The two candidates running for the Democratic Party nomination for governor - incumbent Andrew Cuomo and challenger Cynthia Nixon - staged their one and only debate at Hofstra University on Long Island.
They did Upstate New York voters a disservice by largely ignoring their concerns.
Cuomo and Nixon spent most of their hour sparring over problems with the New York City subways, the current occupant of the White House, whether Cuomo would run for president in 2020 and the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge (nee Tappan Zee).
Sure, the candidates addressed issues that concern voters statewide: corruption in the Cuomo administration’s economic development schemes; the idea of single-payer health care; the collapse of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference in the state Senate; the corrosive influence of campaign contributions; and State Police troopers from Upstate sent to patrol in New York City.
But they said nothing about reducing New York’s high property taxes or stanching the exodus of young people from opportunity-starved Upstate cities or Or what to do about the financially struggling Upstate casinos.
Simply put, there should have been more candidate debates in different parts of the state. Voters in a state as big and diverse as New York deserve as much.
The irony is that Cuomo has a good story to tell about Upstate. This governor has paid more attention to the geographic bulk of this state than many other governors before him.
Primaries are usually low-turnout affairs; fewer than 10 percent of the state’s 5.8 million registered Democrats voted in the 2014 gubernatorial primary. More than half of those voters came from New York City.
If Upstate voters want candidates to pay attention to their concerns, they know what to do: Vote.
- The Syracuse Post-Standard