Taking the State of the State on the Road Allows Cuomo to Tailor His Speech for Suburban Audiences
As we've been reporting, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been trading the tradition of a single state of the state speech in Albany for six speeches across the state. It allows him to tailor his subject to different audiences — and as our Josh Robin explains, some surprising differences have cropped up depending on whether the venue is more liberal or conservative.
Some things don't change. Governor Cuomo takes the podium — Monday in Manhattan, Tuesday morning in mid-Hudson and afternoon in Suffolk County, Long Island.
He power points his way through the speeches. Listen carefully to each of them, and you will hear the distinctions.
"This is a time of instability and a time of confusion and a time of anger," Cuomo said in Westchester County, mentioning hate crimes in Manhattan. "We’ve seen more hate crimes recently."
But in Suffolk, according to the transcript, talk of anger emerges — but only in one way.
"The middle class has taken it on the chin," Cuomo said in Suffolk County. "And they’re feeling it. And that is the roar by the way we heard on Election Day. All that anger because the middle class really has been overlooked."
There was no mention of hate crimes, though Suffolk County was the scene of notorious hate crimes in recent years. There's more. We searched the official transcript for the word "immigrant." In the New York City version of the speech, it came up six times. In mid-Hudson it got three mentions. But on Long Island — zero.
Suffolk was the scene of massive Donald Trump rally. He won the county by more than 300,000 votes.
Hillary Clinton won Manhattan and Westchester.
A Cuomo spokesman says the governor has talked about a hate crimes task force for months — and since he talked about hate crimes in Westchester didn't want to repeat it in Suffolk.
There were similarities in suburban speeches such as free tuition and infrastructure programs.
And no speech by New York's governor in the suburbs would be complete without talk about how property taxes are still too high.
Cuomo narrowly lost Suffolk County in 2014. A third-term try is next year, even as national political ambitions are discussed.
"Why shouldn't he take a crack at it?" said Larry Levy, a longtime political observer.
Levy, who runs the national center for suburban studies at Hofstra, said Cuomo is someone who has a record that has some successes that might resonate with middle class people — building things — they can see bridges going up, and they can see the growth of taxes going down.