Nixon visits Brownsville to kick off campaign for governor
‘Sex and the City’ star vows to improve schools, transit system, challenge Cuomo
Actress Cynthia Nixon came to Brooklyn on Tuesday to officially kick off her run for governor of New York state, making a campaign appearance in Brownville and vowing to work to get subway trains running on time, improve public schools and root out political corruption in Albany.
Nixon, a Progressive Democrat challenging two-term incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary in September, would be the first woman and the first LGBTQ person to serve as New York’s governor.
Nixon, 51, who said she rides the subway every day, promised to work to improve the city’s deteriorating transit system.
“We need to fix our broken subway. It’s worse everyday. You and I know that because, unlike Governor Cuomo, you and I are on it everyday. If you don’t have the means to hop out of the subway and take a cab to work you risk getting fired. The subway is the lifeblood of our city. If the subway dies, so does the city of New York. And right now, it’s on life support,” she told an audience at the Bethesda Healing Center on East 98th Street.
Nixon charged that the public school system is racially segregated and said that needs to change.
“Too many of the majority black and brown schools in our very segregated system are under-funded and over-policed. Our schools are pushing white children towards college and black children into the criminal justice system,” she said.
Her platform includes fighting to preserve the rights of LGBTQ New Yorkers. Nixon is married to Christine Marinoni and has three children.
In her speech, Nixon spoke about the fact that she would be the first female to serve as governor in New York state’s history if she won.
“This year, thousands of women all over America are running for office for the first time. We’re realizing that if we want things to change, we’ll need to do it ourselves. I am humbled and inspired by these women. And I am honored to join their ranks,” she said.
Nixon rose to fame as one of the stars of the landmark HBO comedy series “Sex and the City.” She has appeared in numerous Broadway and off-Broadway shows and has earned two Tony Awards for her work in the theater.
Her appearance in Brownsville marked the first official campaign stop for Nixon, a longtime education activist who is a close ally of Mayor Bill de Blasio, a political enemy of Cuomo.
A press release issued by Nixon’s campaign described Cuomo as an “Albany insider” whose time in office has coincided with a string of indictments of public officials.
On Monday, Nixon got the ball rolling by announcing on Twitter that she was throwing her hat into the ring. That same day, she released her first campaign video.
While Nixon is a first-time candidate, she is an experienced political activist.
She helped to organize Alliance for Quality Education, a group that has been fighting for equitable education funding for 16 years. She has also served as the group’s spokesperson.
Another group that Nixon started, Fight Back New York, campaigned against state senators who opposed same sex marriage. Fight Back New York raised $800,000 and waged successful campaigns to elect three state senators who supported marriage equality, according to Nixon’s gubernatorial campaign.
Nixon’s campaign also described her as a longtime advocate for women’s reproductive rights and touted her work with Planned Parenthood in Albany.
The novice candidate vowed not to accept corporate campaign contributions. She said her campaign will work with communities across the state to grassroots political movement.
Nixon grew up in New York City and was raised by a single mother in a one bedroom, fifth-floor walk-up apartment. She attended public schools. Her acting career began when she was 12 years old, and her career earned her enough money to pay for tuition at Barnard College at Columbia University.
Her three children also attended public schools.
“I’m running for governor because I love this state,” said Nixon on Tuesday. “I was born in New York City, and I grew up in a one-bedroom, fifth floor walk-up, just me and my mom. I’m a proud public school graduate, and an even prouder public school parent.”
Nixon would seem to face a decidedly uphill battle in her quest to unseat Cuomo. According to a Siena College poll released on Monday, 66 percent of New Yorkers said they would support Cuomo, while only 19 percent favored Nixon.
When he was asked last week by reporters about a possible run by Nixon, Cuomo, 60, said he would be nervous no matter who runs against hm. “There will be people who run. That’s called elections and that’s fine,” the Democrat & Chronicle quoted him as saying.
The Democratic primary is Sept. 13.
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