Breaking tradition, Governor Andrew Cuomo's three days of State of the State speeches started Mondayis morning at One World Trade Center. Zack Fink filed the following report.
With Donald Trump clearly on his mind, but without directly saying the president-elect's name, Governor Andrew Cuomo kicked off his mini-tour of the state by looking to position himself as a progressive alternative who can also reach the disaffected middle class.
"New York knows that our progressive principles of acceptance and diversity are not the enemy of our middle class. And we know that middle-class success is not the enemy of our progressive beliefs," Cuomo said.
The governor included arguably his biggest proposal, first laid out last week, to make college tuition free in the state and city university system to those whose families earn less than $125,000 per year.
"That's 80 percent of our people. One million families. It will change lives. And it will restore hope for thousands of children who never believed they could make it to college."
Cuomo also confirmed that he has reached an agreement to shutter the Indian Point nuclear power plant by the year 2021, even though his staff denied that on the record last week. Cuomo has been a frequent critic of the aging facility in Westchester County.
"Nuclear power can be a useful bridge as we transition to renewables. There is no doubt. But Indian Point is located in the most densely populated area of our state, and in the most densely populated area on the globe," the governor said.
The fact that the State of the State message was not delivered at the state Capitol with members of the legislature present rubbed some people the wrong way. The legislative leaders were in Albany, and did not show up to Cuomo's speech in Manhattan and a later one in Buffalo.
"Guess what? None of the legislators were there. A State of the State is a message to the legislators. He tried to bully the legislators in December into doing a hodge podge of uncooked legialtion and pass it right away, and they said no," said State Republican Chairman Ed Cox.
Cuomo will give these addresses in different locations for the next couple of days. His final State of the State will be in Albany on Wednesday, although it will not be at the State Capitol but instead at the SUNY campus.