Despite being a last-minute no-show at a high-profile Nassau County fundraiser, Gov. Andrew Cuomo managed to outline ambitious accomplishments from securing funds to improve the Long Island Rail Road to championing wind energy, all while reiterating his disdain for the Trump Administration and the GOP.
Nassau County Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs apologized for Cuomo’s absence to nearly a thousand guests at the committee’s annual spring dinner explaining that he was engaged in “tense,” last-minute budget negotiations in Albany. The state’s budget is due April 1.
During his speech, broadcast from Albany, Cuomo outlined numerous achievements including what he termed the “largest reconstruction in LIRR history,” by securing nearly $6 billion in state funds to help transform the railroad by adding additional tracks, renovating close to 40 stations and building critical infrastructure to increase train capacity by 80 percent.
“The LIRR will be ready to handle the next generation,” he said.
Saying that “politics is a means to an end, to do good things,” Cuomo cited economic progress on LI, pointing out that today there are almost 1.2 million private sector jobs, with unemployment on the island dropping from 7 to 4 percent.
Newly-elected Nassau County Executive Laura Curran called Cuomo a “great Democrat” who understands the importance of building the middle class and championing the Island.
The governor also spoke about ambitious environmental projects, such as one of the nation’s largest off-shore wind-energy arrays, to be built off Long Island called Empire Wind.
Highlighting his progressive record of accomplishments, Cuomo said he was proud of establishing the $15 minimum wage, a strong paid family leave program, and the closure of more prisons than any other administration in state history, thanks to newer sentencing solutions as alternatives to incarceration.
“We passed the marriage equality act four years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was discriminatory.”
And, on the heels of sweeping, national anti-gun protests, Cuomo said that New York’s Safe Act is the “smartest gun law in the country.”
The Safe Act vastly broadened gun regulations in the state following the Sandy Hook shooting which took the lives of 20 children and six adults in a Conn. elementary school.
Going forward, Cuomo said there is still much more work to do including more funding for education, better gun legislation and passage of “the best anti-sexual harassment legislation in the nation,” following extensive “me too” campaigns, detailing personal stories of sex harassment that have rocked the media and entertainment world in the last few months.
Taking aim at President Trump and the GOP, Cuomo said that “Republicans are savaging our state,” referring to the passage of a federal tax reform law, detrimental to Island taxpayers by eliminating long-standing property tax deductions.
“Democrats shouldn’t give Donald Trump one dollar for the wall,” he said. “Not one dollar.”
He added that Trump also never made good on his infrastructure program to build bridges.
“That’s what we in New York are about…building bridges, while he’s building a wall,” he said, referencing the replacement of both the old Kosciuszko Bridge in Brooklyn and The Tappan Zee Bridge in Tarrytown.
Cuomo predicted “Democrats will challenge every Republican member of congress in the state in the next election.
“The blue wave that is growing has not even begun to crest.”