesday, winning 54 percent of the vote overall, compared to Republican candidate Rob Astorino’s 40.6 percent, that victory is diminished by a multitude of losses in Western counties.
Cuomo lost seven of the eight counties that he failed to win over four years ago.
The governor had focused his attention in the area, making campaign stops, touting the Buffalo Billion and selecting Kathy Hochul, who is from Buffalo, as his lieutenant.
And in Erie County, Cuomo’s one WNY victory, the governor only eked out a win, getting 52 percent of the vote.
As Cuomo enters his second term, he faces a more skeptical New York. After facing stiff competition from Zephyr Teachout in the primaries, weathering allegations of corruption and humiliating himself with questionable Ebola policies, Cuomo returns to office as a beleaguered figure.
It’s a far cry from Cuomo’s triumphant arrival as a first-term governor four years ago, when he won with more than 62 percent of the vote.
Nonetheless, Cuomo must make the most of a less than ideal situation. He needs to move past this election and the shaky show of support from Western New York, and prove his critics wrong.
Cuomo has a wealth of opportunities to fight for New Yorkers.
When the next legislative session begins in January, Cuomo and Senate Democrats must strive to fulfill their promises.
Raising the minimum wage, instituting the Dream Act for undocumented immigrant students and revamping campaign-finance laws should only be the beginning for Cuomo.
It’s also time for the governor’s Women Equality Act to come to fruition. The agenda, which failed to pass in 2013, will be up to a vote once again.
The nine bills would strengthen laws requiring equal pay for equal work, combat pregnancy discrimination, human trafficking, employment discrimination and sexual harassment while also supporting domestic violence victims and encouraging fair housing access.
The passing of this act would be a victory for Cuomo and women across the state.
The governor’s proposals are promising and suggest that he is willing to stand behind legislation even after initial failure.
But Cuomo must also show a willingness to address errors from his past – specifically his questionable actions regarding fracking. The governor has avoided the hot-button issue, despite its urgent nature, delaying and editing a key study on the subject and offering no substantive solutions.
Cuomo has garnered a chilly reception from his constituents, but to some extent, a win is a win.
Regardless of the number of votes he failed to earn, or the counties he lost, he has won the opportunity to make the most of his extended time in office.
New Yorkers have given the governor a second chance, and it’s on Cuomo to prove that they made the right choice.