Cuomo puts stamp on State Democratic party

Matt Ryan / NY Now
May 24, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a rousing speech at a meeting of the State Democratic Party, but stopped short of endorsing a democratic take over of the State Senate. At the meeting, the new co chairs of the party, chosen by Cuomo, were introduced.

The State’s second most powerful Democrat, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was among the warm up acts for Governor Cuomo’s address before a meeting of the State Democratic Party.

“I look forward to what we can accomplish together in the years to come,” said Silver, who said he considered it “an honor and privilege” to work with Cuomo.

Speaker Silver once again pushed for raising the state’s minimum wage, an issue that the governor has all but declared dead for the year, because of Republican opposition in the Senate. And Speaker Silver called for an overhaul of control the Senate, saying “we need to make the State Senate Democratic”, wresting the power from the GOP. Democrats need to gain at least two seats to take over the chamber.

Cuomo focused his speech on 18 months of accomplishments, including a property tax cap and same sex marriage that he says has restored public trust in government.

“We did what we said we were going to do,” Cuomo said, to cheers.

But the governor, who often emphasizes his amiable relationship with Senate Republicans, did not endorse a Democratic takeover of the Senate. Afterwards, he deferred questions about it. 

Cuomo says he’s still in a governing mode, as the final weeks of session approach, and he does not want to talk about specific political races. 

“We’ll discuss political decisions in the political season, but we’re now in the governing season,” said Cuomo.  “We’re trying to get government bills passed.”

At the party meeting, Cuomo’s two chosen successors to co-chair the party were introduced.  The party has been led by Long Islander Jay Jacobs, a hold over from the Spitzer- Paterson era.

Co Chair and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner attacked what Democrats call the Republican Party’s War on Women. Miner said when she heard some of the GOP Presidential candidates question the whether contraceptives are appropriate, she was “in disbelief”.

Co Chair Keith Wright, an Assemblyman from Harlem, also delivered red meat to the party faithful. He railed against Romney, saying if the Republican Presidential candidate  were to win it would be the “bane of our existence”,  playing on Romney’s business history with Bain Capital. 

And Speaker Silver clarified a remark he made at a private party the evening before. Silver says he was not referring to the GOP as devils, he was merely making a reference to the on going National Hockey League match. Silver is a big fan of the New York Rangers, who are facing the New Jersey Devils in a play off series.