Bill Samuels: The WFP Convention Proved that Standing Up to Governor Cuomo Works

*Samuels Refuses to Endorse Cuomo, Praises Progressive Leaders for their Courage, and Says Cuomo Deserves a Democratic Primary Challenge*

New York, New York—Bill Samuels, a top Democratic activist and founder of EffectiveNY, released the following detailed statement today:

“I applaud the leaders of the Working Families Party, especially Karen Scharff, Dan Cantor and Bill Lipton, for making Governor Cuomo, after years of working with Dean Skelos and Republicans, fold and fully commit for the first time to electing a Democratic State Senate and pressuring the IDC to end their failed GOP coalition.”

“What’s more, getting Cuomo to sign on to their full agenda, in particular increasing the minimum wage, was an important victory for working families. Mayor Bill de Blasio is also owed a big debt of gratitude for his efforts in recent days to reunite the Working Families Party and the progressive movement.”

“I have said for four years now that the only way to overcome a bully like Cuomo is to stand up to him. The WFP convention proved that theory true. The fierce dissent and intense debate that played out at the WFP convention were in stark contrast to the scripted Democratic and Republican conventions. Cuomo was in total panic mode until the last minute.”

“I believe that if he hadn’t finally committed himself to electing real Democrats, and didn’t have Mayor de Blasio there to guarantee that effort, Cuomo would have lost the WFP nomination.”

“In 2010, Andrew Cuomo specifically committed to me to give full backing to a Democratic State Senate, including financial resources. He broke that promise, so until I see real action on behalf of Senate Democrats, I will remain skeptical of Governor Cuomo’s promises. It will take constant and relentless pressure from WFP and others to guarantee we win the State Senate and the progressive agenda.”

“I cannot in good conscience, therefore, endorse Governor Cuomo for re-election. He has done nothing to earn it yet.”

“I met with Kathy Hochul at her request this past Thursday and told her that, for me, this is entirely about Cuomo—it’s not about her. I expected at that time that the WFP would nominate an inspiring progressive woman for Governor, and I had planned to play a major supporting role in that campaign. Now, I’ve decided that if there isn’t a candidate against Cuomo for me to run with, I will not run for LG.”

“But I still believe that Democratic voters deserve a choice. As I review how to play a constructive role in holding Cuomo’s feet to the fire, I know that at a minimum I will be able to campaign across the state on the policy issues identified by my organization EffectiveNY.”

“Governor Cuomo may be making progressive promises now, but that does not make him immune from criticism of his regressive approach to taxation (especially property taxes), his discriminatory approach to funding education, or his total lack of an approach to dealing with the massive number of New York workers without any pensions for their retirement.”

“One area where I know we can make a real difference this year is in the defeat of the Cuomo / Skelos Redistricting Amendment. The amendment on the ballot in November would enshrine Republican gerrymandering for the future, and should be rejected and replaced with a system of true independent redistricting.”

“Cuomo has clearly lost the faith of liberal Democratic voters and activists. His ability to regain the trust of disillusioned Democrats will be one of the biggest challenges of his career.”

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