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Cuomo talks unity in first 2017 State of the State address


Gov. Cuomo spoke on a variety of topics during his first State of the State address of 2017.

Gov. Cuomo spoke on a variety of topics during his first State of the State address of 2017.



Monday, January 9, 2017, 1:33 PM

ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo Monday morning delivered his first of six State of the State addresses  — never mentioning Donald Trump but laying out an agenda to fight many of his policies.

Speaking inside One World Trade Center, Cuomo acknowledged the “roar” heard from Election Day, but urged that “we cannot lose ourselves in an apparent attempt to save ourselves.”

He warned that women’s rights, climate change, and affordable health care are under threat.

“Yes the winds are strong and yes the seas are rough and yes our principles are being challenged, but New York will show this nation once again how to heed our better angels and that the greatest success is shared success and that we build the brightest future together," Cuomo said during the 43-minute address.

Cuomo didn't directly mention the promised repeal by Trump and the Republican Congress of Obamacare, but vowed “we will not go back to a place where nearly 3 million (New Yorkers) are uninsured or Medicaid is decimated or our world class health system is dismantled.”

He acknowledged fears of the middle class that helped propel Trump to office but insisted their needs can be addressed without pitting people against one another.

Toward that end, he said he would be proposing a Middle Class Recovery Act that would focus on jobs and infrastructure, access to education and lower taxes. The proposal would include his plan to provide free public college tuition for New York families earning up to $125,000.

He said he will seek to expand a child care tax credit for the middle class and create an aftercare program that will begin with 22,000 new slots.

He didn’t specifically mention Trump’s vow to appoint Supreme Court justices who don’t support Roe v. Wade, but said that “New York will always stand up and stand tall and stand firm to protect a women’s right to choose.”

He also said he will push to require that companies that hire don’t consider salary or a person’s job history.

Quoting everyone from Abraham Lincoln to his late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, the governor also promised to make New York a safe haven for immigrants threatened by potential federal government policies.

He promised to create a public-private partnership with law firms so new immigrants can access legal representation even if they can’t afford it.

And he renewed his call for passage of a state DREAM Act that would provide state tuition assistance to the college kids of undocumented immigrants. It’s an issue that has passed the Assembly but consistently been blocked in the GOP-controlled Senate.

“I believe these measures will help alleviate the middle class anger,” Cuomo said, arguing that misdirected anger can be destructive.

Saying there has been a rise in hate crimes in New York Cuomo said he will again press for creation of a state hate crimes task force. He unsuccessfully had sought its funding in December.

“New York knows that our progressive principle of acceptance and diversity is not the enemy of the middle class,” he said.

Cuomo said he tapped Timothy Cardinal Dolan to organize an interfaith group of religious leaders and congregations that will "share and education New Yorkers" about the commonalities in the different faiths.

Cuomo touched on many of the issues residents are most worried about, reassuring New Yorkers that they “we must not lose ourselves.”

Cuomo touched on many of the issues residents are most worried about, reassuring New Yorkers that they “we must not lose ourselves.”


Cuomo, who has been warring with state lawmakers, ditched the traditional State of the State given since 1923 by governors to the state Legislature. Instead he said he wanted to take his message directly to the people by giving six regional addresses across the state.

Legislative leaders have said they will not attend any of the speeches. But state Controller Thomas DiNapoli, who has had tense relations with Cuomo, and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, both attended the Monday morning address.

He is scheduled to give a second speech Monday afternoon in Buffalo.

Cuomo in the speech promised he will propose next week a record level of education for both the state and New York City.

He spoke of the importance of better preparing people for the technology jobs of the future.

“The truth is, automation has taken American jobs far more than any immigrant has taken American jobs,” he said.

That statement prompted Michael Durant, the New York State director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, to tweet that Cuomo’s “dramatic increases in #minwage are leading to automation as well.”

Cuomo during his address also focused on New York City and its issues.

And his feud with Mayor de Blasio, who was in attendance, was also a subtext.

In introducing other elected officials in attendance, Cuomo praised their work. Not so much with de Blasio, who he mentioned he spent New Year’s Eve with at a party commemorating the opening of the 2nd Ave. subway.

He also took credit for a statewide pre-kindergarten program even though it was de Blasio who, after taking office, in 2013 made it a priority.

Cuomo said the MTA will continue to rebuild the mass transit system with 1,200 new cars and rehabbed subway stations.

Cuomo reiterated Queens will see its two major airports rebuilt and promised a “new model for health care” in Brooklyn that will include green markets, more community based clinics, and additional recreational facilities.

He said Staten Island residents will be getting a permanent Verrazano Bridge toll reduction and promised new investments in the Kingsbridge Armory and Orchard Beach in the Bronx.

He again called for reforms to the state justice and electoral systems and promised to push for $650 million to fund a life sciences initiative that will include partners with Johnson & Johnson and the Gnome Center.

“To put it shortly and concisely, the positive news is that the ship of state is doing very well and it’s stronger than it has been in decades,” he said, citing social and economic progress.

andrew cuomo
climate change
one world trade center
cardinal dolan
thomas dinapoli
eric schneiderman
bill de blasio
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